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Reading the World, the Globe, and the Cosmos

Approaches to Teaching Literature for the Twenty-first Century

Series:

Suzanne S. Choo

This book won the 2014 AESA (American Educational Studies Association) Critics Choice Award.

The purpose of this book is restore the centrality of pedagogy in governing the ways literary texts are received, experienced, and interpreted by students in the classroom. Utilizing a method of pedagogical criticism, it provides an account of core approaches to teaching literature that have emerged across history and the conceptual values informing these approaches. More importantly, Reading the World discusses how these values have been shaped by broader global forces and key movements in the discipline of English Literature. To varying degrees, these approaches are aimed at cultivating a hospitable imagination so that students may more fully engage with multiple others in the world. Given the reality of an increasingly interconnected twenty-first century, literature pedagogy plays a vital role in schools by demonstrating how world, global, and cosmopolitan approaches to teaching literature can facilitate the prioritization of the other, challenge us to think about how we can be accountable to multiple others in the world, and push us to continually problematize the boundaries of our openness towards the other.

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Series Editor’s Foreword: A Riposte to Globalization

Extract

The concept of time-space compression remains curiously unexamined. In particular, it is a concept which often remains without much social content (Doreen Massey, 1993 p. 59). All our ventures and exploits, all our acts and dreams, are bridges designed to overcome . . . separation and reunite us with the world and our fellow beings (Octavio Paz, 1990, p. 11). In recent years, no term has more stirred up critical and mainstream social science scholarship than the insistent term “globalization.” The invocation of globalization has not rendered conceptual closure on the processes to which the term points: the heightened interconnectivity between and among individuals, groups and institutions that characterizes our late-modern world. It has, instead, provoked ceaseless formulation and reformulation. Thus there are those, for instance, who see globalization as linked to expanding economic and cultural transactions across national borders — the so-called flat world of Thomas Freidman (1999, 2005). There are those who use the term, pessimistically, theorizing globalization as an extension of imperialism in its latest phase and pointing to the neoliberal expansion of the West into the third world as somehow more efficiently capturing surplus value (Ritzer, 2010; Waters, 2010). On this view, neoliberal globalization is no more than a kind of McDonaldization of those countries struggling to break out of colonial pasts. There are yet those who seem completely taken by the technological scale of recent globalizing developments that have sparked what David Harvey and Anthony Giddens call time-space compression, which in turn has allowed for the revolution in financial...

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