A Long Way Gone: Teaching “Third-World” Texts in a “First-World” Classroom

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How does a white woman in what Gustavo Esteva and Madhu Suri Prakash (1998) call the “One-Third World” teach “One-Third World” students about people suffering the consequences of imperialism in “Two-Thirds World” in ways that intervene in imperialism rather than reinforcing and perpetuating it? In this workshop I will discuss my strategies for teaching Ishmael Beah’s A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier, to a group of fifteen elite, privileged, first-year liberal arts college students in the Midwestern United States. By examining my tactics and assessing the successes or failures of them, I hope to elicit feedback from workshop participants as well as explore the ways in which they have coped with the problem of dismantling the stereotypes that distort understanding between post-colonial cultures.


Keywords: Imperialism, Post-Colonialism, Memoir, Boy Soldier, White Privilege, Pedagogy
Stream: Equity, Social Justice and Social Change; Community, Culture, Globalisation
Presentation Type: 60 minute Workshop Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Dr. Karen Taylor

Associate Professor, History, College of Wooster
Wooster, Ohio, USA

Karen J. Taylor, a PhD (1988) from Duke University in Durham, NC, U.S.A, has been teaching and writing about the ways in which race, class, gender, time, and geographical place shape behavior and identity for the past 21 years. Her most recent publication is ”Reconstructing Men in Savannah, Georgia, 1865-1875,” in Southern Masculinity: Manhood in the New South, ed. Craig T. Friend (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2008).

Ref: L09P0135