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Why do we teach world literature?

Posted on October 06, 2015

In The Toast, Noah Cho argues for the importance of diverse literature from his experience as a student and teacher in high school English classes. Keeping in mind “students of color, LGBT+ students, and students at other intersections…” he writes, “I do not want students to think they can’t be writers or engaged in literature simply because they don’t see themselves being portrayed in their coursework. “Why I Teach Diverse Literature”   

Elsewhere, Caroline Levine, an English professor at University of Wisconsin-Madison, jumps into the debate around the value of world literature in her review of three recent books, concluding:

I’d like to expand my own tastes, and my students’, through encounters with surprising, perplexing, and remarkable works. Since only 3% of books sold in the US are translations from foreign languages, we are hardly a culture drowning in other worlds. Wouldn’t it be better, politically, if we began to hunger for cultural multiplicity?

For World Literature” on Public Books. 

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