One of the ironies of the new Norton Anthology of African American Literature is that despite its significant challenge to the idea of a single canon of American literature, its material form as an anthology (from Norton, no less!) perpetuates the concepts of a fixed canon and stable definitions of literary merit. This paper will describe a way of overcoming this pedagogical obstacle by incorporating into the African American Studies classroom web-based writing assignments about internet resources in African American Studies. The use of internet resources as contextualizing material for anthologized literature helps students to see that the "canons" of any cultural tradition are constantly under evaluation and revision; and the use of collaborative, web-based writing assignments provides a methodological model for understanding the process of re- evaluating and revising literary and cultural "canons." These ideas will be developed in the paper in conjunction with examples of student writing from an internet-based, distance-education Survey of African American Literature.

Presenter: Charlie Hannon


Target Audience: Not Applicable

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