For more than a decade, the Center For Mark Twain Studies has been hosting an annual professional development institute for primary and secondary teachers every July. This program continued during the pandemic years and resuming in-person at Quarry Farm last Summer. Following this period of disruption, we recognize that the needs, burdens, and pressures on teachers at all levels have changed, though our commitment to providing professional development opportunities and resources for educators has not.
In lieu of the intensive, two-day institute, this year we will be hosting a single hour-long virtual seminar. The seminar will take place on Wednesday, July 19 at 10:00 AM Eastern. It will be hosted via Zoom and open to teachers at all levels, including pre-service, as well as librarians, curators, school administrators…anybody interested in the integration of Twain into educational environments. While time will be set aside for discussing Twain’s place in curricula and fielding questions from participants on any topic, the centerpiece of the seminar will be a “target text,” one which may or may not be familiar to participants, but which we think is appropriate for a variety of pedagogical situations.
The target text for 2023 is Twain’s “The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg,” a short story which first appeared in Harper’s Monthly in December of 1899 (see downloadable text embedded below). Once a fixture of U.S. literature anthologies, in the story Twain takes a characteristically dim view of human nature and American institutions. Though some scholars have claimed that Hadleyburg is thinly-veiled stand-in for towns Twain actually visited, the story has the potential to resonate with contemporary students, especially with its themes of political division, unreliable sources, and cycles of betrayal and revenge.
During the seminar Dr. Jocelyn Chadwick and Dr. Matt Seybold will introduce the story, some historical and biographical contexts, potential lesson plans, and how it might be scaffolded with other common texts. CMTS will also provide a teaching archive specific to the story with historical documents, multimedia adaptation, and other resources.
We look forwarded to this spirited, constructive, and fun discussion of Twain and teaching.
Jocelyn Chadwick is a Professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and past president of the National Council for Teachers of English (NCTE). Dr. Chadwick also serves as a consultant for school districts around the country and assists English departments with curricula to reflect diversity and cross-curricular content. She is also a consultant for NBC News Education, the Folger Shakespeare Library, PBS American Masters and The Great American Read, and Pearson. Her many publications include The Jim Dilemma: Reading Race in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1998), Common Core: Paradigmatic Shift (2015), and Teaching Literature on the Context of Literacy Construction (2015).
Matt Seybold is the lead curriculum organizer of the CMTS Summer Institute for Teachers and Associate Professor of American Literature & Mark Twain Studies at Elmira College, as well as editor of MarkTwainStudies.org & executive producer of The American Vandal Podcast. He is co-editor of the Routledge Companion to Literature & Economics (2018) and a 2019 special issue of American Literary History on “Economics & American Literary Studies in the New Gilded Age.” Other recent publications can be found in Aeon Magazine, American Literary Realism, American Studies, Henry James Review, Leviathan, Los Angeles Review of Books, Mark Twain Annual, and The Cambridge Companion to Literature & Economics.