Teaching African literature in the American classroom: Why Culture Matters
Session type: Panel
Organized by: Ernest Cole
Send abstracts or inquiries to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Given the cultural difference American students encounter in African literature courses, Instructors typically require such students to critically engage, explore, and interpret the cultural contexts of African literature, its subtexts, areas of contestation, and relation to identity.
This “sociological approach,” in tandem with close reading, posits the question of why culture matters in the conceptualization and delivery of instructional materials in African literature.
Perhaps, more importantly, it seeks to address another crucial question: why the negative assumptions or stereotypes of African culture persists in the American worldview, and what it means for students to internalize that perspective and use it as lens to encounter difference and otherness, and to craft meaningful reader responses to texts they are reading.
This panel seeks particularly to explore the ideologies and structures that engender interpretive activities that raise complex questions of identity, if not “Africanness,” in African literature classes.
Abstracts that explore essentialism and its deconstruction, as way of understanding stereotypes and its limitations in cultural criticism are welcomed. Papers that address how teachers of African literature engage stereotypes without being apologetic or defensive, as well as those that explore critical approaches, pedagogical strategies, and theoretical frameworks that teachers of African literatures can use to create nuanced socio-cultural perspectives that explore layers of cultural signification and its place in the praxis of criticism are especially solicited.
Please send a maximum of 2-page abstract to Ernest Cole at email@example.com including name of participant, university/college by 28 February 2018.