Contact literature as multilingual and multicultural texts delineate their authors’ homeland through linguistic and cultural references, often perceived as the main challenge of assigning world literature texts to mainstream monolingual college students in the United States. In this paper, I argue that introducing the language in literature approach to students transforms the linguistic and cultural challenges of the text into tools of analysis to better interpret bilingual authors’ distinct use of the English language to depict foreign contexts. The language in literature approach suggested in this paper seeks to expand the multicultural requirement of the curriculum beyond the confines of second language acquisition programs and culturally sensitive pedagogies to allow monolingual mainstream college students to acquire the trans-lingual and transcultural skills highly recommended in the 2007 MLA report. In her article published early January of 2017 in Inside Higher ED, Elizaebth Redden notes that 10 years after the MLA report calling for a more interdisciplinary transformation in the study of language and literature, the “two tiered” system is still the status quo. In this paper, I offer a more detailed overview of the language in literature approach to teaching contact literature to monolingual mainstream college students, as well as offer some recommendations for ways of applying that methodology in the classroom. The significance of that approach stems from its promising result of lessening the divide between language and literature courses.
Multilingual, Language, Trans-lingual,
Communications and Linguistic Studies
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session
Dina Hassan is a lecturer at the department of Modern Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics at the University of Oklahoma. She obtained her PhD from Texas Tech University and has previously served as a Fulbright scholar at Boston University. Dina's research interests lie at the intersection of linguistics, culture, literature, and second language acquisition. She has worked as a college instructor for over 10 years and has taught various courses including ESL, Arabic, Technical communication, Linguistics and literature.