Teaching (with) Primary Sources

(Roundtable)


Pedagogy & Professional / Italian

Isabella Magni (Rutgers University-New Brunswick)

In what many call a post truth era, there is an increasing need to teach, analyze and discuss literary and historical texts in their original contexts. Primary sources (documents, personal and institutional records and literary texts) are the raw materials of history and literature and materially showcase the complexities of the past, thus helping to reflect on the complexities of the present. Direct contact with objects from the past allows students to contextualize what they study in the classroom (be it a historical event or a literary work), to get a real sense of what is beyond the edited texts that we read today and to reflect on who wrote those histories and on how these objects influence our interpretations of the past. Working with primary sources ultimately engages students and helps them develop critical thinking.

This round-table welcomes theoretical and practical contributions discussing the use of manuscripts, printed books and all sorts of primary sources in the teaching of literature both at undergraduate and graduate levels.

Topics may include (but don’t have to be limited to):

* Methods and practical examples: how to use primary sources in undergraduate and graduate classes

* Active learning: experiencing the materiality of primary sources

* Primary sources in the undergraduate curriculum

* Pedagogy in Libraries and Special Collections Archives

* Co-teaching experiences: libraries and departments

* Using primary sources in the classroom

* History in context

* Primary sources and the web: how to use primary sources remotely? How to make use of digitized materials?

* Is it still possible to use primary sources without having material access to them?

* Digital vs. material?

We welcome contributions from teachers, professors, librarians and scholars from any field of the humanities, interested in the pedagogical uses of primary sources in and outside the classroom.

This roundtable welcomes theoretical and practical contributions discussing the use of manuscripts, printed books, and all sorts of primary sources in the teaching of literature at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. We welcome contributions from teachers, professors, librarians, and scholars from any field of the humanities, interested in the pedagogical uses of primary sources in and outside the classroom.