This article makes a case for using MySpace as a pedagogical tool in the survey course. MySpace can draw attention to the kinds of restrictions the collaboration between “literary” and “history” places on how the survey course interprets the past. The article gives detailed accounts of how students uploaded MySpace sites for a cross section of literary figures on the Brit Lit II survey syllabus in Spring 2007. Placing figures from the syllabus on MySpace got students to rethink the past as a series of interconnected networks of complicated and evolving conversations throughout the century. Students used the kinds of communication that MySpace makes possible for their personal lives and used it as a way to manage speculative and informed conversations between literary figures on the course syllabus. Excerpts from student essays suggest that transplanting figures like William Blake, Robert Burns, John Keats, Mary Shelley, Matthew Arnold, Charles Dickens, Oscar Wilde, and Virginia Woolf onto MySpace impacts how we understand the kinds of conversations the nineteenth century has with itself, and what this tells us about their literary and historical legacy.
Daniel R. Mangiavellano; “Reach for Me Again”: MySpace and the Brit Lit II Survey. Pedagogy 1 January 2009; 9 (1): 152–157. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/15314200-2008-023
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