My ENG 261 course focuses on central cultural and literary debates of British literature in the Romantic, Victorian, Modern, and Postmodern periods. While discussing and writing about debates such as the role of women to the conflict between science and faith, students read a variety of texts and genres, from slave narratives to canonical British novels, for a sense of the range of discursive responses to these issues.
In teasing out these relationships within the transatlantic slave trade via Olaudah Equiano’s Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, students used Hypothesis to annotate a digital copy of the text with connections to other debates of the day, from the French Revolution to the poetic imagination. The second major project of the class on Mary Elizabeth Braddon’s Lady Audley’s Secret asked students make arguments regarding a just punishment for Lady Audley based on the novel, as well as related nineteenth-century literary texts and legal documents. The final project of the class was designed by the students and offered three digital project options: infographic technology analysis, fictional character social media posts, and Prezi museum tour. In reflecting on their projects in an analytical essay, students used course texts to tease out the connections between their digital artifacts and diverse genres, viewpoints, and discourses found in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century periodicals through the lens of steampunk.