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ERIC Number: EJ1007512
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 23
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 17
ISSN: ISSN-0007-8034
Between Universalizing and Othering: Developing an Ethics of Reading in the Multicultural American Literature Classroom
Dunbar, Ann-Marie
CEA Forum, v42 n1 p26-48 Win-Spr 2013
This essay seeks to explore some of the common challenges facing teachers of multicultural American literature, particularly in the general education classroom. More specifically, the author addresses two typical student responses to this body of literature: the tendency to see the literature as entirely foreign and the tendency to universalize or to identify in a facile way with the text. Drawing on recent pedagogy theory, she argues that teachers of multicultural American literature need to be much more deliberate in their efforts to help students develop other, more productive ways of engaging multiethnic texts. In particular, the author explores the implications of whiteness studies and what Tina Chen has called an "ethics of knowledge" for the multicultural American literature classroom. Finally, she discusses several specific texts with an eye to pedagogical strategies that help students both to see and to avoid the twin pitfalls of universalizing and othering. In her experience, she has found that foregrounding some of the theoretical and ethical questions raised by the study of multicultural American literature in a (predominantly white) university classroom can help to make students more self-conscious, ethical readers, with a much clearer sense of their own positionality in relation to textual others. (Contains 6 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A