This essay describes a classroom role-playing activity that incorporates both modern social media and the tools of eighteenth-century composition. Students communicate with each other as characters in the assigned novel, by either texting, tweeting, or writing longhand with quill pens. The exercise aims to help students grasp the sometimes-elusive historical contexts of eighteenth-century writing as well as the ways in which we interpret and adapt those contexts and their attendant modes of communication when we read for meaning in our own moment. My experiences suggest that the activity is particularly effective at helping students to reflect upon their own interpretive choices and to understand how medium affects content. Furthermore, it can illuminate the ways in which the medium influences not only the message, but also the messenger, thus revealing potentially surprising connections between material modes of communication, embodied behavior, and intellectual output.
communication, pedagogy, eighteenth-century, women, gender, novel, Twitter, texting, epistolarity, role-playing, character
Wyett, Jodi L.
"Embodying Character, Adapting Communication; or, the Senses and Sensibilities of Epistolarity and New Media in the Classroom,"
ABO: Interactive Journal for Women in the Arts, 1640-1830: Vol. 7
, Article 8.
Available at: http://scholarcommons.usf.edu/abo/vol7/iss1/8