Teaching American Literature at an East European University

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The book responds to literary and composition theorists who have called for reinventing English studies, uniting the study of literature and the study of writing in liberatory rhetoric. The first chapter situates this response in the Department of English and American Studies (EAS) at the University of Shkoder, Albania, a place where liberty has long been denied. The second chapter narrates efforts to teach American literature by using writing-centered strategies focused on theme of liberty; the third chapter does likewise, focusing on the teaching of Research Strategies to students previously trained not to ask questions. The fourth chapter explores collaborative work with the EAS faculty, who exchanged scholarship, developed interactive pedagogies, and shaped democratic principles for departmental governance and curricular change. Finally, the fifth chapter describes the partnership between the EAS Department in Shkoder and the University of Graz, the Austrian institution that has supported its Albanian partner for over a decade and provided a powerful model for rhetoricizing English studies, a concept explored in the last two sections of the chapter, which relate this microcosm to departments of English studies.


“ ... the University of Graz cooperates with numerous South-Eastern European partners in the context of an innovative Joint Degree project, jointly developing six joint degree programs. The Staff Qualification and Institution Building programs with the University of Shkodra in Albania take a special place in the context of these activities. By involving colleagues from American universities in the teaching and institution building activities in Shkodra, we have actually been able to share our expertise and thus make the project a success ...” – (from the Foreword) Prof. Mag. Dr. Roberta Maierhofer, Vice Rector for International Relations and Affirmative Action for Women, University of Graz and the University of Shkodra Partnership

“ ... Whether we are teachers of literature or writing teachers, whether we teach in American or English or Albanian universities, and whether we are deeply liberatory or more conservative in our approaches to teaching, Professor Raymond shows us that reading and writing must be integrated and taught in relationship to one another ... explores the way that active engagement in reading literary texts, and in responding to those texts in writing that is sometimes personal and always culturally aware, can lead to intellectual transformation and liberation ...” – Professor Michael Kleine, University of Arkansas

“ ... Dr. Raymond blends narrative with what Lauer and Asher in Composition Research: Empirical Designs call ‘rhetorical research.’ By doing so, Dr. Raymond creates a hybrid which might represent the next stage in the evolution of research methods that are postmodern in their subjectivity and yet project reliability ... The method of research is this book’s great strength.” – Professor Patrick Bizzaro, East Carolina University

Table of Contents

Foreword by Roberta Maierhofer

Part One Rhetoricizing English Studies in the Classroom
1. No Heat, No Lights: An Introduction to English and American Studies at the University of Shkoder
2. Teaching Writing to Teach Literature, Teaching Literature to Motivate Inquiry
3. Teaching Students the Strategies of Research: Shaping Questions, Finding Answers, Effecting Change Processes

Part Two Rhetoricizing English Studies in the Department
4. Revising Scholarship, Pedagogy, and Curriculum: Collaboration and the Work of Departments
5. What is Possible? Rhetoricizing English Studies
Appendix A – Syllabus for American Literature II
Appendix B – Syllabus for Academic Research Methods

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