So all throughout my Senior Seminar lit class we've been discussing issues of defining literature, what literature should be discussed/taught, etc. Today we got around to the issue of multicultural literature and, again, how is it defined, how do you teach it, how does it fit into the traditional educational/academic structure.
Essentially the article we read and our ensuing discussion came down to Western Dead White Men lit was reified for its beauty, use of language and broad appeal while non-Western/Multicultural lit is seen as dealing with politics, social issues, race and gender. Mainstream lit is never talked about as political and multicultural lit is never talked about because it is inherently valuable literature. So the suggestion was made that all lit should be read "radically," especially when you get into tricky areas like queer lit and figuring out how that fits in.
So, little aca/fan me jumps in to say that the reason multicultural lit is a "problem" is because we're trying to shoehorn it into the traditional academic culture which, of course, began as the study of white male literature. But there is a huge group of people out there that are already radically reading and problematizing mainstream media entertainment and maybe instead of forcing exotic lit into our existing programs we should take a look at this largely non-academic fan culture and see how all of these people that aren't necessarily saddled by the language, jargon and prestige of academia are already radicalizing texts that were never "meant" to be read in such a way.
And then this bitchy woman who claims to be so open minded but gets huffy as soon as you suggest that maybe academia is too caught up in its "Ivory Tower" and needs to get off of its high horse for a little while claims that we can't really learn from non-academic people. And then backpeddles and says how do we convince Deans of Universities to listen to the proletariat.
And then I totally slammed her by asking how her statement was any different from how do we convince people (Deans included) that non-white literature should be significantly included in literature programs.
This woman has been getting on my nerves all semester. She's so incredibly pompous about being an English major that I really want to throttle her sometimes.
Okay, now that I've got that off my chest...back to work. Sigh.
Oh, and happy Halloween :-D