Facing and Complicating the Isms 

Issues such as racism and sexism (“isms”) pervade nineteenth-century literature, 
and yet few teachers engage with them in complicated and meaningful ways in 
the survey classroom, risking alienating students who have strong responses. 
I suggest a class exercise that helps students see such isms as complicated and 
varied (as opposed to monolithic and unified) and thus analyzable from a personal 
and psychological (rather than just historical and cultural) perspective.