ERIC Number: ED377483
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1993
Reference Count: N/A
Multicultural Nests: Finding a Writing Voice about Literature by Women of Color. Technical Report Series No. 4.
McNaron, Toni A. H.; Olano, Pamela J.
Efforts at diversifying and pluralizing curricula in English departments have been under way long enough for many to realize that simply adding a few texts by writers historically omitted will not promote truly broadened learning. A course on "minority literature" (Native-American, Asian-American, African American, and Hispanic) for the Women's Studies Department at the University of Minnesota proved to be a pedagogical experiment as well as an opportunity to teach fiction by nonwhite women. The class was divided into four families, or small research teams, each responsible for reporting to the entire class on one aspect of culture for three of the units. The four areas of culture chosen for study were music, visual arts, mythology/religion/spirituality, and family and state structure/governance. One of the highlights of the reports was their diversity of format. Writing assignments were the other major component of the course. The assumption behind all writing assignments was that for white students to interact with literature written by "nonwhite" authors requires a new set of critical criteria and modes for analyzing and discussing texts. It was essential to break down defenses, especially well learned by honors students, thereby enabling them to make often painful connections between text and self. The assignments were centered around a series of open-ended responses to questionnaires and reflections and responses in student journals. The course was a major success, though future courses of this type would probably concentrate on two rather than three cultures because of the restraints of time. (Appendixes include a student questionnaire, journal guidelines, and writing assignments.) (TB)
Descriptors: Cultural Context, English Curriculum, Higher Education, Literature Appreciation, Minority Groups, Multicultural Education, Reader Response, Student Journals, Womens Studies, Writing Assignments
Center for Interdisciplinary Studies of Writing, University of Minnesota, 227 Lind Hall, 207 Church St., S.E., Minneapolis, MN 55455 ($3).
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Minnesota Univ., Minneapolis. Center for Interdisciplinary Studies of Writing.