Michael Roberts's blog

Presenting Violence in the Classroom

Still from Alain Resnais film Night and Fog

I teach a Literature class called “Banned Books and Novel Ideas.” It is one of the most popular courses in English at the University, with eight sections being taught this semester. Undergraduates prefer this course to others, I assume, because the title suggests something controversial, risqué, or explicit about the course material. Or at least it does to me; I think that a course on banned books should explore the history of controversial literature and take the reasons for banning books seriously.

Negotiating Student-Instructor Relationships on Facebook

Facebook's wordmark floating in front of a blue background with plants

All young instructors know it: that dreaded moment when a student, former or current, adds you as a "friend" on Facebook. We encourage students to call us by our first names, and cultivate a sense of informal comfort in the classroom. As young people closer in age to our students than our advisors, we also realize that Facebook has become a near-universal social networking outlet, filled not only with friends but cousins, colleagues, and (gulp) parents.


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