ERIC Number: ED395332
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1996-Mar
Reference Count: N/A
Resistance to the Domestication of Texts in the World Literature Class.
The act of reading is always interpretation through the lens of an individual's own culture and value system. In a World Literature class the encounter between American readers and a text from a different culture can produce 3 results: reading into it the individual's own world; translating the alien into the familiar; and appreciating its cultural differences. In a serious engagement in a cross cultural dialogue with authors and characters, students must learn both to let differences remain and how to open up their pre-judgments and thus themselves to serious challenge and unpredictable change. Like learning a foreign language, the student of World Literature essentially takes a leap of faith and enters a different world. Techniques which can help monocultural students achieve some empathy with another culture are: (1) free-writing and focused exercises; (2) acting out scenes from the text; (3) creative writing using characters, settings, etc. from texts; and (4) use of concrete language in describing emotions and experiences that seem all too familiar. When "Third World" texts are taught, the issue of authenticity of such cultures must be questioned--writing in the language of the colonizer itself poses questions. A sense of history should be enhanced in students--the pedagogy of auto-critique refuses to let individuals see themselves as the origin of meaning. Meanings are made by people situated in particular traditions, speaking particular languages, immersed in heritages of their own, and fastened to histories of and beyond time. (NKA)
Publication Type: Guides - Classroom - Teacher; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Contact Literature; Third World
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (47th, Milwaukee, WI, March 27-30, 1996).