Harvard reinvents its literature curriculum

/ 7 May 2009

This is interesting, and reminds me of Mark Taylor’s essay in some ways. Harvard College’s English and Classics departments have redesigned their core concentrations. In the English department, for example:

Incoming concentrators will now be expected to fulfill a single requirement in each of four “common ground” areas: Arrivals (focusing on how British literature, from its beginnings in the seventh century, is a product of cultural importation); Diffusions (dealing with the dispersion of “British” literature across the globe, beginning with England’s seventeenth-century expansion and imperialism); Poets (emphasizing non-dramatic poetry); and Shakespeares (treating the Bard and his heirs in a cultural context).

I've watched as my eldest son has worked his way through the very extensive literature standards required in his high school, and I wonder to what extent Harvard is responding to innovation in secondary school curricula, and how much it may lead to innovation there?