ERIC Number: ED349563
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991
Reference Count: N/A
The Ideology of Canons and Cultural Concerns in the Literature Curriculum. Report Series.
Purves, Alan C.
Educators who are responsible for planning curricula in literature should wish to do so with a full respect for the diverse groups that comprise U.S. society. The current way of thinking about this problem in setting policy for literature instruction is in terms of the canon: that is, the traditional works and the order in which they are to be read. Education, by its very nature, is ethnocentric, and cultures are exclusionary and elitist by definition. However, recently cultural critics have challenged the monolithic nature of U.S. cultural elitism and the literarcy canon in particular. New populations have been accommodated by adding texts to the recognized "classics," and educators are being pressured to help speed up this evolutionary process. In U.S. society, canon formation is carried out by diverse forces, and is constantly being questioned and altered. Also, there is always a discrepancy between the official canon, the critical canon, and what is actually being taught and therefore read by students. Sustained controversy has marked attempts to foster more inclusion of minority and women writers. But a literature curriculum is not simply a matter of canon; it embodies a theory of the text and teaching. By adopting a broader view of literature and its teaching which values the cultural backgrounds of the text, the canon wars take on a different nature and can prove solvable. (Thirty-one references are attached.) (HB)
Publication Type: Guides - Non-Classroom; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: National Research Center on Literature Teaching and Learning, Albany, NY.
Identifiers: Educational Issues; Literary Canon