Teaching the Canon in 21st Century Classrooms

Challenging Genres


The canon, as much an ideology as it is a body of texts perceived to be intrinsic to the high school English classroom, has come under scrutiny for maintaining status quo narratives about whiteness, masculinity, heterosexuality, ability, and even those associated with American ideals of self-reliance, the good life, and the self-made man. Teaching practices around these texts may also reinforce harmful practices and ways of thinking, including those connected to notions of culture, literary merit, and methods of reading, teaching, and learning.

Teaching the Canon in 21st Century Classrooms offers innovative, critical ways of reading, thinking about, and teaching canonical texts in 21st century classrooms. Responding to the increasingly pluralized, digitized, global 21st century English classroom, chapter authors make explicit the ideologies of a canonical text of focus, while also elaborating a pedagogical approach that de-centers the canon, bridges past and present, applies critical theory, and celebrates the rich identities of 21st century readers. In using this book, teachers will be especially poised to take on the canon in their classroom and, thus, to open up their curricula to ideas, values, concerns, and narratives beyond those embedded in the canonical texts.

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Michael Macaluso, Ph.D. (2016), Michigan State University, is an Assistant Professor of the Practice of English Education at the University of Notre Dame. His work has appeared in Linguistics in Education, Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, and The English Journal.

Kati Macaluso, Ph.D. (2016), Michigan State University, is an Assistant Professor of the Practice of English Education at the University of Notre Dame. Her work has appeared in Reading Research Quarterly, The English Journal and Changing English.
List of Figures and Tables
Introduction: Challenging the Canonical Genre
Kati Macaluso and Michael Macaluso

1. Curating against the Canon: Collaborative Curation for Critical Literacy
Kate Lechtenberg
2. What Do Olympians, Lowriders, and Shailene Woodley have to Do with Language Arts? Making Space for Critical, Multimodal Texts in Canonical Classrooms
Ashley K. Dallacqua and Annmarie Sheahan
3. Shattering Literary Windows and Mirrors: Creating Prismatic Canonical Experiences for (and with) British Literature Students
Jeanne Dyches
4. Still Fighting for Migrant Workers’ Rights 75 Years Later: A Critical Approach to Teaching the Grapes of Wrath through Contemporary Youth Testimonios
Michelle M. Falter and Nina R. Schoonover
5. Examining Islands across Contexts: Reading Colonization Critically in Shakespeare
Jeremiah C. Sataraka and Ashley S. Boyd
6. Teaching The House on Mango Street in the #MeToo Era
Amy Cummins
7. Fostering Critical Social Consciousness through “Text-to-Software” connections with Brave New World
Mark A. Sulzer
8. A Critical Race Approach to Teaching to kill a mockingbird
Carlin Borsheim-Black
9. Using Counterstories to Critique Racism: Critical Race Theory, Beloved, and The Hate U Give
Ashley Johnson and Mary L. Neville
10. Class is in Session: Why now is the Time for a Marxist Approach to the Canon
Elizabeth Currin, Stephanie Schroeder and Todd McCardle
11. Interrupting Ideologies Within the Canon: Applying Critical Lenses to Pride and Prejudice, Eleanor & Park, and Contemporary Life
Mike P. Cook, Brandon L. Sams and Parker Wade
12. A Critical Emotional Approach to Canonical Literature: Lessons from Of Mice and Men
Amanda Haertling Thein
13. Canonical Texts and Cultural Critique with English Learners
Erin McNeill and Mary Beth Hines
14. “This Ain’t Got Nuttin to Do with My Life”: Art and Imitation in Romeo and Juliet
Fawn Canady And Chyllis E. Scott
15. Teaching Critically for Freedom with 1984
Mary E. Styslinger, Nicole Walker, Angela Byrd and Kayla Hostetler
All interested in English Education, literature and literary study, critical literacy and theory, including English teachers, English teacher educators, scholars, undergraduate and graduate students, and librarians.
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