A lot of you already know, and have been just as excited as I am, but I’m stoked to announce that I’ve been offered, and accepted, a Lecturer position at Harvard University’s Department of History and Literature (which is an honors concentration for Harvard undergraduates), starting in July. While the specifics as to what I’ll be teaching this fall are still being determined, I’m beyond thrilled. Generally, Lecturers get to design their own courses, and mentor students in the program.

I owe many thanks to my professors, colleagues, friends, and former/current students for their support! A special thanks goes out to my mom, who is the most supportive, kind, and generous person I know. Growing up, going to the campus library was such a normal thing that it became second nature to spend my days researching everything from Superman comics to HTML coding. Some things never change.

I took the above photo of the exterior of the Barker/Humanities Center, where the Department of History and Literature is located, on the morning of my campus visit. To my delight, the building has a lovely café located in an atrium with large windows that give the space a burnt citrus sort of glow through its sheer orange curtains. Students and professors shared tables, eagerly worked together, sipping coffee. I arrived to Hist & Lit on the day in which seniors were turning-in their senior theses. The department was full of electricity and excitement. I hope to bring the same enthusiasm and love I have for Fordham to Harvard.

A little about the department (from Harvard’s website):

What is History & Literature?

An honors concentration for Harvard undergraduates, History & Literature provides a structured, interdisciplinary education to ensure that students acquire breadth (knowledge of historical periods, major works, and key themes in their fields) as well as depth (focused study of particular texts, events, authors, or themes according to students’ unique areas of interest). The following key aspects of the program guide students in reflecting on their goals and the coherence of their individualized work in the concentration.

Fields of Study

History & Literature’s field structure provides the intellectual scaffolding to ensure that your individualized plan of study has breadth as well as depth. Organized by time and place, our Fields of Study are designed to be transnational and comparative. As a community of scholars, we believe in a practice of questioning the boundaries of each field, encouraging a sense of community among concentrators studying similar themes.

To allow plenty of time to explore new interests, History & Literature concentrators do not declare a particular field of study until the end of the sophomore year. Beginning in the junior year, concentrators have the option to adjust a declared field by proposing a Subfield, which involves 2-3 courses in a geographic, temporal, thematic, or methodological area that will count for concentration credit. All of this is done in consultation with History & Literature tutors, so that you may rely on the experience and expertise of gifted teachers working in a variety of disciplines.

Tutorials

Tutorials are the heart of History & Literature, and many students find that tutorials are among the most demanding and rewarding courses they take at Harvard. History & Literature’s tutorials provide the opportunity to learn about and apply interdisciplinary tools of analysis to a rich variety of topics. They also allow students to integrate their courses in literature, history, and related fields.

  • Sophomore tutorial is a small course led by two tutors in the spring semester that focuses on interdisciplinary research methods.
  • Junior tutorial is a year-long tutorial for just 2-3 students. In the fall semester, students to collaborate on a syllabus with their tutor; in the spring semester, the students research, write and workshop the Junior Essay.
  • Senior tutorial is a one-on-one course focused on developing, researching, and writing a Senior Thesis. Both junior and senior tutorials invite students to steer the individual direction of their study.

With their tutors, students explore cutting-edge research in the humanities, while learning how to shape research projects of their own. There is no single way to describe how the disciplines fit together in tutorials, and how they resist being fit together. Discovering that relationship in tutorials is the touchstone of the History & Literature experience.

Advising

In History & Literature, we take great pride in our dedication to teaching and advising. We match students academic advisers each year, providing guidance and support from the moment a student enters the concentration. Our advisers are teachers who work with students to shape a satisfying and coherent plan of study that equips students with the necessary knowledge and skills to accomplish the goals central to each student’s unique intellectual trajectory.

From their first semester in History & Literature, students have advising conversations to discuss themes, issues, authors, and texts that they are interested in exploring in the concentration. Using the Field Worksheets, students indicate which courses count for distribution requirements in their fields, as well as any courses that have been approved through the Petition process for concentration credit or as a substitute for another required course. The Assistant Directors of Studies check these documents against students’ transcripts over the summer to make sure that all History & Literature concentrators are on track.

Foreign Literature

In History & Literature, we believe that learning to read in another language makes you a better reader in any language. For that reason, students are encouraged to work toward proficiency in a second language, with the goal of taking a literature course in the target language by the end of the junior year. That said, students are not expected to achieve fluency, and each student’s path is unique. Many concentrators elect to complete language citations to meet History & Literature’s Foreign Literature requirement.

Leave a Reply

3 comments

  1. historymonocle

    That’s so awesome. How long will you be in Boston? I might be there this Summer for a few days to do more research at Harvard.

    • The position is for three years. I haven’t got a specific move-in date yet! Hopefully I’ll get to see you there, but I should also be in Texas for a good while in July!

      • historymonocle

        That’s awesome. Hopefully, I’ll be there a few times in three years. Boston is one of those places I like to go back to at least once a year.