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Cultural Engagement Essay

Cultural Engagement Essay

Cultural Engagement Essay

ENGL 2570

Due: Thurs. July 20th


One of the goals of literature survey courses at AUM is to increase student exposure to

works written by a range of authors.

In your discussion posts, I have encouraged you to consider the difference an individual author’s “politics of location” make to his or her experiences and perspective. Politics of location” refers to the ways we are defined socially — gender, race, class, sexuality, generation, where you are from, etc. Traditionally, most of the early American literature that we have read has been written by authors who are heterosexual, white, and male.

In the cultural engagement essay, you are being asked to thoughtfully engage with and reflect on the perspective of an author who has a different politics of location. Requirements + +500 word essay (minimum), double spaced, 12 pt.font +Intro paragraph that ends with a clearly stated thesis +Body paragraphs that contain evidence and analysis to support thesis +Conclusion paragraph

What I want you to do: In a 500-word essay, choose one literary work from our syllabus and analyze how that work challenges and is shaped by its historical and cultural contexts. 1) Pay specific attention to representations of diversity, including but not limited to race, gender, class, sexuality, disability, and/or ethnicity. 2)In addition, reflect on how this author’s perspective is different from or related to your own perspective, and what you have learned from the diversity of communities and cultures, i.e what you have learned from reading this author’s work. Why I want you to do it: One of the shared learning objectives of Literature Survey courses at AUM is: “By the end of this course, students will able to demonstrate an understanding of the ways literary works challenge and are shaped by their historical and cultural contexts, with specific attention paid to representations of diversity, including but not limited to race, gender, class, sexuality, disability, and/or ethnicity.” The cultural engagement essay allows us to assess how well we are meeting this learning objective. Additionally, empathy, self-reflection, and recognition of our shared humanity are among the most important values that studying literature can instill in us. In this essay, I’d like you to practice engaging in empathetic, self-reflexive thought. In other words, you are not only discussing what the author does that is distinctive, but also, how some aspect of this author’s work has impacted you.



How to do it: Begin by asking yourself what text stood out most to you. Was there a text you particularly related to because of your personal background? Or, was there a text that shocked you because of how little you knew about this particular experience? For example, Harriet Jacobs was the only formerly enslaved woman to write about what she experienced and observed while she was enslaved. In that scenario, you would discuss American cultural/historical context in which she lived and maybe analyze the particular pressures she faced as someone who had no legal right to her own body.