How is orality embedded in writing? And how does this relate to research on education?

Date: 

Mon, 11/11/2019 - 10:30 to 12:30

Location: 

Mandel Building, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Mount Scopus

How is orality embedded in writing? And how does this relate to research on education? These questions were at the core of this colloquium, given on 11 November 2019 at the Martin Buber Society of Fellows. The first part of the talk focused on the realist novel, specifically its history and theorization within postcolonial context. Based on this introduction, I engaged in sustained close readings from two historical novels – Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart and Chimamanda Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun – to show how narrative embedding acts as a performance of storytelling. I then contextualized these readings against the great divide theory of orality/literacy, which considers the move from oral cultures to written cultural as a progressive (r)evolution, suggesting that embedded narratives also offer new ways of considering literature and education. To conclude, I offer four options that move beyond the common narratives of the links between fiction and education. These are: viewing orality and literacy as complementary, interdependent skills; considering the ways in which new media, for its pros and cons, is changing reading/learning practices, specifically against the idea that orality is a skill; the necessity of two languages co-existing (translation / codeswitching); and a focus on form/pedagogy, not only content.

  • irene_akurut_photo

Lecturer: 

Dr. Ruth S. Wenske