SHARP in the Classroom Returns!

I see this section as a space of professional generosity, as my experience with others teaching in book history is one of incredible excitement and enthusiasm to share both practical tools and reflective thoughts with others. Our goal, as outgoing editor Rebecca Baumann stated in their welcome letter, is “to provide a space to share materials in a way that is low-effort for you but high-impact for the field.” 

#reader-core: Aesthetics and Algorithmic Capitalism 

Since Jane Austen’s publication of Sense and Sensibility in the 19th century, we’ve moved on from empire waist gowns, empire itself, and of course, industrial capitalism. And with these social, political, and economic changes, modes and practices of readership have also evolved in tandem with our contemporary platformed based economy. Reading itself has been transformed by these structural economic conditions. We are now reading within the landscape of surveillance capitalism, or as Susanna Sacks and Sarah Brouillette have phrased it, reading with, aside, and against algorithms (2023), a dynamic visibly captured via the rise of the reader-aesthetic.

Frances E. Dolan. Digging the Past: How and Why to Imagine Seventeenth Century Agriculture.

The goal of Digging the Past  is stated early with the question, “Is it possible to approach the seventeenth century, in its failed proposals and successful ventures, as a resource for imagining future agriculture in fruitful ways?” Frances E. Dolan seeks to answer this question by offering “a fine grained case study that proposes to enrich our understanding of the value of the past. (page seven) The method consists of examining the letters, diaries, notebooks, botanicals, pamphlets, as well as plays, poems and ‘how to’ guides. Among the topics subsequently covered are histories of food and work, literary criticism of the pastoral, histories of elite and vernacular science, of reading and writing practices and so on. This leads to an examination of agricultural topics such as composting and soil amendment, local food, natural wine and hedgerows. Along the way, we also encounter such varied topics from Shakespeare to cannibalism.  An extensive and well documented bibliography testifies to the wide-ranging scholarship that supports this book.