Report for Brian Sheerin: Shakespeare In Austin (ENGL 3337)

Class Objectives in Previous Semesters

In most literature classes—but in Shakespeare classes in particular—my goals revolve around three incremental priorities. (1) First, I want to teach students how to read texts meaningfully. As opposed to simply scrolling eyes across a page or having a vague idea of plot progression, reading meaningfully involves actually comprehending sentences, passages, characters, and themes in ways that can be coherently summarized and discussed by students. (2) Second, once students can comprehend what they are reading, they should learn how to interrogate the interpretive options of the material. Nearly every moment of a dramatic text presents multiple possible perspectives, whether it be in determining word significance, finding implications of thematic imagery, or (as with drama) thinking about various enunciation and staging options at various moments of a play. (3) Third, students should discover how to apply their well-informed interpretive engagements with specific passages to the rest of the text. Figuring out how one’s particular perspective on a given textual site inflects, complements, or stands in tension with other parts of the text (or the meaning of the work as a whole) is a skill that demonstrates true maturity in literary analysis. Continue reading