The Idaho State University Department of English and Philosophy announces “Jews in Medieval England: Teaching Representations of the Other,” edited by Miriamne Ara Krummel (University of Dayton) and Tison Pugh (University of Central Florida) as the winner of the 2019 Teaching Literature Book Award. “Teaching Modern Arabic Literature in Translation,” edited by Michelle Hartman (McGill University) was also named as the honorable mention.
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.
Jessica Winston, ISU professor of English and chair of the award committee, said that “the prize committee sought out books that offered timely and effective approaches to teaching literature at the college level today.” The winning book examines the teaching of Jewishness within the context of medieval England, she explained. “But the chapters also bring out the relevance of this past to contemporary concerns around attributions of otherness and anti-Semitism.”
Members of the award committee praised the book for its presentation of a “a range of creative approaches” to help students to “grapple with the archaic language and distant cultural norms of the medieval past, while also discerning how the medieval world shaped the intolerance and distrust that led to the Holocaust and continue to this day.”
According to Winston, “The essays are informed by rigorous historical and literary analysis, even as they present a range of practical ideas that are transferable to a variety of texts and historical contexts.” In particular, she continued, “The book has much to offer teachers of multicultural literature and religious studies who want to explore the historical roots of prejudice with their students.”
Another strength of the book is that it “covers teaching at a variety of institutions and lessons for a wide range of students.” The book “offers ways for students from diverse background to connect modern experiences of cultural difference to the study of the past.”
Editors Krummel and Pugh jointly commented, “We are honored to have our book selected for the 2019 Teaching Literature Book Award.” They added, “In a time of rising antisemitism, this award acknowledges the meaningfulness of our efforts to encourage teachers and professors to intervene in antisemitic and racist behavior through the power and allure of the humanities.”
The winning book was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2017.
The Award committee also gave an honorable mention to “Teaching Modern Arabic Literature in Translation,” edited by Michelle Hartman (McGill University) and published by the Modern Language Association in 2018.
“Teaching Modern Arabic Literature in Translation” was noteworthy, Winston said, for its “helpful orientation to non-specialists.” She continued, “The book makes a persuasive case for teaching modern Arabic literature in translation.” She also observed, “Each essay offers enough background on the politics and cultural contexts of modern Arabic literary works to allow both new and experienced instructors who are not experts in the field to teach these texts.”
This year’s committee included: Ben Gunsberg, Associate Professor of English, Utah State University; Roberta Rosenberg, Professor Emerita, Christopher Newport University and Member, Harvard Institute for Learning in Retirement; and Tara Williams, Associate Dean, Honors College, and Associate Professor of English, Oregon State University. Jessica Winston and Susan Goslee, associate professor of English, also served on the committee at ISU.
More information about the Teaching Literature Book Award is available at http://www.isu.edu/english/.
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