Essay about Contact Zones

Essay about Contact Zones

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The reader is introduced to a term coined and repeated by Pratt throughout the piece, "contact zones." She uses this term "to refer to social spaces where cultures meet, clash, and grapple with each other, often in contexts of highly asymmetrical relations of power, such as colonialism, slavery, or their aftermaths as they are lived out in many parts of the world today" (Pratt 584). Contact zones were not necessarily a positive interaction because these social interactions usually came out of ignorance resulting into an obdurate conflict. Dubois The Negro in the United States and Griffith’s The Birth of the Nation, and Pratt’s very own Arts of the Contact Zone correlate through Pratt’s terminology of contact zone, autoethnographic texts, and ethnographic texts. These texts are written in different perspectives but about the contradictory topic of oppression of cultures or misinformaty. Many quandaries have been introduced in the past but neither alone is correct because it is bias. One must incorporate both perspective of history in order to get the real picture.
Mary Louise Pratt discusses in The Arts of the Contact Zone, that the rulers attempt to unify the world in one person’s or group’s perspective. She goes on to talk about how Travel Writing was just based on Europe’s perspective of the rest of the world, and they wanted to produce these essays under their own influences. One essay argues that travel writing “didn’t report on Africa or South America; it produced places that could be thought of as barren, empty, undeveloped, inconceivable, needful of European influences and control, ready to serve European industrial, intellectual, and commercial interests” (Pratt 498). The Europeans thought they had to civilize these plac...


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...tic animal would be better than being a slave; at least animals are incapable of feeling emotions.

Pratt discusses how the student Manuel felt this his opinion had no value; the world was shown from only the teacher’s perspective. However, are teachers supposed to feel like it is their duty to “eliminate such things [discourse, parody, resistance, critique] and unify the social world?” (509). Some people believe that unifying all the perspectives into one idea is the best way for a community to get along. For example, teachers have their own language in a classroom setting; the “teacher pupil language”. This particular language “tends to be described almost entirely from the point of view of the teacher and teaching, not from the point of view of pupils and pupiling” (508). If teachers do not recognize something, it does not exist in the world of the student.

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Essay about Contact Zones

- The reader is introduced to a term coined and repeated by Pratt throughout the piece, "contact zones." She uses this term "to refer to social spaces where cultures meet, clash, and grapple with each other, often in contexts of highly asymmetrical relations of power, such as colonialism, slavery, or their aftermaths as they are lived out in many parts of the world today" (Pratt 584). Contact zones were not necessarily a positive interaction because these social interactions usually came out of ignorance resulting into an obdurate conflict....   [tags: Sociology]

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