Resilience in the Humanities Classroom (Roundtable)

Pedagogy & Professional / Interdisciplinary Humanities

Lesley Wheeler (Washington and Lee University)

Resilience is associated with perseverance, stamina, and the ability to learn from failures and recover from losses, qualities that have become indispensable in the aftermath of a global pandemic. These qualities are in short supply in humanities classrooms, with many students reluctant or inadequately prepared to engage with a robust liberal arts curriculum. Such students may still be suffering from pandemic-related stresses or traumas, or they may have been demotivated by the isolation of remote learning. Moreover, the two-tiered structure of most universities, with its over-reliance on contingent labor and underfunding of mental health services, has done little to bolster our morale and everything to compound our battle fatigue. Given these material challenges, why do we persevere in our disciplines? How do we – or should we—encourage our students to persevere? Can the humanities help build or rethink resilience in this age of post-pandemic precarity, even as their survival is imperiled by austerity politics and the Walmartification of higher education?

This roundtable invites different ways of fostering and thinking about resilience in the humanities classroom. I invite scholars from different disciplines to contribute to this topic. Papers can address one or more of the following:

· Teaching practices that foster a growth mindset among students

· Pedagogical strategies that encourage self-directed learning

· Curricular materials that focus on resilience (eg, a novel or a historical period that lends itself to thinking about resilience)

· Trauma-informed and/or culturally responsive disciplinary approaches

· Rethinking resilience in an age of austerity

· Why students are refusing to be productive

This roundtable invites different ways of thinking about and fostering resilience in the humanities classroom.