1. The presentation was a big success. We were nervous, but we ran through the whole thing during the session before and it made things go well. About 60 people attended; there were only 50 seats. The NCTE conference is hungering for practicle, applicable ideas, and we helped to fill that void.
2. In response, a bit, to the comments on my last post, I have to say that I'm certainly not against dead white men. As the commenter says, I'll be that myself someday. Our current book club book is DeLillo's "White Noise," for example, which we're considering adding to our curriculum somewhere. I think DeLillo is white, right? We've studied "The Tempest" together. "All the King's Men." The point isn't necessarily the fact that they're not dead white men, but that it's beyond the standard traditional works. Three years ago our American Literature contained no minorities (zip) and only one woman (Emily Dickinson), and no major works by either. The key question of the class is "Who are we as Americans? How did we come to be this way?" and we couldn't answer that question using just the canon. And I don't think that, for example, Alice Walker or August Wilson or many writers of color who have Sparknotes made (which Harry Potter also has, by the way) or movies made (too countless to mention) are part of the canon just yet. The cream does rise to the top, but it takes some different curriculum decisions to do so.
3. The title was intentionally provacative. I didn't title it. It worked, because tons of people came.
4. All the rest of the session, people have been coming up to me/us and complimenting our presentation. I was out on the town in Nashville last night, and three young women came up to me and talked to me about it. It made me feel like a rock star. It ended up a good night.
5. Nashville is a cool town. Our conference is in OpryLand, though, which is this huge indoor facility with no windows, with a fake river and a fake boat and fake hot air balloons and a fake christmas tree. It's all very fake, and it feels good to leave every day and go to see the actual Nashville. Yesterday, we visited the Country Music Hall of Fame Museum and hit a number of night spots. The day before, we had perhaps the best meal I've ever had at a family style place called Modell's that was in a house and featured some of the best biscuits I've ever had.
I'm off to go back to the conference.
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