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Encountering Texts

The Multicultural Theatre Project and «Minority» Literature


Joi Carr

Encountering Texts represents the theory and praxis uncovered through an ongoing interdisciplinary arts-based critical pedagogy that engages students in critical self-reflection (disciplined, sustained thinking, requiring engagement) on difference. The Multicultural Theatre Project (MTP) is a dialogical encounter with literature through the dramatic arts. This book provides a blueprint for the multiple ways in which this enacted theory/method can be utilized as a high impact practice toward transformative learning. The significance of minority literature as fertile testing ground for raising and seeking to answer questions about difference is undisputed. To address this dynamic, this research utilizes Hans-Georg Gadamer’s hermeneutical method of understanding to engage students in the interpretive process using theatre as methodology. Gadamer’s concept, described as a fusion of horizons, provides a methodological approach by which students can bring their own «effective history» to the hermeneutical task. He argues that hidden prejudices keep the interpreter from hearing the text. Thus an awareness of these prejudices leads to an openness that allows the text to speak. The MTP facilitates this kind of subjectivity by engaging the interpreter holistically. This integrative work provides a promising pragmatic interdisciplinary approach to teaching and learning that creates bridges to liberatory knowledge, both cognitively and affectively.
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Special Thanks to—

The James Irvine Foundation.

Pepperdine University, Seaver College: Seaver Diversity Council (Irvine CDI Committee and Assessment Team), Student Affairs, Humanities and Teacher Education Division, Fine Arts Division, Warehouse Services, and The Center for the Arts.

Pepperdine University faculty/staff/administration for their critical project support: Dr. Raymond Carr, Dr. Constance Fulmer, Dr. David Baird, Marnie Mitze, Dr. Tabatha Jones Jolivet, Dr. Mark Davis, Dr. Cathy Thomas-Grant, Dr. Michael Gose, and Jody Semerau.

MTP Special Guests for your incredible artistry (gifts), generosity, and kindness: Amel Larrieux, Laru Larrieux, Keith David, Jason George, L. Scott Caldwell, Obba Babatundé, Wren T. Brown, April Grace, Lisa Vidal, Sean Patrick Thomas, Gwendoline Yeo, Assaf Cohen, Michael Boatman, Jayne Kennedy Overton, and all the other external friends and guests over the years.

MTP Student Coordinators for their invaluable energy and focus: LeRonda Smith Lockhart, Katrina Scott Foster, Timothy Foster, Angelyn Brij, Angela Muiruri, Shalonda Martin, Carla Romero, Glenn Fenderson, Darcy Hickey, Ashlea Owens, Marialorena Suarez, Miriam Rezene, Maia Rodriguez, Victoria ← XI | XII → Russell, Kaitlyn Ryan, Sara Kimura, Kendra Copeland, Carol Alban, Jessica Kerner, Blake Walker, Mary Gwen Scott, Daisy Yeh, and all the student tech crews over the years.

Academic Scholar/Mentors: Dr. Wendy Martin, Dr. Katherine Kinney, Dr. Alexandra Juhasz, and Dr. Constance Fulmer.

MTP student cast members and classroom participants for contributing their representative reflective thought and works.

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