UW humanities faculty, library share insights, ancient manuscripts with high school teachers

September 29, 2011

Rare 16th century editions of works by Sophocles, Euripides and Aeschylus will be on hand to show teachers participating in the first workshop of the Great World Texts Program on Monday, Oct. 3, in Room 126 of the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s Memorial Library.

A partnership between the UW–Madison Center for the Humanities and Wisconsin public schools, Great World Texts links humanities faculty with high school teachers for a year of assistance and inspiration in teaching a great work of literature to high school students. Past works have included “Arabian Nights,” “Things Fall Apart” and “Don Quixote.”

The program, now in its seventh year, draws teachers from 25-30 high schools around the state.

An exciting tradition for the first workshop is the presentation of rare and unusual editions from UW Library’s Special Collections by Jill Rosenshield, special collections librarian. Teachers are always thrilled to see these beautiful and intriguing items (some of them centuries old) that deepen their understanding of the text they are about to begin teaching to high school students.

“We never know what Jill’s going to come up with, but we know it will be fantastic, and she never disappoints,” says Heather DuBois-Bourenane, coordinator for the UW Center for the Humanities‘ Great World Texts program.

What’s revealed in these rare editions, says DuBois-Bournenane, is a sense of the way the story has changed over time. Many pages are scanned and photocopied for teachers to take back to their classrooms.

Faculty and graduate students from across a wide spectrum of the humanities participate in the Great World Texts teachers’ workshops. The Oct. 3 workshop agenda (not open to the public, but journalists welcome) includes:

  • 9:30-9:50 a.m.: Jill Rosenshield, special collections librarian, Memorial Library. Brief presentation on rare and illustrated editions of “Antigone”
  • 10-11 a.m.: John Zumbrunnen, associate professor of political science, will speak on “Antigone, Civil Disobedience, and the Challenge of Citizenship”
  • 1-2 p.m.: Caroline Levine, professor of English, will address “Reading for Resonances”
  • 2-3 p.m.: Kristin Hunt and Mary McAvoy from Department of Theatre and Drama will speak on “Embodying Antigone: Performance-Based Strategies for the Classroom.”

All student copies of “Antigone” were purchased by the UW Library.