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Speaking in Tongues and Dancing DiasporaBlack Women Writing and Performing$
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Mae G. Henderson

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780195116595

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195116595.001.0001

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What It Means to Teach the Other When the Other Is the Self

What It Means to Teach the Other When the Other Is the Self

Chapter:
(p.138) 9 What It Means to Teach the Other When the Other Is the Self
Source:
Speaking in Tongues and Dancing Diaspora
Author(s):

Mae G. Henderson

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195116595.003.0010

This chapter focuses on the responsibility of the teacher/ scholar who would read and represent the “Other” without re-inscribing a tradition of cultural dominance and appropriation. Addressing the pedagogical problematics of invoking black women’s writing and experiences historically and materially to ground the studies of blacks and women in the academy, it asks how does the conscientious teacher-critic avoid the twin pitfalls of fetishization and commodification? Moving beyond the issues of cross-racial and cross-gender appropriation, the chapter addresses the dangers of appropriation when the teaching/writing subject shares a gender- and race-specific identification with the subject taught/ written, posing the query, “What does it mean to teach [and write] the Other when the Other is the Self?” In response, it suggests that the teacher-critic can work against the risk of totalizing or essentializing the subject by embracing a dialogic of speaking and listening and (re)presenting the self as embodied text.

Keywords:   Mae G. Henderson, appropriation, fetishization, commodification, totalizing, essentializing, pedagogy, Other, embodied text, dialogic of speaking and listening, black women’s studies

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