Universitair docent Engelse letterkunde
Twee vragen aan Anita
Which topic do you teach the most.
Gothic is by far the most popular genre of literature that I teach. As a field of research it has gained a new ‘lease of life’ (if you’ll pardon the pun) in recent years with a whole new contemporary wave of Gothic novels and movies- which makes it a really exciting area to be working in. I am particularly interested in looking at the origins of the genre, which sits well with my own expertise in 18th Century British literature. My courses take an overview of the whole Gothic movement from the 1760s up to the present and I look at some of the greatest Gothic novels in their cultural and political contexts. It is really fascinating to examine texts such as Frankenstein and Dracula not only as amazing literary productions in their own right, but make the links between some of their more radical content and their contexts of production. Many students are surprised at how groundbreaking the Gothic was and through our course we explore this genre as (arguably) the most transgressive and challenging in English literature.
What do you think the best feature of the VU?
The best feature of the VU is our ‘joined-up’ approach to literary studies!
At the moment we are at a really exciting junction in the way we teach literature at the VU. Like many Universities we have formerly approached ‘literary’ studies in a fairly traditional way but this is about to change as we embark on introducing a new way of connecting the study of literature with broader social and economic issues.
We are dismantling the old fashioned parameters of looking at different literatures based on language difference and doing something new that is relevant and contemporary whist keeping our strong academic values. This new degree ‘Literature and Society‘ is a really unique degree course that encourages a reading of ‘literature’ in ways that are more meaningful for the 21st century.
Our programme is focused on connecting literary studies across language boundaries and, by looking at its relationship with the ‘real’ world outside of academia, we aim to put our students in a better position with regard to future careers than more ‘traditional’ programmes do. It is a big step for us as a teaching team and we have worked extremely hard to get the balance right. We have lost nothing of our academic vigour but now teach with a focus that explores literature as socially relevant and one which gives our students the chance to experience a much wider variety of texts.
It’s pretty cool…
See also: Anita on the English subsite.