Teaching Global Perspective Session (11/16)

Vaneeta Palecanda presented on Post-Colonial literature and film theory. Using three films, Nowhere in Africa, Beat the Drum, and The Wooden Camera in combination with Nadine Gordimer’s novel, July’s People, Palecanda approaches teaching from a global perspective by providing her students with materials, questions, and subject matter. By drawing attention to the human condition and/of displacement, the texts are used to further analyze the “Self and Other” discussion within the framework of colonial tensions in Africa. Palecanda uses Nowhere in Africa and July’s People to initiate conversations between white character experiences of being displaced and the lack or deep affinity and understanding for the black Africans who have also been displaced by colonization (and Apartheid). Next in the process, the first three minutes of The Wooden Camera and Beat the Drum are shown to the students. Questions about the African native/ the “Other” and colonial tensions are presented differently in these films— intimately and voyeuristically. A question in teaching comes up in asking, how does one incorporate understanding to reflect the Self, not the Other? To answer this question, the global perspective is brought into the conversation. In this conversation, the social, political, and economical transformations and conditions that people live in can be seen and applied to the literature and films. It is also important in teaching to avoid/reduce universalisms and to recognize that what happens to the individual also happens to nations. This brings the focus back to the incorporation of an understanding to reflect the Self, and not the Other.

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