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The Humanities Conference 2003

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Presentation Details

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Literature and its Other: Teaching Humanities and Post-modern Popular Culture

Prof. Pat Moody.

The deliberate ambiguity of the title invites consideration of the very nature of literature itself as cultural artefact, and about the way in which that we call literature re-presents culture. This presentation invites a reconsideration of the humanities in pedagogy in US secondary and university education.

I believe it is crucial, at this moment in history, to have not only a kind of armchair scholarly interest in the kinds of boundaries and markers we establish between us and them, or how we other others. We need to learn better how to negotiate across boundaries; we need to renegotiate our own individual relationships with our own inherited cultures. We need to examine more explicitly how we do represent and have historically represented ourselves privately and publicly, to ourselves and to others. Drawing from extensive experience in university teaching and in mentoring high school teachers in a concurrent enrolment program, I explore ways to broaden understanding of the crucial work of humanities education. Using discourse analysis as the informing analytic, and frame analysis as specific technique, the humanities can raise familiar questions with new urgency. Understanding discourse as connected language used for a purpose, proceeding from an internalised set of rules that dictate what is a possible utterance within the genre and what is not, opens to the student new possibilities for understanding the cultural narratives of Shakespeare or Daffy Duck, sexual harassment or Milton's Satan. Culture is the construction of shared meaning; its about language, then, and who gets to make meaning who gets to create and define culture?


Prof. Pat Moody  (United States)
Associate Professor of English
English Department
Syracuse University

With an educational background including a B.S. and M.A. from the University of Southern Mississippi and a Ph.D. from The University of Texas at Austin, Pat Moody is an experienced administrator and educator. She has taught at Syracuse University long enough to count among current students the children of former students. Over the years, she has taught at every level, from first-year through graduate, and in a wide array of venues, including limited-residency and on-line. She has served as department adminstrator, including a term as chair, and as chair of the university's interdisciplinary Linguistics Studies Program (Syracuse University). She has been recognized for her excellence in teaching by her university and by the New York State Council of Teachers of English; she has also been recognized for her innovative approach to curriculum, and her contributions to a nationally-recognized concurrent enrollment program, Project Advance. In love with the "old stuff" of Anglo-Saxon, Chaucer, and the English language, she also works with contemporary critical theory, popular culture, and the applications of the internet for pedagogy. As faculty coordinator for a concurrent enrollment program, she has for decades mentored high-school teachers, helping them to transform their teaching with respect to current ideas and issues; she is well familiar with the issues facing both secondary and university educators of today's youth. Popular as an "on-ground" teacher, she also teaches courses offered solely through the internet, and understands the benefits and challenges of e-education first-hand, from a range and depth of experience.

  • Humanites Pedagogy
  • Comtemporary Critical Theory
  • Discourse Analysis
  • Frame Analysis

(30 min Conference Paper, English)