Just read an interesting article in College English by Lisa Eck, "Thinking Globally, Teaching Locally: The "Nervous Conditions" of Cross-Cultural Literacy" 70.6 (2008):578-98. Eck provides a classroom report of taking her students through three stages of response to Tsitis Dangarembga's 1988 novel Nervous Condition. The stages are:
1. This is about you: (auto)biographical connections to this African novels coming-of-age narrative.
2. This was never about you: resisting the easy identification; respecting and understanding difference.
3. This is also about you: bridging difference, honestly recognizing "mixed realities" (a phrase from Fanon. "The legacy of colonialism is everybody's business, just as selfhood ought to be every young girl's nervous prerogative" (597).
Nice addition to the pedagogy of world literature I am trying to learn: the Levinas/Derrida "host-guest" relationship that some teachers advocate, and the indebtedness-exchange model argued for in Pedagogy in a few years back.
What is the What could be approached using this method: a coming of age novel (familiar), but coming of age under conditions almost unimaginable, a story and a future that could very much be about all of us.