Teaching Human Rights in Literary and Cultural Studies

Teaching Human Rights in Literary and Cultural Studies

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Since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, the discourse of human rights has expanded to include not just civil and political rights but economic, social, cultural, and, most recently, collective rights. Given their broad scope, human rights issues are useful touchstones in the humanities classroom and benefit from an interdisciplinary and cross-cultural pedagogy in which objects of study are situated in historical, legal, philosophical, literary, and rhetorical contexts. Teaching Human Rights in Literary and Cultural Studies is a sourcebook of inventive approaches and best practices for teachers looking to make human rights the focus of their undergraduate and graduate courses.

Contributors first explore what it means to be human and conceptual issues such as law and the state. Next, they approach human rights and related social-justice issues from the perspectives of particular geographic regions and historical eras, through the lens of genre, and in relation to specific rights violations—for example, storytelling and testimonio in Latin America or poetry created in the aftermath of the Armenian genocide. Essays then describe efforts to cultivate students' capacity for ethical reading practices and to deepen their understanding of the stakes and artistic dimensions of human rights representations, drawing on active learning and experimental class contexts. The final section, on resources, directs readers to further readings in history, criticism, theory, and literary and visual studies and provides a chronology of human rights legal documents.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781603292177
Publisher: Modern Language Association of America
Publication date: 11/01/2015
Series: Options for Teaching , #38
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 376
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

Alexandra Schultheis Moore is associate professor of English at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. She is the author of Regenerative Fiction: Postcolonialism, Psychoanalysis, and the Nation as Family and editor, with Elizabeth Swanson Goldberg, of Theoretical Perspectives on Human Rights and Literature and, with Goldberg and Greg Mullins, of a special issue of College Literature on human rights and cultural forms.

Elizabeth Swanson Goldberg is professor of English at Babson College. Author of Beyond Terror: Gender, Narrative, Human Rights, she edited Theoretical Perspectives on Human Rights and Literature with Alexandra Schultheis Moore and a special issue of Peace Review on the film and literature of human rights. Her many articles on human rights, gender studies, and literature can be found in edited volumes and in journals such as Callaloo, Humanity, and South Atlantic Review.

Table of Contents

Foreword Marjorie Agosin xi

Introduction: Charting New Courses: Teaching Human Rights in Literary and Cultural Studies Alexandra Schultheis Moore Elizabeth Swanson Goldberg 1

Part I Issues and Definitions

Introduction 13

Losses of Human Rights in the Literature Classroom Greg A. Mullins 15

Human Rights and the Tautology of Human Being Crystal Parikh Nicholas Matlin 27

Teaching the Legal Imperialism Debate over Human Rights Elizabeth S. Anker 39

Human Rights Cultures and Traditions: Beyond the Post-/Colonial and the West Alexandra Schultheis Moore Elizabeth Swanson Goldberg 53

Part II Historical and Geographic Orientations

Introduction 67

On the History of Human Rights before 1948 Sarah Winter 70

Mapping African American Literature and Human Rights Ira Dworkin 86

Representing China and Asia: Translating Outside in the Rights Machine Manav Ratti 96

Between Official Stories and Coerced Confessions: Testimonio and Storytelling in Latin America Sophia A. McClennen 108

Revisiting The Visitor: Rhetoric, Ethics, and Feminist Models of Interpretation Eve Wiederhold 123

Part III Bearing Wrongs, Reading Rights, Engendering Responsibility

Introduction 139

Linking Economic Justice and Women's Human Rights: Feminist Approaches for the Human Rights Literature Classroom Heather Hewett 143

Engaging the Literature and Film of Female Genital Mutilation in the Undergraduate Classroom Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez 157

Sexual Orientation and Human Rights: Walking with Shadows in Nigeria Neville Hoad 168

On Teaching the Close Reading of Torture Literature: An Approximation Karen Elizabeth Bishop 178

Cultivating the Translocal Citizen Witness: Contemporary Human Rights Poetry as "Remembrance/Pedagogy" Brenda Carr Vellino 189

Reconstituting Community, Identity, and Belonging: Classroom Encounters with Postconflict Texts Susan Spearey 200

Part IV Classroom Contexts

Introduction 215

Empirical Ethics, Theoretical Mechanics: Toward a Prosaics of Teaching Human Rights Literature Kimberly A. Nance 218

Locating Difference: Addressing Student Expectations in the Human Rights and Literature Classroom Alexander Hartwiger 227

Rhetorical Approaches to Teaching Human Rights: The Pedagogy of Speak Truth to Power Belinda Walzer 236

Cultivating the Dialogic Subject of Human Rights Pedagogy Ryan Omizo Wendy S. Hesford 247

Teaching Human Rights in the Composition Classroom: Engaging Students through Common Curricula Erik Juergensmeyer Bridget Irish 263

Reading Culture and Writing Rights Lisa Eck Ben Alberti 273

Experiencing Form: Service Learning in the Literature of Human Rights Classroom Marike Janzen 284

The Rickety Bridge: Prisoners and Human Rights in the Literature Classroom Megan Sweeney 294

Part V Resources

Resources Alexandra Schultheis Moore Belinda Walzer 307

Afterword: Human Rights Formalism James Dawes 321

Notes on Contributors 327

Works Cited 333

Index 357

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