English Department Leads Global Learning Forum Discussion
- Caitlyn Woitena
- Thursday, March 4th, 2021
On Monday, February 22nd, the WKU English Department presented Global Learning through Global Literature in collaboration with the Global Learning Forum hosted by WKU’s Office of Study Abroad and International Learning. Led by Dr. Ted Hovet, two current undergraduate English students and a graduate assistant shared presentations focused on comparing and contrasting western culture with the cultures found in global literature.
Dr. Hovet explained, “The goal of this forum [was] to put literary works into conversation with one another to see how they may increase global learning and global understanding.” The hope for Dr. Hovet was that the presentations and audience’s questions would uncover “how we can more intentionally bring global learning through literature in curricular and extracurricular opportunities at WKU.”
Hayley Watson, a senior English for secondary teachers major, presented "Coming of Age in
America and Iran," which focused on J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye and Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis. Watson sought to analyze coming of age novels because, “It’s almost a universal experience, so seeing different cultures talk about that would be really interesting.” She found the characters’ experiences were pretty similar to one another; a fascinating discovery since one would assume children in different cultures woud have differing experiences.
Rachel Hunter, a senior English major with a concentration in literature, presented “Gender and Race in Achebe and Morrison'' which compared Toni Morrison’s Tar Baby and Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart. Hunter analyzed the traits associated with masculinity and femininity in the two novels. Her key point was, “Gender roles evolve over time and vary according to culture.” Hunter concluded her presentation with this thought, “Literature allows us to connect to people across time and space, and global literature just enriches this connection.”
WKU Global Affairs graduate assistant and EDD student Fatin Yaro presented “Friendship & Survival” which analyzed the relationships in Toni Morrison’s Sula. Yaro, originally from Burkina Faso, provided both analysis and view of Morrison’s novel from the perspective of an international student.
This panel not only discussed the importance of learning through literature but also studying abroad. During the questions and answers portion Hunter was asked “How did reading global literature prepare you for studying abroad?” She responded, “Reading global texts opened my eyes to how different cultures can be. It helped me keep in mind we were raised in different societies and that my initial reaction should not be my final judgment.”
The Office of Study Abroad and International Learning is still hosting Global Learning events. If you would like to check them out here’s a link to their website- https://www.wku.edu/studyabroad/