Based on feedback from last year’s event, we are using a different approach to the discussion sessions and workshops this year. I think you will find it smoother and more enriching. As with last year, we will pre-assign participants to the 5 discussion groups (each named after an estate in SS), but we also recognize that there may be some visiting of other estates or even moving from one estate to another, as in the novel itself!
The topics of each session are on the schedule now: http://janeaustensummer.org/schedule/
In particular, we have changed our approach to the Context Sessions. We will achieve our goal of adding some historical context in a different way. Before each Context discussion session, everyone will gather in the plenary room for a 5-10-minute Context Corner talk (we have been calling it the “Fred talk”) on the specific topic listed in the schedule. This presentation will be given by a grad student specializing in that area for his or her dissertation. The presentation will include visuals as much as appropriate to engage and illuminate. These talks will give historical information on a specific topic relevant to understanding SS, but given the time limit, may not spend much time on exploring what JA is doing specifically in SS: we can do more of that in the discussion sessions.
The CC speakers will also provide a handout with some key facts or a timeline, and a list of suggested discussion questions with suggested passages in SS. We are thinking that this will be a nice thing for people to take home with them, and it will also be useful for discussion. Everyone will have a copy of these questions to take to the context discussion session. The handouts will also have suggested passages from SS for discussion of the particular topic.
Immediately after the plenary CC, we will disperse to the 5 different Context Discussion groups (each named after an estate in SS). The faculty leaders will not present this year, since everyone will have the same starting point.
The grad-student-led Response Session(s) will be the same as last year, but there is only one on the schedule so far–after Professor Deborah Knuth’s lecture. We could potentially add one after Dr. Jade Bettin’s talk as well, although it is before the ball.
Best regards, and looking forward to June!
Inger & James