Appendix C: Critical Orientation Venn Diagram

This is the static version of the interactive Venn diagram from the Critical Orientation section of this project.

3-part Venn diagram with categories: Victorian studies, critical information studies, and critical + constructivist pedagogy

1. Victorian Studies + Critical Information Studies

Recent work at the intersections of Victorian Studies and Critical Information Studies (CIS) examines the interplay between the 19th-century world of letters and networks of power and influence. Many authors who take this approach also look to the ways that 19th-century media ecosystems and present-day reading formations may resemble, shape, or differ from one another.

Some examples of work that combines an attention to 19th-century literary forms with an investment in exploring how these forms intersect with current information networks:

  • In her work on the consumption and production of the novel in colonial India, Priya Joshi registers the influence of her surviving corpus on her own readings. During the time when British colonizers were facilitating an influx of print and English literary forms into India, “preprint forms of textuality and cultural transmission. . . contested the supremacy of print in India in numerous ways” (39) Her work is sensitive to the ways in which research that registers only on the printed trace–and specifically, the English printed trace, can miss the mark in its conclusions (39).
  • Emily Steinlight explores the ways in which advertisers in the front and end-pages of Dickens’s serial installments sometimes riffed on elements of the emerging novel to appeal to customers among Dickens’s fan-base. Steinlight describes research like this as an opportunity to “[rethink] not only the Victorian novel’s relationship to the mass culture of industrial production from which it emerges, but also its discursive, formal and material interdependence with the modern system of print advertising” (133).
  • Lauren Cameron explores digital marginalia in contemporary copies of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, observing this practice’s resonance with the social reading practices of the Victorians who first consumed Doyle’s texts.

2. Victorian Studies + Critical & Constructivist Pedagogy

Increasingly, scholars of the long nineteenth century are celebrating the value of shared teaching materials and distributing teaching and learning content outside of corporatized publishing spaces.

Examples of projects that facilitate students’ and instructors’ participation in Victorian Studies: 

  • Dino Felluga is the editor of the Central Online Victorian Reader (COVE) which includes openly-accessible digital editions of works such as Christina Rossetti’s “Goblin Market” that are accompanied by introductory material and critical annotations contributed and peer-reviewed by established scholars in the field. COVE also allows instructors and students to obtain access to private annotation toolsets for a small fee. COVE pointedly situates itself against “avaricious business practices” and “seeks to present an alternative, sustainable model for knowledge production.”
  • Victorian studies scholars have contributed articles or chapters in edited collections that share the teaching practices or conceptual frameworks they have used to facilitate conversations with their students. For example, in the edited collectionTeaching Victorian Literature in the Twenty-First Century, Tamara Ketabgian described her “Victorian Garbage” course structure, learning goals, the prompts for course papers, and reflections on student responses.
  • The V21 Collective has created a space for shared Victorian Studies syllabi, noting that “a finely crafted syllabus is one of the best antidotes to positivist historicism, because instead of just doing the default period-driven grabbag (“Mid-Victorian Literature”) it can create a narrative or make an argument, and focus on conceptual or formal concerns (“Mid-Victorian Experiments in Omniscience and the Science of Mind”).

3. Critical Information Studies + Critical & Constructivist Pedagogy

Work at the intersection of CIS and critical-constructivist pedagogy often seeks to explore new ways of facilitating student access to meaningful learning experiences while reducing barriers to educational access.

Examples of work that blends an awareness of different genres’ teaching affordances with a dedication to learner agency: 

  • Kavita Mudan Finn and Jessica McCall merge theories about fanfiction with a commitment to expanding the forms of engagement available to students in the classroom. In their work, they explore how assignments that invite students to creatively re-imagine Shakespeare can facilitate an “alternative form of both close-reading and contextual criticism” (27). Drawing from examples of student work on such assignments, they argue that by expanding modes of engagement with literature, instructors can facilitate a more inclusive classroom.
  • A broad premise of Games for Change is that it is possible to design playful interactions that can promote participants’ civic engagement in the real world. As one example, Jason S. Wu and Joey J. Lee explore climate-change games’ formats and potential positive impacts or trade-offs as educational tools.
  • Chris Gilliard and Hugh Culik highlight some of the potential negatives of an educational sphere that is becoming increasingly digitally-oriented. They argue that many digital tools and institutional approaches have the potential to further marginalize vulnerable populations who do not have consistent access to computers or to the internet. They also express concern at the forms of digital surveillance that are often disproportionally directed at minoritized students. They refer to these processes as forms of “digital redlining.”


Works Cited

Cameron, Lauren. “Marginalia and Community in the Age of the Kindle: Popular Highlights in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.” Victorian Review, Vol. 38, No. 2, Fall 2012,, pp. 81-99. Accessed 22 March 2016.

Felluga, Dino Franco. “BRANCHing Out: Victorian Studies and the Digital Humanities.” Critical Quarterly, vol. 55, no. 1, 2013, pp. 43-56.

Finn, Kavita Mudan and Jessica McCall. “Exit, Pursued By a Fan: Shakespeare, Fandom, and the Lure of the Alternate Universe.” Critical Survey, vol. 28, no. 2, 2016, p. 27-38. doi: 10.3167/cs.2016.280204.

Gilliard, Chris, and Hugh Culik. “Digital Redlining, Access, and Privacy,” Common Sense Education, 24 May 2016, Permalink:

Kalir, Remi. “About the Marginal Syllabus,” Retrieved 2 February 2018. Permalink:

Ketabgian, Tamara. “Learning Through Victorian Garbage: Disgust and Desire in an Interdisciplinary Capstone Course,” in Teaching Victorian Literature in the Twenty-First Century, edited by J. Cadwallader and L.W. Mazzeno, Palgrave MacMillan, 2017, pp. 19-34, doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-58886-5_2.

Joshi, Priya. In Another Country: Colonialism, Culture, and the English Novel In India. New York, Columbia University Press, 2002.

Steinlight, Emily. “Anti-Bleak House: Advertising and the Victorian Novel. ” Narrative vol. 14, no. 2, 2006, pp. 132-162.

“Syllabus Bank.” V21 Collective, Accessed 10 January 2019. Permalink:

Wu, Jason S., and Joey J. Lee. “Climate Change Games as Tools for Education and Engagement.” Nature Climate Change, vol. 5, no. 5, May 2015, pp. 413–18. doi: 10.1038/nclimate2566.


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