Rachel Sagner Buurma and Laura Heffernan Receive Teaching Literature Book Award

Rachel Sanger Buurma, associate professor of English literature at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, and Laura Heffernan, professor of English at the University of North Florida, have received the 2023 Teaching Literature Book Award for their book The Teaching Archive: A New History for Literary Study (University of Chicago Press, 2020). Presented biennially by graduate faculty in the Department of English and Philosophy at Idaho State University, the award recognizes the best book on teaching literature at the college level.

The award-winning book analyzes the syllabi, course descriptions, lecture notes, and class assignments of prominent scholars to better understand the history of English teaching and provide an accurate view of what has been done previously and what needs to be done in the future to advance progress in the field. Among other historical analyses, the book showcases how English classes at community colleges and historically Black colleges and universities have contributed to the discipline.

“I spend so much time reading old and new scholarship in order to build my syllabi and class plans, and then what happens in my classrooms in turn informs my own scholarship,” said Dr. Buuram. “And we’ve heard from many other teachers, in colleges and universities as well as high schools, that the book really speaks to their own experience as well.”

Dr. Burram has been a professor in the department of English literature at Swarthmore College since 2007. She specializes in victorian literature and culture, history of the novel, displinary history, history of the book, literary informations, and digital humanities. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English literature, sociology, and anthropology from Swarthmore College and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Heffernan has been with the University of North Florida faculty since 2011, holding appointments in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Digital Humanities Institute. Her work focuses on disciplinary history, history of the novel, nineteenth and twentieth century literature, and sociology of expertise. She received her bachelor’s degree in English and her Ph.D in English from the University of Pennsylvania.

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