Can educators continue to teach troubling but worthwhile texts?
Our current "culture wars" have reshaped the politics of secondary literature instruction. Due to a variety of challenges from both the left and the right—to language or subject matter, to potentially triggering content, or to authors who have been canceled—school reading lists are rapidly shrinking. For many teachers, choosing which books to include in their curriculum has become an agonizing task with political, professional, and ethical dimensions.
In Literature and the New Culture Wars, Deborah Appleman calls for a reacknowledgment of the intellectual and affective work that literature can do, and offers ways to continue to teach troubling texts without doing harm. Rather than banishing challenged texts from our classrooms, she writes, we should be confronting and teaching the controversies they invoke. Her book is a timely and eloquent argument for a reasoned approach to determining what literature still deserves to be read and taught and discussed.
Download and start listening now!