I will begin with discussing the difference between essentialist and nonessensitalist schools of thought in the concept of culture. Unfortunately essentialist views still sit at the center of common perceptions of culture both in academy and in our everyday life. Basically essentialist views of culture says that people’s behaviors are essentially defined by and constrained by the culture in which they live…So the stereotypes we hear becomes the essence of who they are.We usually associate culture with a specific set of values and believes that define and sometimes constrain people’s ways of behaving , thinking, writing and speaking. However this view of culture does not really hold truth when we look at the hybridity and multiplicity of discourses, languages varieties and cultures we come across within a society. This view really comes from our nationalistic views which divides the countries into mutually exclusive national cultures. So, we get to hear people say “European culture, Black culture, Japanese culture” The problem with this view is that it does ignore the fact that people in the globalized world do not live in confined communities. So regardless of national boundaries, cultures change and flow. They are never static and unchanging.If you are not born in the U.S. like me and came here in your young adulthood, you will get this a lot. People will ask you “so, what culture do you come from?” You are from Turkey that must be why you are writing or speaking in this manner. No matter how long you live in one place, you will always be Turkish, Italian, Japanese” The problem with this view really is that it perceived people as almost agentless bodies who doesn’t have much choice over how they behave, Their behaviors will always be confined by where they originally come from. People really can belong to and move across multiplicity of cultures. So, you learn as time goes not to give a detailed response when someone jist asks you “ what’s up? How are you doing”—This one is especially important for language educators—we have to understand that students do not necessarily conform to the stereotypes of where they come from. If we meet a Middle Eastern women, we need to remember that she may not conform to the stereotypes that we often see in the media, which 1) she considers false and ignorant representation of who she is as a person 2) she may be quite different to what you are expecting her to be…
Political movement in reaction to modernism. Postmodern perspectives were born in early 21stcentur. —it rejects only one objective truthRealities are social consrtructs and therefore are subject to change. It emphasizes the role of language, power relations, repfresentation, difference and agency. And, it basically attacts binary dichotomizations such as native speaker—nonative speaker, male vs female, white vs black…it holds realities to be plural and multiple. Philosohers and weriters associated with this paradigm include Jacques Derrida, Samuel Kuhn, Michel Foucault. iN literature: samuelbackett, ernesthemingway, Franz Kafka
343 week 3
English 343-001 January, 30 2012
AgendaDiscussion Topics Reminders/Announcements Going over last week‟s readings Identity: Holliday et. al.: Being represented, Multi-facedness, artifacts of culture, identity cards, Narrative Inquiry Identity Narratives Group Project: Analyzing Identity Narratives Kumaravadivelu Chapter 2
Reminders/Announcements Class Blog: http://crossculturalissuestesol001.blogspot.com/Learning log contents (550 words minimum—2 pages, double space):1) Summary of the articles2) Your reflections, critique.3) Connection to your own teaching and learning experiences4) Further questionsRecommended: Bring a copy of your blog entry/critical response paper toclass each week. Sing up sheet and blog helps ( 3:30) Syllabus missing pages Due date change for the Language and culture trajectory assignment
Message from Kasia, the director of ELI. If interested,sign up at the end of the class! "The Conversation Partners program matches ELI students with community members who would be willing to meet and talk to an international student one hour per week. There is no expectation of teaching or following any curriculum during these meetings, and it is not a program to help American students practice their foreign language (though an exchange of an hour of English for an hour of an ELI students native language is possible if both parties agree to it). The sole purpose of the meetings is to give the ELI students an opportunity to practice their speaking skills by interacting with an English speaker. Once we match the students with their conversation partners, the two parties make the necessary arrangements and the schedule for meetings. We recommend that the partners meet in public places (e.g. the library, a coffee house, etc.). Only students who know that they can handle the commitment of a weekly one-hour meeting consistently throughout the semester should sign up for this experience."
Group Work (create your own chart based on Holliday et. al table and article on page 72- 75!)Essentialist view of culture Non-essentialist view of cultureCulture as a noun: It has a specific Culture as a verb: Societies displayentity. It‟s homogeneous. complex characteristics which are hard to pin down. Culture as “unbounded, kaleidoscopic and dynamic” (Heath & Street, 2008)People in one culture essentially Cultures flow as people intermingle.different from people in another Cultures have blurred boundariesPeople belonging exclusively to one People can belong to and move throughnational/linguistic/cultural group multiplicity of cultures within and across societies.For successful communication with Understanding the complexity of whosomeone foreign, we must first the person is. Moving beyond mediaunderstand the details and stereotype representations. Being open minded.of their culture.
Recent examinations of culturePost-modern/post structural: Culture is no neatly packagedentities. They are NOT exclusive bodies of customs, values andthoughts. They are NOT perfectly shared by all who subscribe tothem.Contact zone: The social spaces where cultures meet, clash, andgrapple with each other, often in highly asymmetrical relations ofpower, such as colonialism, slavery, or their aftermaths as theylived out in many parts of the world today”. (Pratt, 1991, p. 34)—bordercrossing/borderlands by Andaldua.Cultures as travelling (Clifford): Unrooted, permeable, ever-developing and changing.
Six principles of culture (Atkinson, 1999)1. All humans are individual2. Individuality is also cultural3. Social group membership and identity are multiple, contradictory, and dynamic.4. Social Group membership is consequential.5. Methods of studying cultural knowledge and behavior are unlikely to fit a positivist paradigm.6. Language (learning and teaching) and culture are mutually implicated, but culture is multiple and complex.Think about what these statements mean for you? What are theimplications for TESOL?
Discussion: Definitions of culture1) A culture is “a text the vocabulary and grammar of which its members learn” (Fay, 1996)2) “Culture is a verb” (Street, 1991)3) Culture is an “evolving connected activity, not a thing”. (Fay, 1996).4) Believing…that man is an animal suspended in webs of significance he himself has spun, I take culture to be those webs (Geertz, 1973)
Important terms and concepts HOLLIDAY ET AL.: KUMARAVADIVELU, 2006 CHPATER 2 Ethnic reductionism Habitus (Baumann) Cultural capital Cultural essentialism Otherization/cultural Nonessentialism otherization Liberal multiculturalism The principle of linguistic (Holliday, Kubota) relativity Small cultures and large cultures Whorfian hypothesis (strong vs weak version)
Pavlenkov & Holliday et al Identity, Narrative inquiry
Identity and language Languages are not only markers of identity but also sites of resistance, empowerment, solidarity, or discrimination. Giddens says our identities are reflexively organized information about possible ways of life (how to act and how to be). What a person is understood to be varies across cultures—do you agree with this? One‟s identity is not set and stone; it is not only in the behavior or people‟s reactions, but it‟s in the narrative you tell about yourself. It integrates events which occur in your world—It‟s an ongoing story about self. Do you see your identity as a matter of keeping “a particular narrative going” or would you use another metaphor? What metaphor would you use to describe your identity. Explain your metaphor.
Discussion questions on identity How is identity of one individual created? To what extend is any one individual‟s identity a matter of personality and to what extent do influences from the socio-cultural context impact? If identities do change, what factors are responsible for such change? What‟s the relationship between language and identity?
Holliday A.1.1 Deep seatedessentialism: Discussion on Parisa Summarize Parisa‟s example. What did you make out of the comments that Parisa received from her colleagues? What are some of the essentialist attributes behind Parisa‟s colleagues‟ behaviors? Give instances from the excerpt where Parisa was “othered” or “misrepresented” (be specific) How do you think Parisa‟s colleagues would act if they were holding a non-essentialist view of culture? (see pg. 11)Discussion: Think of a situation you have been in which islike the Perisa example and describe it in similar detail.
Important terms Multi-facetedness of people: the person being described has some stereotypical characteristics of his/her original culture (e.g. wearing head covering) but also has unique characteristics that are not stereotypical (such as being outgoing, creative, articulate). One should be sensitive to use a thick description rather than a superficial description. In this thick description look at the complexity of a particular situation from different examples. Thick-description (Clifford Geertz): Seeing and explaining the complexity of a social event by looking at it from different layers (see the figure on pg 9)A thick description of a human behavior or a social event explainsnot just the behavior, but its context so that the behavior becomesmeaningful to an outsider (see emic vs etic levels of culturalanalysis on page 241—dangers of contrasting selves)
A.1.2: Chinese teaches Cultural Resources: Aspects of culture which exists in our society which we can draw on at different times for different reasons. In different settings you draw upon different things. This depends on time, where you are at, and whom you are with.What was going on in the Chinese teachers exampleon page 12? How is Chinese society represented byZhang and Ming?
Cultural identity anddeconstruction of self What people say about their own cultural identity should be read as the image they wish to project at a particular time rather than as an evidence of an essentialist national culture (p. 13)Have you experienced a situation similar to the Chineseteachers? What are some of the differing ideologies wehold as teachers about our own pedagogical practices inthe U.S.? Is there a unified way of explaining ourexperience? What are the cultural resources you draw asyou form your ideologies about teaching ESL/EFL or anyother subject?
We are linked through a common experience, we have our icons, our ideologies and our communal history to draw on, and we encapsulate all of this in our discourses. Because all of us inhabit different cultural groups, we are in fact all unique in our cultural identities (p. 19)
Who is Aneta Pavlenko? Professor of TESOL at Temple University, NY. Winner of the 2009 TESOL Award for Distinguished Research and of the British Association Research Interests: Multilingualism, bilingualism, immigrant narratives, language and identity. Check out her website!
Krystal says… The article that we read for class was very interesting. It is about identity and more specifically about how autobiographies, “play a central role in the process of identity negotiation in writing” (Pavlenko 34). As stated in the article, an autobiography is an example of identity narratives. The focus on this article was about memoirs, specifically those that were written by first generation immigrants. As soon as I began reading I began to think how these narratives can help researchers and people in the present time get an idea as to what first generation immigrants‟ lives‟ were like. Everything from what they wore, ate, where they lived, and how they lived. I can relate to learning through narrative readings from the times that my grandma has shown me writings that my grandpa wrote when he first arrived in the United States. From these writing I could mentally construct an identity of how he was like at that time, how the community was like, and his feelings that surrounded the process of moving and leaving his family back home. Unlike the many memoirs noted in the article from various immigrants, my Grandfather‟s story is a little different.
Krystal‟s narrative… He came here in hops of finding a job so that he could provide for his family in Mexico. He came to the United States during the era in which they were letting immigrants from Mexico come here to work. Unlike the immigrants in the memoirs written, my grandfather did not go to school nor did he get into the publication/writing business. He first worked on a field and then made his way to working for a railroad company out in California. Like clockwork, my Grandfather would send money to my Grandmother in Mexico along with the hope that she, and their children, could join him in the Untied States. It was not long until that dream became a reality. Both my grandparents had to go through countless obstacles, such as the language barrier and ridicule for being an immigrant, among other things. However, they were able to provide for their family and have a comfortable way of living. Without proper higher-level education (i.e. college), my Grandparents were still able to live well, raise all ten of their children and help them assimilate into their new culture and ways of living. Yes, it would have been easier if my grandparents would have spoken English, would have known all of the socially acceptable norms of living, and if they would have received a college education. Nevertheless, they managed. Their hard work and perseverance paid of.
Fabiola says.. After reading Pavlenko‟s work this was one of the main sentences that stood out to me, “second language learning was transformed into a painful journey, involving a loss of primary identities linked to the mother tongue” (63). We live an America which is full of diversity and people with various backgrounds. Years ago people came to this country speaking a wide range of languages and even the indigenous people had their own language at that time. However, nowadays it is seen as a defivit and students learning English or any other language go through a very rough time because it is not looked at as accepting in the country. Learning a new language should not mean giving up who you are and losing your mother language. Instead, it should be an addition to your identity that is always changing and progressing. I associated the “painful journey” to the education systems that have many controversial issues with implementing adequate services for the language learners.
Laura says… Pavlenko states “In this perspective, identity is viewed as a dynamic and shifting nexus of multiple subject positions, or identity options, such as mother, accountant, homosexual or Latina (35).” Pavlenko and Holliday both share the idea that identity should be thought of as a non-essential view.This article also states that narrative identities are best shown in autobiographies, and the focus of the article is about memoirs written by first generation immigrants who came to the US as children or adults and discuss their story of assimilation. This seems to be a touchy subject for some people. I know for my family is it a very touchy subject. My grandma immigrated to the US from Italy when she was a child. My great-grandma sent her off to school with limited English proficiency. On the first day of school, my grandma was sent home early with a note that said she was not allowed back until she spoke full English. Horrified, my great-grandmother vowed that Italian was no longer allowed in the household. With this experience, my grandmother does not understand, nor value for that matter, school systems, or the government going out of their way to help immigrants. She believes because she did it and it was expected then, it should be expected now. Those are the types of mindsets that need to be broken. It is a completely different time era and we have a plethora of technological advances on our side to help educate. Not only do we need to educate those who are learning our language, we need to educate those who think poorly upon those that need the help.
Lance says… Overall, I found Pavlenko‟s article to be fascinating. I love the idea of using autobiographical material as the basis of her scholarship. There are many interesting themes brought out by this article that I could talk about, but the section where Pavlenko reveals how immigrants presented their experiences of learning English is what I most want to focus on in this response. Pavlenko stated, “When depicted at all, second language learning is portrayed as an enterprise which proceeds through a series of comic blunders to a happy conclusion” (Pavlenko 50). It seems strange that so little focus is put on learning English as, for most immigrants even today, learning the native language is a crucial part of adapting to everyday life. I would suppose that learning the „native‟ language of America would have been considered even more important a century ago, so I find the lack of emphasis to be quite curious. Additionally, picking up a language with the ease and speed described by the immigrant narratives would make any human being an outlier of the general populous irregardless of the time period.
Lance continues… The only difference is, as alluded to by Pavlenko, a difference in society. I think the difference is the rise of a non-essentialist view of culture. In contemporary academic and political discourse, language and the how and why people should or should not learn them is a controversial topic that is constantly discussed. The debate, as I see it, lies between the essentialist and non-essentialist, whether they call themselves by these terms or not, parties. The essentialists who are generally calling for assimilation of some sort and the non-essentialist who are claiming that the falsity of an „American‟ culture gives the essentialist no right to demand such a thing. At the time of the autobiographies in question, a non-essentialist view of culture would have been unheard of which would have made assimilation theories the norm. As a result, only the narratives that supported and showed success within this framework rose to popularity. I don‟t think this is because of any malicious intent on the part of the authors or even an attempt at propaganda, but rather that they (or anyone for that matter) had even thought of culture in anything other than a traditional essentialist way. It isn‟t that they agreed or disagreed with any certain theory on how to engage cultures, but that an engagement with culture different than how they had been conditioned would have been impossible at that point in history
Identity narratives Narratives constructed about the identity of the speaker and about the community of which she or he is a member. Imagined community: a community in which you imagine yourself (Anderson‟s, 1991). Feeling attachment to a group members of whom you have never met.
Pavlenko‟s study Analysis of 11 narrative of immigrant memoirs and autobiographies published between the years of 1901 and 1935. Methodology: A sociohistoric approach to study personal narratives” which sees autobiography as a literary and sociological form that creates particular images of subjects in particular historical moments” (genre that is shaped by the local contexts) Research questions: which identities are negotiated? What is the role of language? Does the portray of second language learning in 20th century differs from those in immigrant autobiographies?
The analysis of earlier narratives Inequality between immigrants. Some felt the need to establish and argue for their Americanness. English was seen as the key of assimilation, but the omission of “language” in the earlier narratives is intriguing. (see the examples) Stories of “happy linguistic assimilation”: Second language learning as a successful and easy process. No mention of linguistic discrimination.
The analysis of later narratives Linguistic hybridity Recognition of ethnicity, race and gender. Linguistic identities are negotiated in different ways according to the narrators sociohistorical realities. National identity became strongly bound to monolingalism in English. Present immigrants find themselves in a situation where learning English means giving up the first language. Accounts of painful experiences
Identity narrative analysis In your groups read the narratives from three different groups. What are some of the emerging themes do you see in these narratives? How do they negotiate their identities? How is second language and culture learning represented?1. Narrative excerpts from “The inner world of the immigrant child”2. Narrative excerpts from Eva Hoffman, Fen Shen, H.Kim
Narrative analysisAnalyzing language choices and content: Examine the audience the narrator chose to address and why? What are the implications of this linguistic choice for their narrative? Which events in their learning trajectory have become particularly signiﬁcant and which have likely been omitted as a result of this choice? Were the stories elicited in two languages or just one? Is it possible that proﬁciency or attrition have inﬂuenced the manner of the presentation or the amount of detail offered by the narrator? Did the language of the story correspond to the language in which the events in question took place? What are some of the emerging themes you see in these narratives? How do they negotiate their identities? How is second language and culture learning represented?REPORT YOUR FINDINGS TO THE WHOLE CLASS
Assignments Catch up with your learning logs as soon as you can. Next week: Readings, writing a learning logHappy reading! Happy blogging!