Literature and International Relations

By Racioppi, Linda; Tremonte, Colleen | Academic Exchange Quarterly, Fall 2003 | Go to article overview

Literature and International Relations


Racioppi, Linda, Tremonte, Colleen, Academic Exchange Quarterly


Abstract

As many scholars of literature and international relations have suggested, literature, religion, art, music and other forms of cultural representation have been central to colonialism and imperialism, war and conflict, national liberation, and globalization. But international relations courses, as reflected in curricula, syllabi and textbooks, have been slow to incorporate the study of literature and literary representation. We designed a course on literature, culture, and postcolonial politics to fill a gap in our institution's public affairs curriculum. In this article, we describe how we constructed the course and we articulate some of the questions that emerged concerning pedagogical content knowledge in an interdisciplinary context.

**********

As Julie Thompson Klein demonstrates in her important work, Interdisciplinarity: History, Theory, and Practice, the concept of interdisciplinarity enjoys a long if complicated history, with some scholars tracing the concept back to the philosophies of Plato and Aristotle and others locating it in the ideas of twentieth-century "educational reforms, applied research, and movement across disciplinary boundaries" (1990: 19). Yet no matter where we locate the 'source' of interdisciplinarity, the reconceiving of knowledge bases and epistemologies in the mid- to late-twentieth century heightened our awareness of the appropriateness, if not necessity, of such inquiry. In particular, the recognition of the over-rigidity of disciplinary boundaries and the limitations of approaching problems from a single, disciplinary frame resulted in the emergence of a number of new or newly reconfigured fields or areas of study. [1] Not surprisingly, systematic attention to this 'inter' -approach to study has been qualified, with certain disciplines being much more open to integrating select perspectives than others. International relations is one field that has long embraced political science, history, and economics as crucial disciplinary perspectives to bring to bear on its examinations and study. And the field has increasingly acknowledged the central role of culture to the formation and re-formation of international politics and power relations. [2] As the works of writers as diverse as Edward Said (1978, 1993), Arjun Appadurai (1996), and Samuel Huntington (1993) have suggested, culture and cultural representation (literature, religion, art, music, etc.) have been central to colonialism and imperialism, war and conflict, and globalization. Nonetheless, international relations courses, as reflected in curricula, syllabi and textbooks, have been slow to incorporate the study of cultural factors such as literature and literary representation. [3]

Instructors who seek to incorporate literature into the international relations curriculum must resolve the dilemma, common to all interdisciplinary endeavors, of generating new knowledge and pedagogical approaches. As Klein puts it, the challenge is how to move beyond "transmitting fields of knowledge and linking existing disciplinary categories" to an "integrative transmutation that emphasize[s] the individual's learning process and the development of new conceptual approaches, new pedagogy...." (1990: 27). Our experience in constructing and teaching a course that combines literature and international politics demonstrates the difficulty and promise of developing such a new conceptual approach. In this article, we discuss the context and content of the course, and we try to articulate some of the challenges in developing a body of teaching knowledge specifically relevant to this interdisciplinary endeavor.

Context

Several years ago we confronted these issues as we designed an upper-division course to demonstrate the connections between the study of literature and culture to the study of international politics. The institutional setting, James Madison College, is a residential college within Michigan State University. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Literature and International Relations
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.