Sarah Sussman's blog

Holding Class at the Harry Ransom Center

As graduate students, we know we’re fortunate to work at a university with a world-renowned public archive. We have David Foster Wallace’s papers, the Magnum Archive Collection, and too many other treasured cultural pieces to even begin to name them. We visit the archive to research and become inspired, so why not bring our own undergraduate students to share in the wealth? Thanks to the Harry Ransom Center’s current policy, with careful planning, instructors are permitted to bring their classes to the archive so that undergraduate students can enjoy these same materials. In this post, I’ll share some tips to help my fellow instructors to make the most out of your time should you decide that holding a class meeting in the Harry Ransom Center might add something extra special to your seminar.

Using Basic Media Theory to Teach Rhetoric

This is an image of the Superdome and survivors of Hurricane Katrina living inside of it

“Were all instructors to realize that the quality of mental process, not the production of correct answers, is the measure of educative growth something hardly less than a revolution in teaching would be worked.”

― John Dewey, Democracy and Education

Can I Take Your Picture? Reading Susan Sontag’s "On Photography" and the Rhetoric of Photographing Strangers

students posing in front of UT tower

Coupling a reading with a hands-on lesson plan like the one that I am about to share can be tricky, and I wouldn't advocate using this particular pedagogical strategy for all texts, but Susan Sontag’s On Photography (1977) seems to work well as part of an experiential lesson plan because peering into the lives of others through photographs on social media sites is what the overwhelming majority of college students spend their time doing already.


Creative Commons License
All materials posted to this site are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. We invite you to use and remix these materials, but please give credit where credit is due. In addition, we encourage you to comment on your experiments with and adaptations of these plans so that others may benefit from your experiences.


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