Exploring Cultural Identity Through Literature

Exploring Cultural Identity Through Literature

This issue of WOW Stories: Connections from the Classroom shares four vignettes from classrooms where teachers and students explore identities by connecting with global and multicultural literature. While the students in question range from preschoolers to graduate students, each student is able to extend their understandings of their own cultures and the cultures of others through their experiences with quality literature.

In the first vignette, Angie Zapata shares how she helped a Korean American bilingual preschooler connect with literature related to her cultural background. Next, Maria Perpetua Liwanag, Koomi Kim and Peter Duckett describe how elementary students used multicultural literature to explore their own names and identities. In the third vignette, Laura Kanost shares how bilingual first graders interacted with Latino literature in ways that enacted their identities as Mexican Americans, Americans, and Texans. Finally, I describe my use of identity intersections as a learning engagement to help undergraduate and graduate students explore their own cultural identities and the cultural identities of book characters.

As you read this issue, think about how you connect students of all ages with literature in ways that promote intercultural understandings. Consider sharing your innovative practices by submitting a vignette to WOW Stories. We are interested in descriptions of interactions with literature in classrooms and libraries at preschool through graduate levels. See our call for manuscripts and author guidelines for more information.

Janine M. Schall

Editor, WOW Stories: Connections from the Classroom

3 thoughts on “Exploring Cultural Identity Through Literature

  1. Rachelle Head says:

    I am looking at how scholars have used fiction literature to help illustrate organizational culture.

    For example Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland” as a means to begin to comprehend and unravel many of the crazy-making phenomenon in organizations.

    This new interpretation of a work of literature then allow us to explore the idea using this common framework. (McCabe, 2016). ‘Curiouser and curiouser!’ Organization as Culture Performance. Communication Monographs 50, 126-147. doi:10.1177/0018726715618453

    Are you aware of any other instances which scholars have used “fiction to analyze empirical material”?

    My search continues and I welcome any knowledge you may have of such instances where art/ creative writing has complimented an unintended subject such as this.

    Thank you.

    • sveva says:

      Dear Rachelle,
      I am really interested in your work, since my researches include literature, intercultural communication and corporates…
      I would like to know something more about your works…and maybe we can share some ideas…
      Looking forward to hearing from you,

  2. I am homeschooling my twin 12-year-olds this year due to the pandemic, and I want to make sure that they are learning about other cultures and ideas. it is good to know that literature is a great way for them to understand unfamiliar cultural settings by getting to know the characters. Plus, reading fiction is something my kids love to do, so that will get them excited about studying different cultures.

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