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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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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Carr, Joi. Encountering texts: the Multicultural Theatre Project and “minority” literature / Joi Carr. pages cm — (Critical praxis and curriculum guides; 4) Includes bibliographical references and index. 1. Multicultural Theater Project. 2. Theater—Study and teaching (Higher)—United States. 3. Critical pedagogy—Philosophy. 4. Minorities in the performing arts. 5. Drama in education. I. Title. PN2078.U6.C35 792.071—dc23 2015016345 ISBN 978-1-4331-2436-5 (hardcover) ISBN 978-1-4331-2435-8 (paperback) ISBN 978-1-4539-1639-1 (e-book) ISSN 2166-1367 (print) ISSN 2169-5687 (online)

Bibliographic information published by Die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek. Die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek lists this publication in the “Deutsche Nationalbibliografie”; detailed bibliographic data are available on the Internet at

Cover photo by Ron Hall, The Jazz Age cast in silhouette (at close of a scene), Spring 2010; Author Photo by Tiffany Kyees

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