Critical Thinking

Reading: “Multicultural Hybridity” by Laurie Grobman

After reading two novels in a row – A Company of Liars by Karen Maitland and Grendel by John Gardner – I am now reading  Multicultural Hybridity: Transforming American Literary Scholarship & Pedgagogy, which was published by NCTE Books in 2007. I didn’t really want to read another novel right now, since a few stacks of papers are coming in this week and next, and I stumbled on a stack of NCTE books that I bought a few years ago but never read . . . So far, I have read the introduction and first chapter.

Right now, Grobman is laying the foundations for her real argument. Her discussions of a “politics of difference” of the liberal multiculturalists versus a “politics of equality” of the critical multiculturalists seem to me to pit the liberal against the radical, with her solution being a mice mix of both sides that sums up to a better way . . . “hybridity.”

The strong suit of the book so far is Grobman’s willingness to acknowledge both sides of the argument before she takes sides. Strangely, her side is . . . both sides, in order to attempt to keep what is strong in each while leaving behind what are weaknesses. This “hybridity” is the attempt to keep the liberal multiculturalist stance that we do have common experiences, while losing their leaning toward “multicultural” meaning assimilationist. Her logic then loses the critical multiculturalist idea that there is no or almost no common experience on which to base cultural understanding while keeping their focus on equality in respect among all cultures, rather than maintaining one dominant one.

More on subsequent chapters as I finish them . . .

[continued in Reading: “Multicultural Hybridity,” Part Two]

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