The Role of Literature and Culture in the Classroom. (Editorial)

By Chism, Rebecca L. | Academic Exchange Quarterly, Winter 2002 | Go to article overview

The Role of Literature and Culture in the Classroom. (Editorial)


Chism, Rebecca L., Academic Exchange Quarterly


The role of literature and culture in the classroom is undergoing a dramatic evolution in light of the developments of the twenty-first century. The changes brought about by the global economy and the precipitous growth of technology have transformed the role of literature and culture for today's world. Literature is no longer seen as an isolated discipline worthy of the humanists alone; culture is no longer seen as an all-inclusive phenomenon. As a result, educators and scholars alike must reevaluate the ways we think of literature and culture. These include, but are not limited to, the ways they are taught, their influence on other disciplines, their holistic appeal, their broadening scope, and their overall imprint on how we view ourselves and others.

Literature and culture are not exclusive to each other, but rather an integrated portal to the mores of societies past and present. For example, one of this issue's featured articles, "Henry V, the Gulf War, and Cultural Materialism," uses literature as an insight to modern events and brings the lessons of history into the modern age.

One can argue that literature is often the conveyer of culture, in terms of content, politics, pedagogy, perspective, recount, and language. Simply by reading or translating literature, one inevitably learns about culture. However, the role of literature in the communicative foreign and second language classroom has been questioned in recent years in light of an increased emphasis on listening and speaking skills. …

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