My students are primarily Latinx and Asian American children of immigrants in a high-need, title I high school in east San Jose. They attend a program within the school designed to prepare them for success as first-generation college students.
Although they face daunting cultural and linguistic barriers as children of immigrants and prospective first generation college students, the kids I teach are vibrant, engaged, and open learners alive to the challenges of the future, and full of dreams of success.
My district doesn't make Waiting for the Barbarians available to students, but I believe it's an essential work for our times and would provide my students with critical knowledge of key cultural discourses reflecting on obviously still-urgent questions about postcolonialism, race, and "others." Reading the text will enable students to engage imaginatively through Coetzee's masterpiece in longstanding debates about race, colonialism, imperialism, war, and, violence, and to think critically, historically, and comparatively--about how and why this text has and continues to provoke, in the best sense, its readers.
The text will not only be an occasion for discussions about race, colonialism, state-sanctioned and -administered violence, and central themes in history and culture, but also for sound training in close analysis and literary criticism.
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