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ERIC Number: ED414595
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1997-Mar
Pages: 11
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: N/A
Letters from Czarist Russia: Rhetoric as Political Action.
Desser, Daphne
Multiculturalism has emphasized the difficulty in valuing "unity" given diversities of gender, class, culture, and ethnicity, and has illustrated how a desire for unity can function to routinize and standardize the teaching of writing into an object of safe consumption. Writing teachers should be wary of asking students to identify themselves in rigid and static ways--this kind of narrow positioning makes dialogic communication more difficult. A dialogic and intersubjective understanding of ethics that is born and maintained through the necessity of response to the other can offer a way out of the problematic ontological obligations associated with identity politics created by multiculturalism's sincere but ultimately monologizing call for "diversity." Letters dating from 1924-1927, written by a Russian Zionist grandfather, Mordecai Ben-Ami, a writer and journalist, illustrate some of the dangers and difficulties of adhering too rigidly to multicultural identification. Ben-Ami's letters reveal his own easy dismissal of cultural and ethnic others, despite having experienced ethnic persecution himself. Passages from the letters exemplify how a strict allegiance to cultural and ethnic identity, although seemingly powerful, can be ultimately disabling. Ethnicities should be perceived not as static or rigid identities, but as forms of identification open to continual reflection, reevaluation, and renegotiation. Teachers of writing are called upon to complicate simplified notions of difference without erasing their existence; finding ways to teach students to value face to face dialogic encounters with the cultural and ethnic other as a means to ethical response would be better. (NKA)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Russia