Given it was not that long ago since my last post, I would like to take this opportunity to stay with my last topic and brainstorm new and interesting ways I could approach canonical works. I will say with this current mapping challenge I somehow lucked out enough (or perhaps my group is just truly kind to me and caters to my interests–although I did not think of this subject), I have regained the spark of interest that drew me to these works in the first place. Our group is mapping Sherlock Holmes (although I’m fairly certain we will not simply stick to the texts of Doyle alone, but branch out into its many adaptations). Even with this fairly simple project, I am reminded of what drew me to these works in the first place. I am familiar with them, but I am more familiar with the texts and oddly don’t give much consideration to their place in popular culture (which probably says a lot about the popularity of the books I read). However, mapping them has reminded or perhaps demonstrated to me for the first time just how much of a cultural impact these works have. I forget that the origin of these works become popular sites for readers and appreciators to pay homage. I forget how they can bring together a community. Normally, and perhaps wrongfully, I think of reading as a rather solitary exercise. As a bad Victorianist, I forget the era I investigate often utilized reading as a social gathering and performance, and I appreciate the reminder given that I am hosting a classroom or a community of readers that are searching for the same enjoyment.
Therefore, as in my last post, I am interested in tools I can bring into the classroom. Perhaps even performing a mapbox exercise might liven up our class and allow students to become more invested and authorial over their work. I rarely allow for more personal exercises, and this may be simply because I do not consider them. Given the language itself has been proven rather difficult for undergraduates to approach, let alone enjoy, and I think a reminder of what beckons an audience to these works and what invites them into popular culture should be more of a priority for me. For instance, what if I introduced a mapping tool to map the homeless in Lansing in relation to works by Dickens. Would this for a demographic who is largely and intentionally ignored to become more central and visible? Would it help us study the Poor Laws with more investment? Garner up more community service and political action? Allow us to witness the sociopolitical overlap of our own nation with that of another’s history? I suspect there is a great deal of potential here with which I am excited to experiment.