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ERIC Number: EJ948110
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1541-1796
Laramie in Uganda
Kagan, Eve
Teaching Artist Journal, v9 n4 p236-239 2011
No matter how disturbing, it is common to hear "that's so gay" or "you're such a fag" echoing through the halls of a high school, but when the high school is an international school in Uganda, those words have a newfound potency. As an American teacher working abroad, the author often struggled over her responsibility for the ethical conduct of students outside the classroom. In a country that clearly vilifies homosexuality, was it her place to teach tolerance and compassion? Or would that be yet another classic example of the liberal Westerner superimposing her values on a foreign culture without any regard for the preexisting belief system? And what of this preexisting belief system? Was homophobia rooted in tribal culture, or was it a product of colonial-era legislation, of previous generations of industrial capitalist imposition of Western ideology? In an attempt to recognize the cultural context, was she oversimplifying the issue as a result of Western or white guilt, missing an opportunity to engage with her students on a potent issue of political oppression? Was she promoting the "live and let live" philosophy she so despised, out of her own fear to address a subject complicated by the controversial issues of race, nationality, and sexuality? In October 1998, Matthew Shepard, a young gay man, was beaten and left to die tied to a fence on the outskirts of Laramie, Wyoming. In the aftermath of his beating, Moises Kaufman and members of the Tectonic Theater Project traveled to Laramie to conduct over two hundred interviews with the people of the town and transformed those interviews into a play that brings these many voices to life. In this article, the author reflects on a student production of "The Laramie Project" in the context of an anti-gay political and cultural climate in Uganda.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education; High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Uganda