Reading Cultures: The Construction of Readers in the Twentieth Century

By Molly Abel Travis | Go to book overview

CHAPTER FIVE
Cultural Production and the Teaching of Reading

■With pluralism irreversible, a world-scale consensus on world-views and values unlikely, and all extant Weltanschauungen firmly grounded in their respective cultural conditions (more correctly: their respective autonomous institutionalizations of power), communication across traditions becomes the major problem of our time.... The problem, therefore, calls urgently for specialists in translation between cultural traditions. -- Zygmunt Bauman, Legislators and Interpreters

I end this study with what Gerald Graff calls "the pedagogical turn" evident in recent literary theory and criticism (65). This turn has occurred for various reasons: the influence of reader and reception theories, which analyze students as readers; the increasing importance of cultural studies, which view schools and universities as important sites of cultural transmission; and the proliferation of political-ideological arguments about canon revision and multicultural education. MY construction of a reading culture in the university classroom applies observations from the previous chapters. To make a case for a new pedagogy, I want to reconsider multiculturalism and computer-mediated communication, in this case taken together in what might seem at first glance to be an incongruous coupling. But this coupling is already operative in the emerging transnational culture marked by the tension between cultural homogenization (achieved through global commodification, mass media, and informatics, for example) and cultural hetero-

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