This article traces the history of the word anxiety and explores its use as a way to describe the act of literary interpretation. Returning to Stanley Fish’s idea of the interpretive community, the article argues that pedagogy often reinforces anxiety as an individual, isolating experience. This bespeaks a larger concern about the role of pedagogy in student and faculty life. The article concludes by encouraging faculty to consider anxiety as an energy that can be productively harnessed through the construction of a more emotionally aware interpretive community.
Anxiety Can Bring Us Together
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.
Douglas Dowland; Anxiety Can Bring Us Together. Pedagogy 1 October 2019; 19 (3): 543–550. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/15314200-7615553
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