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Crossing into the cultural other: A dialogic reading strategy

Rankin, S. (2014) Crossing into the cultural other: A dialogic reading strategy. Ariel: A review of international English literature, 45 (1-2). pp. 79-102.

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Drawing on the theories of Homi Bhabha and Tzvetan Todorov, this article explores the difficulties facing Western writers of fiction in relation to their participation in postcolonial discourse. This essay suggests that many writers in the West are limited by a lack of hybridity to a space outside of dialogic discourse and as a consequence find themselves restricted in their engagement with cultural alterity to an endless loop of self-reference or to the appropriation of otherness. The article, however, goes on to argue that textual dialogism can provide an avenue for the negotiation of difference for the reader: a conversational space within which both sides can speak and be heard without crossing the line into cultural appropriation. I suggest that this can take place by means of a cross-culturally dialogic reading strategy in which the consciousness of the reader through the internal and socially-contextualised experience of culturally divergent voices is able to share a common literary space. The applicability of dialogism as a reading strategy will be considered in relation to two texts, Inez Baranay’s Australian novel, The Edge of Bali, and Gerson Poyk’s Indonesian short story, “Kuta, here my love flickers brightly,” both of which explore fictional encounters between Australian female tourists and Indonesian men.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Centre for University Teaching and Learning
Publisher: University of Calgary Press
Copyright: 2014 The John Hopkins University Press and University of Calgary
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