Category Archives: History

inquiry and historical research in the literature classroom?

While I was reading Ann Dalke’s very interesting review of Nassim Taleb’s Black Swan (courtesy of the Valve), I came upon some fascinating discussions of inquiry-based education on Serendip, the Bryn Mawr science/education blog. 

And while looking over this post, I was struck by the teaching philosophy developed by two Biology instructors, Grobstein and Franklin, for their elementary lab courses:

[The underpinnings of science] suggest that what is of primary importance is to encourage and help students to develop their skills and sophistication in inquiry as a ongoing process, rather than primarily to teach them either particular content or particular skills. This is particularly true in an age when content is widely accessible and particular skills quickly go out of date. The need is not to implant particular material or perspectives in students but rather to help them develop the capacities to evaluate information and to construct for themselves meaningful ways of organizing information.

The perspective on teaching laid out here seems fundamental to me for teaching in any discipline, but I admit that I don’t know many teachers, in- or outside the sciences, who really practice this kind of pedagogy, outside of those teaching at elite liberal arts schools.  No one else has the time or the inclination, except for those doing what they can in non-elite institutions, delivering it to students in bits and pieces.  And certainly, if we want to understand why Professor X from the Atlantic article (see my post from a few weeks ago) is such a catastrophically bad teacher, it’s his ignorance or denial of such principles that causes many of his difficulties in the classroom.

Nonetheless, I really like Grobstein’s and Franklin’s recommendations for research assignments based on this model:

  • Start with materials that students are interested in, and about which they have both thoughts and questions. 
  • Encourage students to recognize and share their current understandings of these sorts of materials, and to notice differences in understandings.
  • Encourage students to make new observations that are surprising to at least some of them.
  • Encourage students to figure out why they are surprised (ie what understanding they had that wouldn’t have let them to expect the observation they have made), and what new understandings (stories) would account for previous understandings as well as the new observations.  
  • Encourage students to make explicit to themselves and others their new understandings and the reasons for them, and to recognize and reflect on differences among them.
  • Enourage students to conceive new observations that have the potential to again alter their understandings/stories.
  • Repeat

  This is all very suggestive for me, but I was also curious about how a teacher of 18th century literature might follow this advice.  So how might we start with the kind of materials that students “are already interested in.”  Unless we happen to be teaching a class on viral videos or Iron Man, this seems ruled out from the start.  We can always play the game of referencing popular culture to talk about what we already know, which gets us part of the way there, but this kind of strategy also feels like a distraction from the purpose of the course, doesn’t it?  In our precious few weeks of reading, how much time do we want to devote to the presentist distortions of the past?  (Anne Hathaway as Jane Austen etc. etc.)

I suppose that the difficulty here is that we are not members of departments named “literary research skills,” but that our knowledge and our professional identities as scholars really are tied up with a specific content, one, alas, that really does “quickly go out of date,” along with the skills that we used to acquire that knowledge.  Graduate education, faculty hires, curricula, all these things are organized explicitly upon the basis of a foundational content, not the acquisition of specific research skills, no matter how necessary those skills are to the acquisition of knowledge of say, 18th-century pamphleteering.  Though we once awarded PhDs for philology, no one is going to get a  PhD in electronic keyword searches.  So teaching in this manner demands that one re-learn one’s own disciplinary knowledge and professional identity, to determine the most effective ways to teach students how to acquire such understanding.  And I’d predict that the curricular structures in our departments are going to change, if only to reflect students’ needs for more explicit instruction in the skills necessary for literary analysis.

At the same time, I’m also wondering how far this predisciplinary notion of “observation” really gets us when we think about teaching literary history, which depends on all sorts of specialist understandings of terms like genre, periodization, stylistic analysis, etc.?  Another “note” by one of the writers talks briefly about the need to distinguish between “observations” and “stories/interpretations” (e.g., “‘I saw A,B,C and think therefore D’ vs ‘I saw D'”), but I felt like there’s an entire set of steps missing from an account like this one. 

Nonetheless, I believe that any successful undergraduate student of literature should be able to move from the ability to make bare observations about a work to developing an interpretation or story about the work and recognizing it as such.    And a large part of this success comes from the student’s ability to understand the importance of the “valuable social character/interplay” that occurs when one reads with an awareness of earlier readers and their accumulated responses.  It is this unseen yet undeniable historical pressure upon our understanding that we try to communicate to the beginning student, but how do we accomplish this without killing off their engagement in the material?  The key step seems to be persuading students of the value of the “unending empirical process that loops repeatedly between observations and interpretations,” so that they may be able to evaluate the information they encounter in their research, while constructing understandings of this information for their own purposes.




[UPDATE: where I worked, in the new manuscripts portion, built ca. 1974]

This is where I’m working this week–the Guildhall Library–so that I can spend some more time unraveling the complicated legal fortunes of John Wilkes between 1762 and 1771.  These records, convoluted as they are, are definitely giving me more respect for Wilkes, who single-handedly evaded all the Government’s attempts to silence him (though not to jail him) during this period.  In fact, jailing him just made him more popular, so the Government essentially gave it up and contented itself with jailing or harassing his associates.

I must say that manuscript work of this type feels more exhausting than any other kind of research, because deciphering even a single letter can take ages, and Wilkes is a peculiarly well-documented indvidual with volume after volume of papers collected about him.

While reading these papers, along with the political periodicals Wilkes worked on, I was struck at the discrepancy between the political circumstances–which were highly mutable yet inconclusive–and the rigidity of the political discourse–which felt absolutely stereotyped.  It was a huge relief to find a speech of Edmund Burke’s, which perfectly diagnosed the causes of the discontents.  Yet it was equally clear that Burke’s eloquence was having little effect on his fellow-politicians.  It’s a good example of a period where the participants seem more than usually blind to the significance of what they’re doing. 


[and this is the old Guildhall building]

Old Bailey Online: now from 1674 to 1913

Tomorrow it all goes public (and we kind of expect it to crash at some point), and today there is a pretty nice feature in the Observer:

The Proceedings of the Old Bailey Online 1674-1834 is now the Proceedings of the Old Bailey and Central Criminal Court 1674-1913.

This doesn’t only mean that you can now search for 200,000 trials held at the Old Bailey over a period of 2 and a half centuries. The other new set of goodies of special interest to 18th-century scholars is the full text of (almost) every Ordinary of Newgate’s Account between 1690 and 1772 (in the next few months this should expand to a full archive of every known surviving Account from c.1674 onwards).

I’ve posted before about these grimly fascinating pamphlets. They’ve been used by a number of historians, including Andrea Mackenzie and Peter Linebaugh, but the surviving pamphlets have been scattered across a number of different libraries and archives. From now on they’ll be together in one fully searchable digital archive. Plus, I’m in the process of completing a database that links every convict mentioned in the Accounts to their trial, providing it has a surviving report (perhaps 3/4 of the links have already been made).

This should make for some interesting research possibilities. For example, historians often argue that women who successfully ‘pleaded their bellies’, ie had their death sentence postponed on grounds of being pregnant, usually escaped hanging. In fact, we say that in our own background section. But I’m not so sure. Through the process of cross-referencing trials and Ordinary’s Accounts, I’ve already discovered several women whose sentences were respited for pregnancy but subsequently carried out (eg in September 1695. So what I’ll be asking (once I’ve finished making the damned links) is: how many were executed and how many were permanently reprieved? Have we historians been getting it wrong? Answering those questions wasn’t impossible before now, but it would have been extremely difficult. And there will, no doubt, be many more possibilities like this.


The other news, because I haven’t been plugging it enough and you’ve probably all forgotten, is that we’re holding a conference in July to celebrate the relaunch: The Metropolis on Trial, in the throbbing metropolis of… Milton Keynes. If you’d like to attend, registration is open and you can download a booking form at the website.

X-posted at EMN.

Performance History vs. Textual History in Roach’s IT

As I’ve been thinking about our exchanges about Roach’s book over the last week or so, I’ve come to feel that we need to reflect some more about the nature of Roach’s object of study–performance–and how studying that field of activities affects the questions of evidence we’ve been discussing, especially in regard to the genres of historical writing.

One starting-point would be this passage from David Simpson’s well-known discussion of the varieties of history and the New Historicism, in “Is Literary History the History of Everything“:

New historicists have been noticed for their eschewal of grand theory and their alternative reliance upon anecdote and happenstance; for their immersion in the empirical plenitude of antiquarian history, from which items are plucked like rabbits from a hat, which turn out to illuminate a more traditionally “major” text or topic; and for their general effacement of hermeneutic problems about doing history in favor of the sheer vividness of the data of history. Nietzsche hoped for just such a history, one whose value would not lie in “general propositions” but in its “taking a familiar, perhaps commonplace theme, an everyday melody, and composing inspired variations on it, enhancing it, elevating it to a comprehensible symbol, and thus disclosing in the original theme a whole world of profundity, power and beauty” (92).

I think many of the terms plucked out of Nietzsche here could be applied to Roach’s work: the “empirical plenitude” of his discussions of wigs and the early history of Hollywood, and their surprising relevance to the topics usually found in monumental histories (e.g., monarchy and popular government); how the vividness of the data of “antiquarian history” may very well make this mode of history-writing more illuminating than the materials of monumental history; how the point of antiquarian history’s “everyday melody” is the extent to which it inspires rococo “variations”; most importantly, however, antiquarian history’s “commonplace theme”may be “elevated” into a “comprehensible symbol” in which we discover a “whole world of profundity, power and beauty.”  This, to me, is a good description of what Roach has achieved in his study of the “It-effect”: this book has disclosed a whole world of performance, one whose profundity, power and beauty seem closely related to its roots in “the deep eighteenth,” the never-quite completed transition to Modernity.

Simpson seems to assume that in the current discursive environment, with its suspicion of grand narratives, that certain kinds of Monumental history have become difficult or perhaps even irrelevant to readers, critics, and scholars:

It is within this climate of expectation, wherein grand narrative is morally discredited and (perhaps more important) massively difficult to perform, that the anecdote and the contingent connection do their work.6 Levi-Strauss wrote of biography and anecdote as “low-powered history,” requiring subsumption within a “form of history of a higher power” for significant intelligibility. But he also noted that while low-powered history is the least explanatory, it is “the richest in point of information, for it considers individuals in their particularity and details for each of them the shades of character, the twists and turns of their motives, the phases of their deliberations” (261).

I appreciate Simpson’s observation that certain forms of anecdotal or contingent history really do rely upon earlier or more general narrative frameworks to become intelligible.  But when I think, for example, about Simpson’s opposition between anecdotal, and therefore “low-powered,” histories, and the more synthetic “high-powered” academic history, I immediately recall Boswell’s powerful mythologizing of Johnson, and wonder how that could be distinguished from the kinds of work Roach does with Garrick and Siddons and the rest of performance history.  Isn’t Boswell as much a historian of gesture and dress as he is a writer of dialogue?  Conversely, we can cite Thackeray’s equally powerful biographical mythologizations of figures like Swift and Sterne, and wonder whether Simpson’s distinction between the high-powered and the low-powered approach really holds in literary history, which seems absolutely dependent upon the anecdotal and the contingent in its most powerful instances, and certainly in its earliest phases.  So Simpson’s distinction, I think, ultimately rests on a hierarchy of textual over non-textual history that seems untenable, at least for any model of performance studies, and perhaps for literary and cultural studies generally.

And, indeed, Roach’s book demonstrates precisely the need for such biographical and anecdotal materials in performance history, because of these materials’ value as a hitherto-unnoticed archive for the cultural contexts of performance.  So even if Simpson seems (ultimately, though I think grudgingly) to endorse some version of the “antiquarian” history of everything, I think that a book like Roach’s argues much more persuasively for this kind of approach, largely because it is able to document and thereby raise the It-effect into a comprehensible symbol of one of the hallmarks of Modernity, synthetic experience.


Cultural Studies and the BABL

The 18th-century cultural studies panel from MLA provided an excellent discussion about the opportunities and limitations of cultural studies as pedagogy, especially in the undergraduate classroom, and has got me thinking about ways to solve, or at least massage, some of the problems discussed on the panel, using some of the resources that are cropping up for instructors as guides for my students. The main problem that emerged during the cultural studies panel and the ECCO panel that morning was the lack of a guide to navigate the wealth of contextualizing sources available to our students, many of whom lack the research experience and intuition necessary to decide what is relevant to the study of a historical text and what may not yield a fruitful contextualization.

One of the resources I’m excited to have accessed is the Broadview Anthology of British Literature’s Instructor’s Guide, which I contributed to last summer. I got a passcode for these materials at Broadview’s display at the convention, and am very pleased to see the materials assembled there, which I can see using quite actively in the classroom. The guides generally provide a series of critical approaches to the authors, a few thoughtful readings of their major works, some questions for discussion, some material on critical responses to the works, and often a nice section of texts that provide some cultural context for the work. Although not all of the authors are covered yet, the ones that are provide a sort of roadmap to criticism and historical sources for many of the authors and texts we teach at the undergraduate level.

Obviously, the guides provided by BABL are limited in that the historical sources they suggest are those chosen by whatever scholar wrote the draft of the guide, but they do offer, at least, positive suggestions (i.e., something like “Try looking here”) as opposed to the negative suggestions we often find ourselves making to undergraduate researchers (“No, that’s probably not going to be a good source; try again”). My own guide, on Swift, reflects my personal interests in popular print culture and political economies, and is therefore quite limited, beyond some suggestions about other topics to research. However, I hope it offers something like what I offer students in class who simply don’t know where to start—a suggestion of a few leads that have the potential to produce an exciting research project, leading to further research more specific to that student’s interests.

One of the most exciting things, pedagogically, for those of us who encourage historical research in literature classes, is that our students may find wonderful sources that we’ve never encountered before, and make excellent connections we haven’t thought of. Those who have a knack for sussing out sources and making interesting conclusions can respond to an open-ended research assignment with passionate inquiry. However, at the undergraduate level, these open-ended research assignments can result, as Dwight Codr suggested during the panel, in a kind of despair.

In my own historical-research wiki assignment, in which I offered 70 narrow topics for research to my students, the results were either inspiringly brilliant or depressingly nonexistent. Quite a few students chose to take a zero for the assignment rather than complete the work, and a great number did only cursory and often inappropriate research (citing other student-made websites rather than primary sources, etc.), despite a great deal of class-time devoted to discussion of how to find and use primary sources. I eventually had to make the assignment extra-credit, so as not to fail a third of each of my classes. I assumed at the time that the project itself was doomed, but now I wonder if the problem was that one must not just teach students to do primary source research; one must model it for them by guiding them to examples of appropriate sources first, not just topics and suggestions for where to look.

What I hope to use the BABL guide for next semester is to mine it for historical sources that I can assign directly to students who do not readily come up with sources of their own, and to assign them the contextualization work suggested by the guides and by my own previous reading experiences. Once they have followed a path that previous scholars have found fruitful, perhaps they can then be more attuned to the kinds of sources they might look for in future assignments. After all, most of us learned to do contextualizing research by reading professional historicist criticism, not by slogging blind through special collections or databases. We learn to do this work largely by example, not by trial and error.

The problem in the past, for me, has been that my reading of primary sources outside of literature has largely been in special collections that my students do not have access to, and little of it has been the kind of stuff that interests my students. While I’d love to get them all interested in the Gentleman’s Magazine or in Coke’s Institutes of the Lawes of England, I can’t necessarily expect them all to travel from their homes on Long Island to midtown Manhattan to spend four or five hours trying to decipher typefaces totally unfamiliar to them, and expect them to find something critically interesting and relevant to the class, and expect them to then draw knowledgeable and well-written conclusions about those sources that their classmates will then read and use. Out of the past 200 or so students I’ve urged to go use a special collection for their research, exactly one student actually did it, and she ended up citing almost nothing she read there.

Although the BABL guides don’t tend to reproduce entire sources, they do often provide a few pages of contextualizing sources, from which a student could at least get a hint of whether she wants to spend time looking further at that source or not. On a larger scale, one could imagine a resource like the BABL guides, except perhaps in a wiki form, with suggestions by scholars of possible contextualizing sources for major authors or genres and short excerpts, as well as lists of places to find these resources on the web, on EEBO or ECCO, or in special collections. This would take a great deal of time and energy on instructors’ and scholars’ parts, but, if Wikipedia has taught us anything, it’s that human beings are glad to expend energy in a collective way if there is the promise of an output greater than their individual input.

Do we think it’s possible for literary and cultural-studies scholars, a turf-warfare bunch if ever there was one, to cooperate in some kind of project like this? Would it be best to run it somewhat like Wikipedia, with mostly pseudonymous authorship and editing? Would it be a gigantic disaster?

-Carrie Shanafelt

Michael Warner on religion and politics

Last night, Michael Warner spoke at the Graduate Center as the plenary talk for the interdisciplinary “Religion and Sexuality” conference being held today. His talk was a riveting call to restructure the terms of the ongoing debate about the role of religion in secular politics.

His key point was the way in which the language of eighteenth-century evangelical religion, in which one is “a Christian” because of one’s declared faith (rather than, say, adherence to religious law or cultural associations), has been extrapolated in American politics to create a division between all religious peoples (“faith-based initiatives,” etc.) and secularism, which is defined as a lack of faith. He noted the ways in which even non-Christian religions are defined by political bodies as “faiths,” even though faith itself is a specifically Christian-evangelical requirement for religious affiliation. Warner noted that in Stanley Fish’s op-ed columns, Fish has repeatedly opined that he (as a secularist) feels jealousy of radical Muslims and Christians alike because they have “something” to believe in and fight for, while secular individuals have “nothing” to believe in.

Warner argued for a revision of this rhetorical separation between faith and absence-of-faith as a specifically evangelical mindset that neither does justice to non-faith-based religions or to the very long history of secular ethics. One way of doing this, he argued, is not to relentlessly separate the terms of church and state, but to recognize that if churches wish to be considered political entities, they must be analyzed in political terms, in part because the “beliefs” that religions bring into political realms are constantly changing, unrooted in either biblical or ecclesiastical history, and constantly plead self-referentiality. The war against homosexuality, for example, has never been a primary issue of Christianity until recently, when suddenly it has become the very shibboleth by which certain Christian groups assert their faith.

In the end, it seems, extrapolating “faith” to mean “whatever political interests the religion currently serves,” makes it a similarly empty and ahistorical category as secularism. It must not be called to answer for its lack of relevance to 2000 years of Christian ethics, and it also cannot be called to task under the provisions of the Constitution. If “freedom of religion” has come to mean that anyone in the U.S. can do anything and limit anyone else’s rights, as long as they call that impulse “faith,” then secular political discourse becomes totally powerless. After all, the problem with religious control of politics is not that it makes for bad “faith,” but that it makes for unacceptable political positions. Meanwhile, the very terms of “faith” require that all religious-political impulses frame themselves as faith-based, even when non-evangelical religions base community participation on other terms.

It was a brilliant argument and a deeply historical view of religion and politics in the U.S. over the past 230 years. Unfortunately, it seemed to spawn exactly the sort of conversation whose terms Warner was attempting to reset. I was extremely frustrated by the intransigence of the respondents toward a dialogue about the history of the discourse. There is a deep commitment in the secular academy to an us-vs.-them mentality with respect to religion, and a fear of engaging with anything called “faith” as a discourse, or as rhetoric. The conversation seemed to spin out into statements of the deeply-held “beliefs” of secularists, and then into religious audience members’ fear of an atheist-totalitarian state. A few questioners responded to Warner’s talk as it was presented, but his method of analysis seemed, sadly, completely unfamiliar to most of the respondents, who insisted on reasserting a post-1950’s view of what is true and must always have been true about U.S. politics.

What is a wiki for?

Many of you have asked for an update about my wiki experiment of last year, and I held off on responding because it didn’t go very well, and I don’t really blame the wiki itself as a medium.

To review, what I did with my British Literature survey wiki was to ask students to research a topic of cultural, political, sexual, or economic history in Britain between 1600 and 1800. They were supposed to find a few good sources and sum up what they found in a brief and informative wiki article with citations, so that their peers could easily glean a great deal of interesting information about, for example, Restoration fashion, the Gunpowder Plot, or the social position of Jews in London in the mid-18th. If we had time, we could have revised, sharpened, and interlinked the articles to create a very interesting and useful resource.

I chose that assignment because I had done something similar when I was taking Nigerian Lit as an undergrad. The course was so packed with novels and plays that the professor did not really have time to lecture on the entirety of postcolonial Nigerian history and culture, so each member of the class developed a one-page annotated summary of a particular topic, which we briefly presented and provided for our classmates. It was an excellent wake-up call to me as an English-centric student that What We Do is so deeply tied into matters of history, political science, religion, and philosophy that we have to be able to do research in other fields just to be able to understand what we’re reading. We can’t just wait for a professor to give us all the context we need.

With a similar purpose, I asked my students to go to the library and look up things about their topics. I gave them names of books I knew might be good. I helped them get access to primary sources from the special collection I worked in. As far as I knew, everything was going swimmingly.

But when the time came for me to check in on the wiki, I was dismally disappointed to see that only a handful of them followed the directions. The ones who did produced interesting, lovely little summaries, often with visual aids and excellent sources. But most of them cited only websites (which I’d explicitly banned so they’d go to the library), simply copied paragraphs out of encyclopedias (again, banned, and, well, plagiarism), or did not do the assignment at all.

Grades plummeted. What happened here? I gave explicit directions, which several people were able to follow without incident. But when 2/3 of the class simply cannot do an assignment at a passing level, I have to assume that there is something wrong with the assignment. Because the resource they created was so poor as a whole, none of them read their classmates’ work, and no one bothered to create links between articles. As a wiki, it was not functional.

The following semester, I made this assignment extra credit, and, again, several of the articles I received were excellent, but many received no extra credit at all. In the end, the extra credit only ended up benefiting those who were sure to receive A’s anyway, which was proof enough to me that it was a failure as an assignment.

I asked, both semesters, what had gone wrong. The main answers I got were that they had no idea how to summarize (not surprising, given that an analytical summary is a pretty sophisticated rhetorical skill most students aren’t asked to do until grad school) and that they had no idea how to skim sources. I got many emails asking the repeated question, “Are you saying I have to read three 500-page books???” I’d say, no, you have to look in the index or table of contents, find the relevant information, and figure out what would be important for your classmates to know, regarding your chosen topic. Many of my students did not know how to find information in non-fictional texts. They are English majors, and they’re used to reading every word.

In addition, I fear that asking them to post to a website was just one more hassle on top of scholarly/rhetorical hassles that created an inappropriate amount of stress. All of these skills are important, and I wish I could say that I could teach all these skills in my class, but in the context of a Renaissance-to-Modernism survey, I just don’t have time to teach rhetoric, research, and reading at that level.

When I taught the class this summer, I dumped the wiki assignment, which was clearly going nowhere and was not helping the students it was designed to help. I refocused my efforts on getting my students to practice analytical summary (which, by hook or by crook, I’m going to teach them) and research. This time, I asked them to write a three-page summary of a significant critical article on a poem or poems from the syllabus, and another one on a prose work from the syllabus.

This assignment got them to isolate for themselves (a) what literary criticism is, and (b) what a literary-critical argument does, as well as (c) how that relates to their own reading of a work. I know this sounds very basic, but I’m not sure it’s something they think about when they’re writing run-of-the-mill research papers. Many of my students have somehow gotten through most of their coursework without really seeing that literary criticism is not about “facts” and “opinions” but about arguments that open texts up for more interesting and engaged reading.

The responses I got from this assignment were, on the whole, really magnificent. My students said they struggled with the summary mode, but the assignment was do-able, and they were happy to see how this would improve their research papers at the end of the semester. A few students turned in summaries of study guides on the literature, which was depressing, but depressing things in isolation are not as depressing as an entire class of depressing things. Most of them found really fascinating articles, and many of my more excellent students developed a strong attachment or aversion to the article they found, which often became the basis of a fabulous paper at the end of the semester.

This is where the wiki comes in. I was so thrilled by the work they were doing this summer that I’d like for them to turn their summary essays in to the wiki. This would create a genuinely useful resource for the class, helping them to see what kinds of literary-critical work is out there, and what a broad range of journals they could dip into. Of course, there is the mild concern that they will merely read a fellow student’s summary of an article and not look into the article itself, but there are easy ways of making sure they know that is not sufficient.

The point of a wiki, after all, is to get my students to have an attitude of collaboration, rather than competition, which is extremely difficult to instill in a population like Queens College, which doesn’t have dormitories or a “campus” mentality. I often fear that many students show up to school every day thinking about how they can beat out another student for a grade, as if it worked that way, mostly because they then get in their cars and drive home, out of the city. I feel like much of my work as a teacher, throughout CUNY, has been trying to convince my students that the sea of camaraderie raises all ships, and that I’m not interested in just focusing on a few brilliant students in the front row and leaving the rest behind. With the wiki, I’ve been hoping to allow them to see their classmates not just as personalities, but as other minds in the classroom who have something to offer them.

We shall see, we shall see. I’ll let you know how it goes. I’m not ready to abandon the idea of my class producing content for one another, so I will keep trying.