Social Justice and Literature Workshop


Katherine Baxter,Northumbria University

Katy Shaw, Leeds Beckett University

Adam Hansen, Northumbria University

This workshop interrogates the concept of a ‘shared future’ for Literature in terms of the capacity of our subject discipline to enable and empower students to address ideas of social justice in the twenty first century world. Using a range of examples from contemporary classroom practice and teaching texts, it will consider how students can mobilise the texts they beyond the confines of the lecture theatre, taking the debates generated by the critical study of Literature into their lives beyond and after the academy.

As part of the workshop, participants will discuss a range of pressing issues including:

  • What does engaging with social justice mean in the literary classroom? How might we make use of new (often) digital resources to introduce previously excluded voices into the curriculum?
  • How do we address the politics of authors from previous centuries?
  • How do we encourage students to critique authorial politics with sensitivity?
  • Can the study of literature help our students to reflect on and engage with social justice not only in literature but in the world around them?

Drawing on the workshop leaders’ experience in HEA award-winning sessions on the social responsibility and social agency of the writer in contemporary society, the session provides reflective examples and offer participants the opportunity to develop their own models for highlighting social justice in the literature classroom, as well as for discussing the risks and benefits of doing so. The workshop is open to all, but is particularly aimed at postgraduate and early career scholars.