Schedule for First Week

Texts and Contexts



Saturday and Sunday

2 and 3 July


Please plan to arrive in Santa Cruz over the weekend, but by no later than 6:00 pm Monday. As Monday is a holiday, many businesses will be closing early, so you’ll want to arrive before that if you have any supplies (groceries, etc.) to purchase. You may want to post your arrival information on Facebook so you can share transportation from the airport, make plans to meet others who have already arrived, and coordinate local supplies runs and excursions in the time leading up to our first meeting.

Welcome Dinner

Monday, 4 July

6:00 pm 

Porter Dining Hall Lower Patio



Please join us at 6:00 pm for dinner as we welcome our NEH Summer Scholars to UC Santa Cruz! We'll dine outdoors on the Porter Dining Hall patio, which features a view of the ocean. Our dinner is generously hosted by the Friends of the Dickens Project.


After dinner, observe the fireworks from the hilltop vantage point of campus or go down to the beach for a waterfront view!


Getting Started

Tuesday, 5 July

9:30-12:30 (Seminar)

12:30-4:00 (Group lunch and afternoon campus tour)


Welcome and personal introductions


Overview and objectives of the seminar

  • Situating Dickens and his work

  • Introduction to Dickens: biography and critical approaches

  • Historical background: the 1850s


Group discussion: How and why do we teach Dickens?

(Curricula, Approaches, Objectives, Assignments)

  • What can Dickens do for our students?

  • What larger objectives can be met via Dickens?

  • What are the challenges we face in teaching Dickens? 

  • What are our needs if we are to make more effective use of Dickens in the classroom?


Scholarly Readings

  • Moye, Richard. “Storied Realities: Language, Narrative, and Historical Understanding.” Contemporary Dickens. Ed. Eileen Gillooly and Deirdre David. Ohio State U P, 2009. 93-109.

  • Schor, Hilary. “Novels of the 1850s: Hard Times, Little Dorrit, and A Tale of Two Cities.” Cambridge Companion to Charles Dickens. Ed. John Jordan. Cambridge, 2001. 64-77.

  • Gardiner, John. “Dickens.” The Victorians: An Age in Retrospect. Continuum, 2012, 161-80.

  • Slater, Michael. “Writing for ‘These Times’, 1853-1854.” Charles Dickens. Yale U P, 2009. 363-85.



Following the seminar, we will have a group lunch courtesy of the Friends of the Dickens Project.


Campus Tour

After lunch, there will be a tour of campus with a focus on facilities. The campus has some irregular terrain, and we'll be out for about an hour, so wear comfortable shoes.


Education and Entertainment

Wednesday, 6 July

9:30-12:30 (Seminar)

2:30-4:30 (Optional Pedagogy Workshop)

Focus Text: Hard Times, Books I & II (pages 41-244)


Discussion topics

  • Education, then and now

  • Utilitarianism

  • Victorian popular entertainments

  • World and text in the nineteenth century


Scholarly Readings

  • Schlicke, Paul. “Hard Times: The Necessity of Popular Entertainment.” Dickens and Popular Entertainment. Allen and Unwin, 1985. 137-89.

  • Schlicke, Paul. “Popular Entertainment and Dickens’s Journalism.” Dickens and Popular Entertainment. Allen and Unwin, 1985. 190-225.

  • Newsome, David. “Looking Inwards.” The Victorian World Picture. Rutgers U P. 13-49.


Optional Afternoon Workshop 1 (2:30-4:30): “My Best Success”

Bring along your most successful assignment or activity and tell us about how you make it  work so brilliantly in your classroom.

The Industrial Novel

Thursday, 7 July


Focus Text: Hard Times, Book III (pages 245-315


Discussion Topics

  • The industrial novel

  • The English working class in fact and fiction

  • Gender and social class in Hard Times

  • Carlyle as writer, philosopher, and influence

  • Historical contexts of literature and using literature to teach history


Historical and Contextual Readings

  • Thompson, E.P. “Exploitation,” and “Community: the Rituals of Mutuality.” The Making of the English Working Class. Vintage, 1966. 189-212; 419-29.

  • Carlyle, Thomas. “Midas,” “Manchester Insurrection,” “Working Aristocracy,” “Plugson of Undershot,” “Labour,” “Reward,” and “Democracy.” Past and Present. Serenity, 2009. 17-21; 27-33; 153-81.


Scholarly Readings

  • Scheckner, Peter. “Gender and Class in Dickens: Making Connections.” Midwest Quarterly: A Journal of Contemporary Thought 41.3 (2000): 236-250.

  • Johnson, Patricia E. “Hard Times and the Structure of Industrialism: The Novel as Factory.” Studies in the Novel 21.2 (1989): 128-137.

The Novel and the Periodical

Friday, 8 July

9:30-12:30 (Seminar)

2:30-4:30 (Library Visit)

Focus Text: Hard Times


Discussion Topics

  • Victorian periodicals

  • Archival materials in research and teaching

  • Dickens resources online


Presentation: Digital resources for the study of Dickens and the nineteenth century


Afternoon Group Activity: Library Visit


Tour of the library and a visit to Special Collections (we will meet in the library at 2:30. I recommend lunch on campus. Try the Rainforest Café in the library!)


Individual Assignment: Periodicals Research (due Tuesday)


Scholarly Readings

  • Ledger, Sally. “Hard Times and Household Words.” Dickens and the Popular Radical Imagination. Cambridge U P, 2007.

  • Mussell, James. “Newspapers and Periodicals in Class.” The Nineteenth-Century Press in the Digital Age. Palgrave Macmillan, 2012. 149-189.

  • Beetham, Margaret. “Towards a Theory of the Periodical as a Publishing Genre.” Investigating Victorian Journalism. New York: St. Martin’s, 1990. 19-32.