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Critical Lens Theory - Sophomores

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joey braccino

on 2 April 2014

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Transcript of Critical Lens Theory - Sophomores

Race, Gender, and Privilege in Text
Critical Lens Theory
With a Modern understanding of perspective and structure, literary scholars developed various modes of reading. These modes, or LENSES, interrogate and critique a given text through a particular point of view
Two Prominent Examples:
Background:
Gender Lens (Previously, Feminist Lens)
Using the Marxist Lens
Critical Race Theory
Representation of the "minority" perspective, especially considering issues of immigration, 2nd generation lifestyle, and pervading racial tension.
Application HW:
Consider "The Comet" by WEB DuBois

How do the characters Jim and Julia initially perceive each other?
How do the citizens react to Jim and Julia's relationship?
What is DuBois' larger theme regarding race and human potential?

How does "The Comet" work under a Critical Race Lens??? Can you apply a Gender Lens to Jim and Julia's interactions???
Application:
In pairs, read "The Stolen Party" by Liliana Hecker. As you read, please apply the three lenses discussed today. ANNOTATE according to these lenses.

Be prepared to share-out observations in 10 minutes.
New Criticism:
A distinctly Modernist lens, New Criticism values literature as a mode of language in-and-of-itself. "Close-reading" and analyzing symbology, figurative language, and other textual features comes from this theory. Social history, genre, and the writer's background are all secondary to the words on the page.
The presentation and representation of gender roles, gender stereotypes, and issues of sexuality. Generally concerned with the prevailing patriarchal system of privilege.

Big Question: How is gender portrayed in the text and how is it linked to power or initiative?
Marxist (or Economic) Lens
The presentation and representation of economic and class-related inequities, including labor-related issues. A good word to know is "commodification," or the process of turning culture, people, or ideas into a part of the economic system.

Big Question: Where is economic privilege (or access to economic privilege) located in the text?
§ Three Levels of Representation (Bishop):

Culturally Specific/Conscious: “illuminate the experience of growing up a member of a particular, non-White cultural group”

Generically American/socially conscious: These texts “feature characters who are members of so-called minority groups, but they contain few, if any, specific details that might serve to define those characters culturally.” In these texts, non-White characters in particular are presented stereotypically

Culturally neutral/melting pot: These texts “feature people of color, but are fundamentally about something else.” Cultural authenticity is not “a major consideration.

**In the latter two categories, while there may be characters of color, there is no consideration of actual authentic cultural identification or racial relationships. As such, these characters often default to a norm of “Whiteness.”
Applying the Gender Lens
Do Now:

Recall - How have we seen issues of gender or class play out in the texts we have read so far this year???
Full transcript