Bibliography as Invitation

Each semester I share with students a list of the books and articles that I have used to develop the methods and concepts for my courses. Some may see this as pretentious — me handing them a long list and saying “Look how much I’ve read!” I don’t have a problem with that: scholars and teachers are supposed to read a lot. If waving this list of sources makes me pretentious in the eyes of students, it also reinforces my credibility as their instructor.

But as fun as it is to be pretentious, I prefer to frame this list as an invitation. I invite students to examine the lively process of building a course, of growing and developing their ideas as scholars,. The bibliography is an exhibit of lifelong learning. And maybe, just maybe, a student who enjoys the class will return to this list and look for something else to read.

Here, I extend my gratitude to one of my multilingual students who begged me for a reading list: in the middle of our course, she asked what else I would recommend so she could enhance her reading and understanding of English. So if one student wants this list, I will believe in the possibility that many more do also. Perhaps they are too shy to ask. Perhaps they do not yet know how much they would enjoy these books.

This is my list! If you see a title you’ve read and enjoyed, please leave a comment below. If there’s something you think I should add, make suggestions! A bibliography is not a static document: it’s a festival of conversation!

Syllabus Bibliography


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