“Does this mean we can’t watch Peppa Pig anymore or what? I mean it’s not Afterlife like but sometimes you just need to kick back.”
It’s just New Historicism Baby - Chillax
My time at university was less than sensational. Given that I went back when I was 28 after a underwhelming series of low paid and mind-numbing jobs ( Dropping a full bottle of Johnny Walker Blue on my first night in the Sandon pub / Mistakenly sending a full wooden Wendy House kit to a local prison in my time at the local timber merchants), I was never fully immersed in the joys of student life. Plus my haircut wasn’t ironic enough.
But two courses really transported me. One was the stunning and challenging final year course on Modernism and American Literature, paving the way for a growing interest in teaching English and subsequently all things USA inspired. The other was a unit entitled “The New Historicism.” This was a course run by the fiercest, most demanding professor at Liverpool Uni, the brilliant Dr Anne McLaren. It was the only essential hour of the arduous five I was scheduled to attend each week.
Its essential reasoning was that we can perhaps best understand the social, political, artistic and intellectual nuances of the time by trying to understand the cultural milieu that surrounded it and by engaging with the relevant literary and non-literary texts of that time, making sure we pay little distinction between academic and non-academic works.
That is, you can’t just hope to understand the world in 1959 by only reading The Tin Drum. In Media, many other products give us a mirror to reflect the society of the time.
Look at the above images for example. In 100 years, what will this suggest to students about the way in which women were perceived in our society?
Student Task Get the students to annotate the two colour copies above.
This will lead them nicely in the slightly bizarre world of the mid 1950s.
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