The Bengal Annual: A Digital Exploration of Non-Canonical British Romantic Literature

Katherine D. Harris Biography

Dr. Katherine D. Harris, Professor of Literature and Digital Humanities, San Jose State University, put together this course on #bigger6 British Romanticism thanks to the generosity of the #bigger6 community on Twitter. Though a tall order, graduate students in #bigger6 grappled with canonical, non-canonical, postcolonial, oriental, print culture, Digital Humanities topics -- a tall order for a single semester with 5 students. Very special thanks to our generous guest speakers, each of whom provided us with a master class in orientalism, brown romantics, Digital Humanities, women's authorship, and print culture from Gutenberg to Facebook: Dr. Revathi Krishnaswamy, Dr. Manu Chander, Dr. Kirstyn Leuner, and Dr. Beverly Grindstaff.

The hope is to continue this project in a scaffolded, British Romantics undergraduate course in the future. For now, below was the starting point for our Spring 2019 semester:

Course Title (English 232): #Bigger 6: Decolonizing British Romantic Literature (1775-1835) through Print Culture

In the last few years, we have seen a rise in provocative efforts to expand and challenge the ways that scholars study and engage with British Romantic literature beyond the “Big 6” authors (Byron, Keats, Shelley, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Blake) and instead look towards the multi-vocal representations of the Romantic spirit, especially through the overwhelming amount of print materials aimed at both reinforcing and resisting the British Empire. Starting with Mary Shelley's 1818 Frankenstein as our ur-text, participants will learn about decolonizing British Romantic literary study by engaging in the international conversations on Twitter (hashtag #bigger6); engaging in archival study of women authors in the Stainforth; participate in Skype lectures by international scholars on “brown Romantics” and women authors; creating a project using a 19th-century iron press in collaboration with Santa Clara University; and performing archival research to construct a literary history (digital projects welcome!). Students will come to understand that the literary voices heralding the Industrial Revolution and mechanization of print culture were immigrant, non-white, or female.