Cosmopolitan pedagogy: reading postcolonial literature in an age of globalization

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Alexander Hartwiger (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Hephzibah Roskelly

Abstract: This project extends debates about cosmopolitanism to the classroom by defining a cosmopolitan pedagogy that fosters students' ethical engagement with difference. By reimagining cosmopolitanism in a pedagogical space, I build a counter-hegemonic cosmopolitanism which disrupts totalizing narratives of Enlightenment modernity and open a location for alternative epistemologies. Drawing on Mikhail Bakhtin, Wolfgang Iser, and Louise Rossenblatt, I reconfigure contemporary reading theory to face the challenges of engaging with postcolonial literature in an era of globalization. Readings of key postcolonial texts, including Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children, Patrick Chamoiseau's Texaco, and Chris Abani's GraceLand, provide insight into the way cosmopolitanism works to construct community out of the shared sense of alienation that arises in the postcolony in an age of globalization. Through postcolonial theorists Dipesh Chakrabarty, Homi Bhabha, and Simon Gikandi, I argue that the unhomely cosmopolitan comes to represent the displaced figure of globalization but whose presence interrupts the narrative of development constructed through colonial modernity. Ultimately, a cosmopolitan pedagogy makes the classroom an unhomely space which disrupts knowledge production and consumption, challenging students to be responsible for their participation in those processes. In asking students to be accountable for and respond to the call of the other, this project helps students build the skills necessary to ethically engage with difference inside and outside the classroom.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2010
Cosmopolitanism, Critical Pedagogy, Postcolonial
Critical pedagogy $z United States.
Cosmopolitanism $z United States.
Multicultural education $z United States.

Email this document to