The Idaho State University Department of English and Philosophy is pleased to announce Service Learning and Literary Studies in English, edited by Laurie Grobman (Penn State University, Berks) and Roberta Rosenberg (Christopher Newport University) as the winner of the 2017 Teaching Literature Book Award. The book was published by the Modern Language Association in 2015.
The Teaching Literature Book Award is an international prize for the best book on teaching literature at the college level. The award is presented biennially by the faculty in the graduate programs in English at Idaho State University. The winning books are judged by a committee of external reviewers, which this year included Jesse Matz, William P. Rice Professor of English and Literature at Kenyon College; Tison Pugh, Professor of English at the University of Central Florida; and Laura Wright, Professor of English at Western Carolina University. Jessica Winston and Matthew Levay, assistant professor of English, also served on the committee at ISU.
The award committee offered the following commendation:
In assessing a pedagogical book, one of the most important questions to ask is, “Will this make our teaching better?” With Service Learning and Literary Studies, the answer is a resounding yes. The book is a timely and lucid guide to emerging practices in service learning. The introduction provides a well-articulated rationale for service learning and its relation to literary studies, while the individual chapters offer examples and practical advice for teachers interested in implementing service learning in their courses.
In chapters devoted to a broad collection of literary forms, periods, and practices (including American and British literature and creative writing), the contributors describe a range of approaches. From proposals for situating the study of the nineteenth-century British reform novel in relation to public-service initiatives in major American cities to collaborative classes conducted in maximum security prisons, from life-writing work with seniors to volunteer work at the Sexual Assault Center of East Tennessee, each essay delivers a powerful and sustained argument for the interconnections between literary study and public service.
Not only are these contributions well written, accessible, and engaging, they also cover service learning with students and community populations from a wide range of socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds. As a whole, the book is at once a resource for practical ideas and a challenging work of literary studies, and it intervenes at a moment in which the possibility of this kind of service-based expansion is at the center of debates about the very nature of the humanities and the cultural role of higher education.
Editors Grobman and Rosenberg jointly commented, “We are delighted that our book has earned this important recognition, and we hope that this will draw more attention to service learning possibilities in literature courses, and throughout the university.”
The editors of the winning book will visit ISU in fall 2018 to host in-service trainings and workshops on connecting humanities teaching with public outreach.
More information about the Teaching Literature Book Award is available at http://www.isu.edu/english/
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