The Graywolf Annual Five: Multi-Cultural Literacy

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Rick Simonson, Scott Walker
Graywolf Press, Nov 1, 1988 - Education - 224 pages
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The issue of cultural literacy has been the subject of intense debate in the past two years. Several bestselling books about the deficiencies of our educational system as well as changes in basic curriculum at more than one major university have contributed to the fervor of this debate.

Fueling the national controversy is the question of what body of knowledge constitutes cultural literacy. While many argue for a return to a "back to basics" curriculum, equally energetic voices call for a revised curriculum, one which embraces both traditional western classics and the classics of non-European cultures, among them African, Asian, and Latin American.

This volume brings together thirteen essays which suggest the range of knowledge truly literate individuals need to possess. Essays by such writers as James Baldwin, Carlos Fuentes, Michelle Cliff, Paula Gunn Allen, Ishmael Reed, and Wendell Berry enlarge our perspective to include a variety of voices and heritages which contribute to the vibrant culture of the United States.

Also included is a beginning list of names, places, dates, and concepts which are part and parcel of a multi-cultural fabric.

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A absolute must read for people in our society who would like to open their minds and expand their knowledge in literature from a multicultural perspective. These authors offer personal insight from experience and provide a deeper analysis of the Issues that plagued American society in their day. These men and women grappled with issues of gender, race, or other inequalities at every strata of society back when the nation's educational, geopolitical, and cultural levels where much different than they are now. Or are they?
It is astounding to read something from James Baldwins essay today in March 2015 and feel as though he was addressing our very day and age; because the issues are still present today. Although I picked up a copy of this book while living in Guam back in 2005 I find it amazing that as our present day society is bombarded with the issues of inequaliy or injustice these men and women were providing ample writings to not only address the issues but help clarify them so Americans could strive for a better understanding of the multiculture aspect.


Paula Gunn Allen
Gloria Anzaldua

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