Can We Talk About How, Not Just What? Teaching Australian, Indigenous, and World Literatures in Complex Classrooms

Kuttainen, Victoria, Burke, Sarah, Croft, Jade, Destefani, Karla, Hough, Tracey, and Jeffcoat, Desiree (2024) Can We Talk About How, Not Just What? Teaching Australian, Indigenous, and World Literatures in Complex Classrooms. Journal of the Association for the Study of Australian Literature. (In Press)

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In his essay collection Of Color, Jaswinder Bolina observes:

The white masters, masters though they may be, are oblivious to those experiences of bigotry and exclusion that are condemnably common for the rest of us. In this essential matter, those writers of the literary canon are utterly ignorant, and so their reports on the human condition are gapingly incomplete. (302)

While the practice of teaching literature that challenges dominant worldviews may present students with expanded narratives of the human condition, the often-unacknowledged effects of colonialism in contemporary classrooms can make literary studies a conflict zone. Diana Brydon acknowledges this in her essay, “Cross-Talk, Postcolonial Pedagogy, and Transnational Literacy.” Yet, apart from Brydon, only a handful of scholars, including Ingrid Johnston, Jyoti Mangat, and Cynthia Sugars in Canada, or Sandra Phillips and Clare Archer-Lean in Australia, have raised the issue of how difficult texts might be unpacked in complex classrooms. In general, most literary studies academics continue to focus their scholarship on the world of the text, instead of the dynamics of the text in the world. Given the growing interest in and teaching of Indigenous lives and texts, as well as a resurgence of interest in the legacies of colonialism raised by movements like Black Lives Matter, Free Palestine, and the Australian referendum on the Voice to Parliament, there is more to unpack in the classroom encounter.

Item ID: 82275
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1833-6027
Copyright Information: JASAL provides open access to all of its content on the principle that making research freely available to the public supports a greater global exchange of knowledge. Such access is associated with increased readership and citation levels. JASAL uses open source software, developed by the Public Knowledge Project <> to help make open access economically viable, and to improve the scholarly and public quality of research. Articles are made available under an Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) license.
Date Deposited: 22 Feb 2024 03:52
FoR Codes: 47 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 4705 Literary studies > 470507 Comparative and transnational literature @ 40%
45 INDIGENOUS STUDIES > 4501 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, language and history > 450109 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander literature, journalism and professional writing @ 30%
39 EDUCATION > 3903 Education systems > 390303 Higher education @ 30%
SEO Codes: 13 CULTURE AND SOCIETY > 1302 Communication > 130201 Communication across languages and culture @ 50%
16 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 1601 Learner and learning > 160102 Higher education @ 50%
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