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When is a Novel not a Novel: When It is Used to Teach Political Science
Unformatted Document Text:  When is Novel Not a Novel: When It’s Used to Teach Political Science George E. Connor Associate Professor and Acting Department Head Missouri State University Introduction: The Scholarship of Teaching Ever since the publication of Boyer’s College: The Undergraduate Experience in America (1987) and the Carnegie Foundations’ follow-ups, Scholarship Reconsidered (Boyer, 1990) and Scholarship Assessed (Glassick, Huber, and Maeroff, 1997), academic disciplines have been reevaluating the scholarship of teaching and learning in higher education. The APSA’s 2002 “Roundtable on the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Political Science” is evidence of this reevaluation in the discipline of political science. I believe that political scientists can improve student learning by teaching across the discipline and adopting a “novel approach” to political science, especially in introductory level courses. While not specifically challenging the role of the traditional textbook, at the very least, I believe that traditional approaches can be supplemented by the introduction of literature in general and novels in particular. While it is not my purposes here to delve into a discussion of the various theories of reader response, a brief discussion is warranted. Rosenblatt (1978) distinguishes between “efferent” and “afferent” reading. With the former, “the reader’s attention is focused primarily on what will remain as the residue after the reading- the information to be acquired” (23). In the later, afferent or “aesthetic” reading, the reader “must decipher the images or concepts or assertions that the words point to [but] he also pays attention to the associations, feelings, attitudes, and ideas that these words arouse within him” (24-25). Cleary, efferent reading is appropriate for most, if not all, introductory

Authors: Connor, George.
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When is Novel Not a Novel:
When It’s Used to Teach Political Science
George E. Connor
Associate Professor and Acting Department Head
Missouri State University
Introduction: The Scholarship of Teaching
Ever since the publication of Boyer’s College: The Undergraduate Experience in
America (1987) and the Carnegie Foundations’ follow-ups, Scholarship Reconsidered
(Boyer, 1990) and Scholarship Assessed (Glassick, Huber, and Maeroff, 1997), academic
disciplines have been reevaluating the scholarship of teaching and learning in higher
education. The APSA’s 2002 “Roundtable on the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning
in Political Science” is evidence of this reevaluation in the discipline of political science.
I believe that political scientists can improve student learning by teaching across the
discipline and adopting a “novel approach” to political science, especially in introductory
level courses. While not specifically challenging the role of the traditional textbook, at
the very least, I believe that traditional approaches can be supplemented by the
introduction of literature in general and novels in particular.
While it is not my purposes here to delve into a discussion of the various theories
of reader response, a brief discussion is warranted. Rosenblatt (1978) distinguishes
between “efferent” and “afferent” reading. With the former, “the reader’s attention is
focused primarily on what will remain as the residue after the reading- the information to
be acquired” (23). In the later, afferent or “aesthetic” reading, the reader “must decipher
the images or concepts or assertions that the words point to [but] he also pays attention to
the associations, feelings, attitudes, and ideas that these words arouse within
him” (24-25). Cleary, efferent reading is appropriate for most, if not all, introductory


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