Recent critical focus on media and technology maps efforts to create a dynamic classroom that at its best enriches teaching and learning at the university. But the long-standing interest in media as a means to reach students and enhance delivery also points to an absence in current scholarship, which has not been attentive to that same media as content in the humanities classroom.
To remedy this absence, we seek to bring together a series of essays that merge pedagogical practice with a critical consideration of the question: What is the role of media in the traditionally text-based humanities classroom? When we have students take a virtual tour of ancient Athens, watch a clip from The Tudors, make a vid in response to The Lord of The Rings, listen to a podcast, or blog about a text or historical event, what is the goal? One of the most common analogies, even when it is not used expressly, suggests that such media serve as a kind of bridge that helps students to connect with the subject. But while the bridge analogy is common and compelling, it is also potentially misleading. What is the nature of a bridge (film, video game, television series, digital environment) that turns us, at least temporarily, away from our first destination? To what extent does the bridge not simply enable engagement but delimit and determine the terms of that engagement? Does the bridge cease to be a bridge once we acknowledge its status as content? How do we know the bridge has been successful, and students are engaged?
Cognizant of the earliest lessons of Media Studies—one can’t separate form and content, media and message—this special issue of Interdisciplinary Humanities will provide a practical, critical, and theoretical consideration of the role of media in humanities courses and classrooms.
We solicit essays of 3000-5000 words that analyze the place of media in the humanities classroom, ranging in subject from the Classical era to the 21st century.
In addition, we also welcome shorter “How to” pieces of 1000 words that offer a pedagogical strategy for incorporating media into the humanities classroom. These shorter pieces focus on the critical incorporation of media into one aspect of a course: a) a classroom discussion or exercise; b) an assignment; or c) a lecture plan. The aim is to offer other instructors a detailed road-map of the critical and pedagogical goals of a single exercise, assignment, or lesson plan.