“The Danger of the Single Story”

One of the biggest dangers of po-co study is the seductive notion of reductive thinking, i.e., essentializing the diverse experience of a people, nation, and culture into one story or one novel.  I get why there is such a desire–attempting to learn about a “different” place takes time and patience, two elements that we are lacking–myself included–these days.  But a responsible po-co scholar will fight this urge every day until the fear of essentializing gives way to an understanding that it is impossible to know all about a culture and that coming with a strong trepidation and an open mind can yield great results.  Nigerian born (and amazing) author Chimamanda Adichie speaks most eloquently about the danger of a single story.  Every time I watch this TED talk, I learn more about myself and about this course of study.  I hope you enjoy her warning as much as I do.

I look forward to hearing what you think of her video.  Please incorporate your response into your first blog post.  Respond to her video and discuss any concerns it raises for you as we begin this academic endeavor together.  In your post, discuss how you would define postcolonial(ism)/studies in light of what Adichie says and what you have read.

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