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Fostering the hospitable imagination through cosmopolitan pedagogies: Reenvisioning literature education in Singapore
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Choo, S. S. (2016). Fostering the hospitable imagination through cosmopolitan pedagogies: Reenvisioning literature education in Singapore. Research in the Teaching of English, 50(4), 400-421.
While English literature once occupied a central position in national curricula, enrollment in the
subject has undergone a continuing decline in English-speaking countries such as the United States
and United Kingdom. Its marginal position may also be observed in formerly colonized countries
such as Singapore, where the subject was introduced, appropriated, and reconstructed. My aim,
in this paper, is to propose a reenvisioning of literature education premised on the principles of
ethical cosmopolitanism. In the first part of the paper, I describe ethical cosmopolitanism by
distinguishing it from strategic cosmopolitanism, which has more recently emerged in response to
the pressures of economic globalization, leading to the economization of education. In the second
part of the paper, I show how the principles of strategic cosmopolitanism have directed the national
literature curriculum in Singapore through my analysis of the national syllabus and high-stakes
examination papers from 1990 to the present. This leads to the third part of the paper, in which
I use a case study of four literature teachers in Singapore secondary schools to characterize the
ethical cosmopolitan pedagogies they employ to circumvent nation-centric, economic pressures of
strategic cosmopolitanism operating at the national level. More importantly, I discuss how such
pedagogies have the potential to foster a hospitable imagination, which constitutes the strongest
defense one can give to literature education in the context of an increasingly culturally complex,
connected, and contested global sphere.
0034-527X (print)
1943-2348 (online)
Appears in Collections:Journal Articles

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