Questions whether current theories and pedagogies of alterity have allowed us truly to engage the Other.
Tracing the historical development of recent identity-based trends in literary theory to their roots in structuralism, Dorothy M. Figueira questions the extent to which theories and pedagogies of alterity have actually enabled us to engage the Other. She tracks academic attempts to deal with alterity from their inception in critical thought in the 1960s to the present. Focusing on multiculturalism and postcolonialism as professional and institutional practices, Figueira examines how such theories and pedagogies informed the academic and public discourse regarding September 11. She also investigates the theories and pedagogies of alterity as crucial elements in the bureaucratization of diversity within academe and discusses their impact on affirmative action.
Dorothy M. Figueira is Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Georgia. She is the author of several books, including Aryans, Jews, Brahmins: Theorizing Authority through Myths of Identity; The Exotic: A Decadent Quest; and Translating the Orient: The Reception of Sakuntala in Nineteenth-Century Europe, all published by SUNY Press.
"…a forceful polemic against some of the major intellectual strands within the 'theory' revolution of the last thirty years. " — Literary Research
"This book bespeaks an extraordinarily broad and penetrating understanding of contemporary literary theory in the usual sense, but far more importantly, it presents an extremely clear, lucid, and compelling analysis of its political implications for the classroom, the department, the university as an educational institution, and the body politic of the United States in general. It is not only a courageous investigation and critique of the political positions but also a ringing condemnation of the disingenuous and ultimately shallow and superficial appropriation of the mantle of multiculturalism, trans-culturalism, and similar specialties by monolingual members of academe whose experience outside of the received environment is at best secondhand and all too often condescending and patronizing. " — Steven P. Sondrup, Brigham Young University