Reading Communities

Micheal Rumore

“Remapping the Modern” developed as a revision of a required Brit lit survey at Lehman College covering 1660-1815. Against the nation-bound way such surveys have traditionally been constructed, I wanted to craft a course that made interrogating the very construction of “canonical” literary knowledge a central concern. I wanted the course to center voices historically occluded in “capital-L” Literary production, linking the development of “modern” literary forms in the long-eighteenth century to modern inequalities directly linked to the transatlantic and Indian Ocean colonial histories of the period. Crucially, I wanted to enlist students in this process of creating oppositional knowledge, building and performing a scholarly “expertise” not divorced from their lived experience. To do this, we intended to collaboratively create and edit an open-access textbook that included reading responses, archival research annotations, as well as a “Reading Communities” blog where students reflected on the experience of reading long-eighteenth-century texts as students in New York City. While COVID-19 interrupted our ability to complete the editing and curation of the “textbook,” students did create some amazing work that complicate our sense of the “modern” and links long-eighteenth century literary forms to contemporary struggles for justice. Additionally, the sense of collective authorship helped provide a sense of community and shared endeavor through our move fully online. I’m excited to share some of this work with you.

Pre-Covid syllabus


Access the Open Textbook: ENG 302: English Literature II: Restoration through Revolutions; or, Remapping the Modern (1660-1815)

Scaffolding of the project

Showcase of student work