The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.1289  Monday, 26 June 2000.

From:           Patrick Buckridge <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 26 Jun 2000 12:03:01 +1000
Subject: 11.1272 Re: Pedagogy: Course Structure
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.1272 Re: Pedagogy: Course Structure

Pat Dolan wrote:

>What do you do with students who believe (I'd say "know," but that would
>be tendentious wouldn't it?) that the deepest, most human truth about us
>is that we are historically and culturally situated? (Please notice that
>I did not say "determined" and flame something other than straw men.)
>Do you let your students assume, for example, that "presently" means "by
>and by"?
>Genuinely curious,

Oh dear.  I see the patrollers of the impassable historical horizons are
still with us -- but rather defensive in tone, at least.  That's

Determinism is not the correct label for this arid deformation of
historical thought: it's historicism.  But since that term now has about
six different meanings, I prefer to think of it (with apologies to
Edward Said) as a kind of 'orientalism' of the past, a systematic
exaggeration and exoticising of difference between the now and the then,
in order to ...  what?  I thought I knew, but I seem to have forgotten.

I've also forgotten how said patrollers are themselves able to traverse
the supposedly impassable horizons, bringing us news of the strange and
totally unrecognisable cultures they find there - which they, oddly
enough, seem quite able to understand with their own more or less
present day minds and describe in their own more or less present-day
terms.  Why can't we all do that, I wonder? Perhaps we can, because
maybe the differences aren't so insurmountable after all.  And if they
were, we wouldn't know, would we?

But if we're talking about pedagogy rather than epistemology, it sounds
like the choice is between exploring Shakespeare's plays in the ethical
and emotional terms available to teachers and students alike, and
studying the editorial glosses.  Hmm... difficult choice!

Needless to say, I thought L. Swilley's suggestions were terrific.

Pat Buckridge

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