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Centre for Uses of Literature


A priority of the Center is to facilitate a rethinking of the grounds for the teaching of literature in higher education, through interdisciplinary alignment with other study programs (e.g. cultural studies, media studies, language studies, history, social science, health science) and improving literary studies’ ability to account for its main insights, theories and methodologies as ones that make our students even more employable and attractive to a wide variety of businesses and job types, not merely the educational system or the world of research

Members of the Center teach in the English, Danish, and American Studies programs, as well as in medical education and the Negot program (Business, Language, and Culture). 

We are particularly interested in developing new approaches to the teaching of literary history. In 2017 and 2018, Peter Simonsen initiated a comprehensive, full-scale reform of the teaching of literature in the English program at both the BA and MA levels, assisted by Emily Hogg and Anita Wohlmann. The reform has changed the teaching’s emphasis on tradition, national literary history conceived in terms of chronology to including questions of contemporary relevance, applicability and “uses” beyond the confines of literary study itself. 

In the anthology Læsninger tværs (Criss-Cross readings, edited by Camilla Schwartz, Lars Handesten and Jon Helt Haarder, canonical works are coupled with contemporary texts in thematic chapters on topics such as anxiety, love, ghettoes, and gardening in order to create connections across time. The aim of the anthology is to communicate some of the insights from the Center on Uses of Literature to the teaching of Danish literature students.

In 2023, the elective 'Uses of World Literature' is taught by Peter Simonsen, Emily Hogg, Jon Helt Haarder and colleagues from Danish studies, American Studies, and Comparative Literature. The course is open to students across the humanities at SDU, and draws on the research of the Center for Uses of Literature to explore how world literature may be used in the context of contemporary global challenges.

Last Updated 21.02.2024