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Classroom Applications

This site aims to present a rich array of materials for use by undergraduate and graduate students studying aspects of the nineteenth century. Each module—on varied topics which draw upon the wide range of human experience during this century—proffers a range of texts and images from British, European, and American perspectives. We envision that instructors may make use of the site in multiple ways.

Given the size of the modules, we envision instructors making use of them as they would traditional anthologies (in this case, interdisciplinary cross-genre anthologies), selecting among the material available at a given module to enhance either a disciplinary or interdisciplinary course. Thus, the wide variety of interdisciplinary content can be used by instructors in ways that allow them to individualize their curricular choices. However, we recommend that a cross-genre exposure to a given module—or topic within a module—be used (for instance, assigning a painting or illustration from popular journalism, a selection from literature, and a historical document, as well as some secondary commentary). The instructor is placed in the role of constructing problem-solving and interpretive tasks based on the materials online to promote analysis and evaluation. The explanatory prose of each module aids in the development of setting interpretive tasks and problems by giving students context and providing questions and issues for study.

A sample assignment might include the following (based on the "Scenes of Love and Seduction" module):

Review the chapters from Trollope's The American Senator, Dickens' The Pickwick Papers, the documents related to the American breach-of-promise suit brought by Effie Carstang against Harry Shaw (including the illustration from the New York Daily News), Calderon's painting, Broken Vows, and the critical commentary on breach-of-promise.

How accurately do the literary and artistic representations of breach-of-promise issues depict what we know of breach-of-promise issues from historical materials? Do the documents reveal cultural differences as well as similarities in how these nineteenth-century societies viewed the promise to wed?

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