Using a classroom experience teaching Nella Larsen’s 1929 novel Passing alongside a contemporary controversy over racial identity, this article explores the value of literary study for intervening in student attitudes toward core curriculum requirements. The author argues that literature is uniquely situated to teach the skills colleges most want students to acquire in their general education curricula, in turn providing a crucial method for responding to the “crisis” of the humanities in higher education today.
Post-racial Preoccupations: Nella Larsen, Rachel Dolezal, and “Passing Through” the Core Curriculum
Jen McDaneld teaches American literature and core curriculum courses in the English department at the University of Portland, where she is also coleading a new public humanities program. Her research focuses on suffrage literature, US women’s rights movements, and feminist pedagogy, with essays recently published in Legacy: A Journal of American Women Writers, Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, and Feminist Teacher.
Jen McDaneld; Post-racial Preoccupations: Nella Larsen, Rachel Dolezal, and “Passing Through” the Core Curriculum. Pedagogy 1 January 2021; 21 (1): 1–25. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/15314200-8692598
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