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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Literary study for critical global citizenship education Karsgaard, Carrie Anne


This thesis examines the role of literary studies in critical global citizenship education (GCE) within a Canadian high school context. Grounded in recent educational literature, which argues for more critical approaches of GCE (Andreotti 2006; Andreotti et al. 2010; Marshall 2009; Pashby 2011; Pike 2008; Richardson 2008; Schultz 2007; Tallon 2012; Taylor 2011), I will explore how to implement critical GCE within the concrete lessons and practices of English literature classrooms. Drawing primarily on Stone-Mediatore’s literary theory of reading for enlarged thought, I will propose a new framework of reading for critical global citizenship through critical and reflexive engagement with marginalized narratives. A critique of curriculum materials for Craig Kielburger’s Free the Children and Robin Wiszowaty’s My Maasai Life, developed by Me to We and Free the Children, reveals how Western-oriented texts and safe, traditional reading practices contribute to a form of global citizenship that perpetuates Western hegemony and limits expressions of citizenship to benevolent actions. By contrast, by helping students engage critically and reflexively with marginalized experience narratives, educators may guide their students through a difficult and cyclical process, introduced by Andreotti and de Souza’s Through Other Eyes project (2008), of learning to unlearn, learning to listen, learning to learn, and learning to reach out. Through this process, students may begin to recognize their situatedness within mainstream frameworks that limit their abilities to consider alternative possibilities and futures. To demonstrate possibilities for implementing this fourfold reading process in the classroom, I will provide example reading activities for Chris Abani's novel, Song for Night, David Alexander Robertson and Madison Blackstone’s graphic novel, The Life of Helen Betty Osborne, and the documentary film, Dear Mandela.

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