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ERIC Number: EJ871096
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Dec
Pages: 8
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 31
ISSN: ISSN-0155-2147
Reconfiguring the Aesthetic and the Political in the English Classroom: The "Bodied" Other and Classroom Conversation
Golsby-Smith, Sarah
English in Australia, v44 n3 p39-46 Dec 2009
The English teaching profession, spurred on by media and federal politics, has tended to construct aesthetic reading and political reading within a dichotomous conceptual framework (Morgan, 1997; Devine, 2004; Donnelly, 2007). The article argues that this need not be so, and that the two apparently opposed modes of reading can be performed not only compatibly, but simultaneously as one and the same event. Drawing on the disciplines of ethical criticism (Nussbaum, 1990, 1995) and the new rhetoric (Booth, 1980, 1982, 1988a, 1988b), this article develops ways in which the high school English students' "civic imagination" (James, 1907) can be mobilised for civic gain. Furthermore, this article argues that the modes of reading developed in the classroom that foster this kind of reading prompt a kind of "feminine justice" (Gilligan & Richards, 2009) that enables students to see "the other" in all her surprising particularity, rather than as a universal category. In fact, it is argued, that being open to the surprise of the particular is the premise on which apprehending "the other" can proceed. This argument is situated in sustained reflection on real and particular classrooms, and the particular texts the students happened to be studying at the time. The critical conclusion is that the pluralist reading habits that we could engender in the high school English classroom might provide a healthy and robust ethic for the English teaching profession to develop what Wayne Booth calls a "true college" of teachers (1998b), whereby pluralism, rather than dichotomy, characterises the profession.
Australian Association for the Teaching of English. English House, 416 Magill Road, Kensington Gardens, SA 5068 Australia. Tel: +61-8-8332-2845; Fax: +61-8-8333-0394; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education; High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia