This article describes a collaborative effort by faculty at two very different institutions to integrate the study of language change into surveys of early British literature. Using a series of structured assignments, the Word Project engages students directly in linguistic research, literary analysis, and the making of literary history.
The Word Project: Teaching Early Literature through Language Change in the Survey of British Literature I
Elizabeth Schirmer is associate professor and head of the English department at New Mexico State University, where she teaches medieval literature and gender theory. Her research explores intersections between vernacular literary and religious discourses in late medieval England. She has published widely on the religious reform movement known as Lollardy, and her current project explores the embodiment of teachers and teacher figures in and of Middle English poetry.
Avilah Getzler is professor of English at Grand View University, where she has served as chair of the English department and accreditation coordinator for the university. She also teaches courses on British literature, global literature, contemporary literature, Shakespeare, and the novel.
Elizabeth Schirmer, Avilah Getzler; The Word Project: Teaching Early Literature through Language Change in the Survey of British Literature I. Pedagogy 1 April 2020; 20 (2): 349–374. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/15314200-8091954
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