This introductory article argues that contemporary academic teaching contexts are filled with anxiety. Students enter the classroom with a host of uncertainties, while teachers often suffer the burden of personal and professional anxieties of their own. Although many of these are historically specific, rooted in particular political, economic, and ecological circumstances, the authors argue that they may be productively approached through the strategies outlined in this introduction and the articles of this cluster of articles. They advocate tackling the question of anxiety consciously, responsibly, and tactfully, guided both by teachers’ experiences and by their knowledge of theoretical approaches to course content. Drawing principally from affect theory, but also enfolding concepts from intersectional feminism, digital humanities, reader-response theory, and other critical methodologies, the authors share tactics for working with anxiety rather than striving to eliminate it or ignore it. They argue that, once we see our pedagogy as anxious, we begin to see opportunities to broach it as a subject that can productively engage with the core tenets of academic inquiry.
Guest Editors’ Introduction: Anxious Pedagogies
Shawna Ross is assistant professor of British literature and the digital humanities at Texas A&M University. Her cowritten publications include Using Digital Humanities in the Classroom and Reading Modernism with Machines. Her current book projects include Charlotte Brontë at the Anthropocene and Leisured Fictions: Hotels, Ocean Liners, and the Scene of Transatlantic Modernism. Her work may be seen in Digital Humanities Quarterly, the Journal of Interactive Pedagogy, the Journal of Modern Literature, Victorians, and the Henry James Review.
Douglas Dowland is associate professor of English at Ohio Northern University, where he was named 2018 Professor of the Year. His book, Weak Nationalisms: Affect and Nonfiction in Postwar America, will be published in 2019. His essays on the resentments and generosities of academic life have appeared in the Chronicle of Higher Education and Inside Higher Ed.
Shawna Ross, Douglas Dowland; Guest Editors’ Introduction: Anxious Pedagogies. Pedagogy 1 October 2019; 19 (3): 509–512. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/15314200-7615451
Download citation file: