Tag Archives: cosmopolitanism

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on Dangers of the Single Story and Teju Cole’s Small Fates Series

“Show a people as one thing, as only one thing, over and over again, and that is what they become.”

“It is impossible to talk about the single story without talking about power.”

“All of these stories make me who I am, but to insist on only these negative stories is to flatten my experience and to overlook the many other stories that formed me.”

“Stories matter. Many stories matter.”

(Again, I have nothing to add. She’s said it all. And said it beautifully. I happened to watch this while working on my syllabus for the Literature and the Adolescent Experience course next semester. It was perfect timing for me. I hope it is perfect timing for you, too.)

Edit: I do have something to add…

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A New Ethic for Digital Composition: Cosmopolitanism

Do youth need thoughtful, guided practice composing for potentially global audiences?

Recently, a friend on Facebook posted a question asking what age it is appropriate for a child to have an email account. About 29  comments later, it had became apparent that in the 3rd and 4th grades in this school district, teachers were setting up email accounts with students. Many of these comments were ones of frustration over the lack of parental notification and participation in this activity, but one in particular stood out for me. One person asked: “What possible reasons could there be for a 4th grade child to have an email account?” I don’t typically engage in Facebook conversations, especially emotionally-charged ones, but I felt that I could contribute a few “possible reasons why” youth should be participating in digital communication in thoughtful, guided ways.

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Even with the digital divide present and growing, the nature of composition has changed in the digital and networked age in such a way that the capability to be producers and critical consumers of knowledge is now more widely available. Take social media outlets: More people of all ages, nationalities, genders, and socio-economic positions produce news, comment on social issues, and even stage revolutions. These possibilities disrupt our existing societal power dynamics, and in turn, necessitate a new ethic of exchange with distant, unknown, imagined others. Critical reader-writers must take into consideration not just the interpretations they have intended as authors, but also the possible interpretations of audiences previously unimagined and out of reach.

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