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ERIC Number: ED474932
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2003-Mar-26
Pages: 12
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Rewriting Racism: Whiteness Studies in the Composition Classroom.
Barak, Julie
When teachers work to create empathy that transfers or translates the experience of the other into an experience an individual has had, they promote a kind of egotism that dismisses the other or that reduces the other to the category of the self. The key problem with empathy of this sort is that the focus is not on the other, but on the self. The task that "whiteness studies" undertakes is to shift this focus from ME to US. Whiteness studies is about reopening the dialogue with the other under new terms. With this in mind, an educator has designed a composition class that focuses on race relationships and on keeping the focus on US, not on the other, but on the interconnections. The course's purpose is to teach students how to write about literature and how to do researched writing. The educator tries to get students to move away from a reader-response critical approach to literature in which the reader gains a position of privilege by completing the story toward a post-colonial critical response, in which the student examines the political positions of the author, the characters, and themselves as readers. This paper talks more about the dangers of empathy and about how whiteness studies move readers and writers beyond that to a new political sense of their responsibility in the classroom and the community. The paper describes the main assignments for the course (the second semester of a 2-semester freshman composition sequence) in which the pedagogy of whiteness studies is applied to facilitate the development of an empathy of responsibility in the students. Lists 6 works cited. (NKA)
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