not without mustard :: teaching philosophy

Teaching Philosophy

According to Plato, “it is impossible to learn the serious without the laughable” (Laws, 816c-d), and one of the central tenets of my teaching philosophy is to strike a balance between the two. Since attention spans are limited, I will use anything and everything I can to maximise student engagement and involvement. Chief amongst these tools are the use of a variety of audio-visual materials, the implementation of blended/hybrid teaching techniques, and the use of humour and popular culture, as appropriate.

In early modern England, the drama of Shakespeare and his contemporaries circulated in print and in performance. In our own time, this has grown to include a range of media: radio, film and television, visual art, music and opera, graphic novels, advertising and pop culture, the Internet and other electronic media. I believe that teaching Shakespeare should capitalize on this richness and diversity, and I draw freely from all of these various realizations, adaptations, and appropriations in lectures and tutorials.

Please email me for a more comprehensive teaching portfolio.


Current Modules

ENGL 4109: Literary Studies and Digital Humanities

ENGL 4109How are digital technologies, new media, computational methods, and electronic resources affecting research in literary studies? What sorts of research questions are possible now that millions of books have been digitised? This honours-level unit introduces students to the history, foundational principles and practices, current critical debates, and future directions of digital humanities as it continues to influence the theory and practice of literary studies.

Topics include: the history of DH; digitisation and remediation; text analysis and visualisation; digital editing; ‘distant reading’, quantitative analysis, and new models for literary history.

Previous Modules

HUMA 150: Tools, Techniques, and Culture of the Digital Humanities

HUMA 150This first-year undergraduate module on the Tools, Techniques, and Culture of the Digital Humanities offers an introduction to the concepts, tools, and techniques of digital humanities, as well as a broad engagement with the impact of computing and technology on society.

Topics include: the social and cultural implications of computing; thinking with/about computers; strategies for online research; building websites and evaluating electronic resources; basic textual encoding; and, the tools for and techniques of digitizing and manipulating materials (text, image, audio).

HUMA 250: Digital Representation and Creation in a Humanities Context

HUMA 250This upper-level undergraduate module on Digital Representation and Creation in a Humanities Context offers students a more focused introduction to the digital creation, modeling, and representation of materials pertinent to humanities research.

Topics include: modeling and knowledge representation; markup and text encoding; metadata; electronic publishing; relational databases and content management; editing and the electronic scholarly edition; hypertext; and, serious games. Students will also examine the impact of computing on scholarly communication and pedagogy.

ENGL 218: Shakespeare: Page, Stage, and Screen

ENGL 218Shakespeare: Page, Stage, and Screen is an upper-level undergraduate module that offers a broad overview of Shakespeare’s drama: from Shakespeare’s life and times and the world in which his plays were produced and consumed, through a range of critical methods and theoretical approaches and their application to Shakespeare’s plays.

The module focuses on the different ways in which Shakespeare’s plays have been interpreted and reinterpreted on the page, stage, and screen, interrogating issues of adaptation and appropriation in and between these various media.

© 2011– Brett D. Hirsch