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Gerald Graff


Gerald Graff is one of his generation's most influential commentators on education, not only as a historian and theorist, but also through his impact on the classroom practice of teachers. His 1987 book, *Professing Literature: An Institutional History*, is widely regarded as a definitive work. This book also helped launch Graff's argument, subsequently developed in *Beyond the Culture Wars: How Teaching the Conflicts Can Revitalize American Education* (1992), that schools and colleges should respond to curricular and disciplinary conflicts by "teaching the conflicts," incorporating debates, for example, about literature, history, and how these fields should be studied into courses themselves. Graff's idea of teaching the conflicts has also inspired two widely used "Critcial Controversy" textbooks, editions of Twain's *Adventures of Huckleberry Finn* and Shakespeare's *The Tempest*, both edited by Graff and James Phelan. Graff (and now Graff and Birkenstein) has given lectures and workshops at many schools and colleges, and Graff's work has been the topic of three special sessions at Massachusetts Library Association conferences. Graff's career has culminated in his election as President of MLA in 2008.