Thinking with Difficulty: University Classroom Practice

Michael CollinsMCRm

Thinking with difficulty: inside and outside the classroom
The idea of difficulty is central to the study of English Literature, serving as both a marker of apparent value and a perceived barrier to access. These two linked roundtable sessions will approach the question of difficulty from a number of perspectives. Contributions will consider the teaching of ‘difficult’ texts (particularly those drawn from early and pre-modern periods) and the ways in which difficulty functions in those texts. We will also examine other difficulties the discipline faces: recruiting students, particularly male and first-generation students, and the difficulties inherent in attempts to work with colleagues outside the university. Participants will explore methods - practical, administrative and critical - that might reframe these questions and reflect on their own experiences inside and outside the classroom in order to open a broader discussion.

Difficulty II: University Classroom Practice
The second roundtable will consider difficulty at university, where students are regularly asked to confront difficult texts and concepts while academic and professional services staff face the difficulties of making texts, disciplines, departments, and universities more accessible – both intellectually and practically. This panel will consider recruitment and retention, widening participation programmes, and important initiatives such as the First Generation network.
Participants: Rufeida Alhatimy, Joshua Davies, Zubaida Chowdhury, James Paz, Hannah Crawforth, Jon Ward.

Sat 12:45 pm - 2:00 pm