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In 2016, Dornsife College at the University of Southern California invited Andrew to develop BOOKPACKERS as a cross-humanities concept for undergraduate education.

In 2017, he was was brought ‘on faculty’ in the Department of English, and in 2018 he was appointed an adjunct Professor of the Practice.

BOOKPACKERS now exists on the USC Schedule of Classes in two forms - as a 15-week ‘on campus’ class, and a 25-day ‘on the road’ experience in New Orleans and Southern Louisiana.  Both are 4-unit classes accredited for General Education.  Click on the links to find out more.

Meanwhile, Andrew is developing a series of new classes which aim to launch over the next few semesters:  a residential class set in New York, a road trip following the journey of the Joad Family in ‘The Grapes of Wrath’, and an immersive class set in Los Angeles.

Bookpackers on campus

The BOOKPACKERS 15-week ‘on campus’ class explores the varied regional cultures of America through the portal of classic and contemporary fiction.

The course encourages empathy.  Fiction offers us landscapes peopled with characters who think differently to us;  reading novels region by region, we come to understand the different mindsets that make up the American whole.  In a time of profound division, this emphasis on empathy has never been more relevant or important.

The class meets for a total of 45 hours over the course of the Fall Semester.

BOOKPACKING THE BIG EASY

In May / June, immediately following commencement, USC offers students a series of classes ‘off campus’, set abroad and in cities across the USA.  These ‘special session’ programs are called ‘Maymesters’. 

BOOKPACKING THE BIG EASY is a 25-day Maymester set in New Orleans and Southern Louisiana, a unique region of America formed of a fusion of cultural strands: Creole, Cajun, African-American and White Protestant. 

Andrew leads 12 student bookpackers on a road trip through this fascinating cultural landscape, exploring places and people through the portal of eight classic and contemporary novels, which we read as we travel.  We use the novels as guidebooks, adopting a holistic approach to the humanities whereby literature, history, geography, politics and social studies combine into a unified course of study.

The students blog the experience, uploading their blogs to the BOOKPACKERS site.  For Andrew's overview of the 2018 experience, see here.  For a complete archive of students' blog from 2017 and 2018, see here.

Tuition costs for the New Orleans Maymester are covered within student fees for the Spring Semester.  Students pay an additional charge - roughly $1600 - for flights and accommodation. 

Andrew is enormously grateful to Marion Dole for her logistical support in planning this four-week program.