Essay Poems Other Cultures

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Although the authors of the following two poem excerpts are from quite different cultures and have had quite different trajectories across cultures, their experiences share some common features.

In the poem "Search for my tongue" (BHATT 1988, pp.65-66), addresses the battle between the different tongues in her mouth, the mother tongue that begins to rot while the foreign tongue could never be known.

[] How then does one come to understand and read two books on culture and identity, cultural theory and activity theory, diaspora and racism?

How does one write an analysis of the two books that not only accounts for the dialectical relation of understanding and explaining but that also embodies it in its very structure the very theory that underpins it—according to the dictum that the medium is the message (Mc LUHAN 1995)?

From a pragmatic perspective, one never ponders too long, for "meanwhile, everything begins" (SERRES 2000, p.56), always and already set in motion by the very condition that also allows us to think ourselves and the world that surrounds us.

[] My review, as everything, also begins, perhaps twice (see 2.1), intertwining understanding and explaining, wandering (using autobiography in analysis and analysis in autobiography) and putting in opposition (facing columns), autobiographical narrative and critical analysis, one requiring the other, impossible without the other, even analytically inseparable from the other.

Reading a book, analyzing and explaining its structural features and content presuppose understanding (Verstehen); but the development of understanding presupposes explaining and the structural analysis it involves.

Understanding is required to follow a story and explaining is required "when spontaneous understanding is impeded" (p.142).

In several municipalities, the number of individuals reporting multiple ethnic origins exceeds 50%. What is the culture in reference to which my identity is being constructed?

[] What characterizes this new breed of people, those that marry across traditional cultural boundaries and the children that issue from such unions? What is the value of the notion of culture, as in cultural psychology, cultural anthropology, or cultural sociology in a world that is increasingly characterized by is syncretism, bricolage of culture and bricolage of identity?


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