Monsters in the Classroom

Essays on Teaching What Scares Us


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About the Book

Exploring the pedagogical power of the monstrous, this collection of new essays describes innovative teaching strategies that use our cultural fascination with monsters to enhance learning in high school and college courses. The contributors discuss the implications of inviting fearsome creatures into the classroom, showing how they work to create compelling narratives and provide students a framework for analyzing history, culture, and everyday life. Essays explore ways of using the monstrous to teach literature, film, philosophy, theater, art history, religion, foreign language, and other subjects. Some sample syllabi, assignments, and class materials are provided.

About the Author(s)

Adam Golub is associate professor and director of the M.A. program in American Studies at California State University, Fullerton, where he teaches courses on literature, popular culture, childhood, and monsters. His academic writing has appeared in various journals, including Film and History, American Quarterly, Hybrid Pedagogy, and Anthropology Now.

Heather Richardson Hayton is an award-winning professor in the English Department and the Director of the Honors Program at Guilford College, and is the President of the Society for Comparative Literature and the Arts. A medievalist by training, she teaches early-period courses as well as popular culture topics.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Adam Golub and Heather Richardson Hayton

Foreword by W. Scott Poole

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 264
Bibliographic Info: 9 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2017
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6327-2
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2760-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Foreword (W. Scott Poole) 1
Introduction: Monstrous Pedagogies (Adam Golub and Heather Richardson Hayton) 8

Part I—Teaching Difference: The Monster Appears
Teaching Monsters from Medieval to Modern: Embracing the Abnormal (Asa Simon Mittman) 19
Gender, Sexuality and Rhetorical Vulnerabilities in Monster Literature and Pedagogy (Pamela Bedore) 35
Creating Visual Rhetoric and the Monstrous (Nancy Hightower) 57
Monsters as Subversive Imagination: Inviting Monsters into the Philosophy Classroom (Jessica Elbert Decker) 70

Part II—Transforming Space: The Monster Roams
Locating Monsters: Space, Place and Monstrous Geographies (Adam Golub) 91
White Settlers and Wendigos: Teaching Monstrosity in American Gothic Narratives (Bernice M. Murphy) 114
Meeting the Monstrous Through Experiential ­Study-Abroad Pedagogy (Kyle William Bishop) 129
Using Zombies to Teach Theatre Students (Phil Smith) 143

Part III—Disrupting Systems: The Monster Attacks
Studying Gods and Monsters (Joshua Paddison) 161
Monsters in the Dark Forest of Japanese Grammar (Charlotte Eubanks) 174
High School Monsters: Designing Secondary English Courses (Brian Sweeney) 191
The Monster Waiting Within: Unleashing Agon in the Community (Heather Richardson Hayton) 211

Afterword: Monster Classroom (Seven Theses) (Jeffrey Jerome Cohen) 228
Bibliography 237
About the Contributors 249
Index 251

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “this book is in and of itself an example of another wonderful thing happening in education today…the 12 educators who wrote chapters for this book share a great deal of their research and many also include full syllabi with reading lists and assignments…they do this so other educators can use these ideas to encourage deeper engagement with students in their own classes”—PopMatters
  • “[The essays] usefully, insightfully, and often ingeniously, demonstrate how a wide range of existing theoretical work on monstrosity can be productively employed in a variety of classroom contexts.”—Sean Moreland, University of Ottawa
  • “A strong collection that is truly pedagogical insofar as it provides concrete tools…syllabi, assignments, etc….for educators of all levels. It also folds in scholarship, as the two go hand-in-hand.—Lisa Nevarez, Siena College