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ERIC Number: ED423530
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1998-Apr-3
Pages: 22
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Sharing Stories and Conversation: Teaching Culture(s) in a College Literature Class.
Standley, Melissa
An overriding concern in the teaching of literature from cultures other than the instructor's own is how to go about selecting appropriate literature. When selecting course texts, the question should be whether literary scholars write respectfully about the work. A sophomore-level Introduction to African-American Literature course has been structured historically (starting with the Harlem Renaissance) around canonical African-American authors, beginning with Richard Wright's "Native Son" and Zora Neale Hurston's "Their Eyes Were Watching God." A Toni Morrison novel is also taught as is one other contemporary text towards the course's end. Some local African-American history and literature are also included. The course is reading- and writing-intensive. Other classes include a sophomore-level Postcolonial Literature course and a junior-level American Multiethnic Literature course. These courses are begun by trying to subvert the idea of "white" as normal and everyone else as "ethnic" or "other," introducing the idea of white ethnicity. Useful frameworks for considering how people construct their own racial identities and their ideas about other races are William Cross's stages of racial development (in Beverly Daniel Tatum's book "Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?") and Louise Damen's chart that maps the stages of culture learning in her book "Culture Learning: The Fifth Dimension in the Language Classroom." The most important elements for getting students to consider their own ethnic identities and the identities of other people are the reading and the writing of portfolios. (Contains 13 references; a sample portfolio handout is appended.) (CR)
Publication Type: Guides - Classroom - Teacher; Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A