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Summer Seminars for K-12 Teachers

The links below connect to the websites of the NEH Summer Seminars that I have directed. These seminars were hosted by the Dickens Project at the University of California at Santa Cruz in 2011, 2014, 2016, and 2019. Designed for (K-12) school teachers, the seminars offered intensive exploration of literary texts, historical documents, critical readings, and theoretical frameworks. The seminars explored a range of approaches to reading and teaching Dickens.


6 July-1 August 2014

Focused on a cluster of films and narrative rewritings of A Christmas Carol and Great Expectations, the "Great Adaptations" seminar explored the enduring influence of Dickens on the modern imagination. More generally, the seminar considered adaptation as a cultural practice that expands and enriches readers' understanding of literary texts. A major goal of the seminar was to help teachers identify new ways to use adaptation in the classroom in order to engage students actively in thinking and writing about literature. Examples were drawn from a variety of genres, including fiction, film, and drama.

3-29 July, 2016

Taking an interdisciplinary, cultural-studies approach to literature, this NEH summer seminar considered Hard Times and A Tale of Two Cities in relation to historical events & contemporary concerns, literary influences & modern adaptations, Victorian social theory & current critical trends. We explored historical and literary texts, critical theory, Victorian periodicals, and literary adaptations as we considered how Dickens—and literature more generally—can promote cultural literacy while developing the ethical and political perspectives students need to fully engage with contemporary social issues.

January 5 - June 13, 2026

This three-week seminar for middle and high school teachers uses two case studies—Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre and Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations—to show teachers how they can use literary imitations and appropriations to connect the study of literature with the development of their students’ skills in critical reading, analytical reasoning, argumentative writing, and creative production. Informed by current and emerging trends in adaptation studies and drawing on scholarship in literary, film, and cultural studies, the seminar examines two frequently taught nineteenth-century texts as reimagined and refracted in imitative texts, plays, and films, including Rebecca, Wide Sargasso Sea, Mr. Pip, and more.

NEH Seminars: Courses
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