Introduction: Learning locally

Kate Flaherty, Penny Gay, L E Semler

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    In the 1998 essay Post-colonial Shakespeare? Writing away from the centre’, which inspires our title, New Zealand scholar Michael Neill argues that in postcolonial nations the decentring of Shakespeare has generally been more rhetorical than real … [T]he long and complicated history of Shakespeare’s entanglement with Empire has ensured that (for better or worse) his work has become deeply constitutive of all of us for whom the world is (to a greater or lesser degree) shaped by the English language … Through four hundred years of imperializing history our Anglophone cultures have become so saturated with Shakespeare that our ways of thinking about such basic issues as nationality, gender and racial difference are inescapably inflected by his writing. (Neill, 1998, 185) Undoubtedly true as this observation still is, education in the excolonies has moved on, growing more complex and confident in its own locally-situated cultural authority. This applies equally to the teaching of Shakespeare (as Neill concludes his essay, the question is ‘not whether but how he should be taught’). Binary approaches to understanding learning (active/passive, school/university, teaching/research) are no longer adequate to the realities of education in the modern world. The situation is ripe for engagement with the complexity theories that are increasingly being applied to the domain of human learning (see, for example, Barnett, 1999).
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationTeaching Shakespeare Beyond the Centre: Australasian Perspectives
    EditorsKate Flaherty, Penny Gay and L E Semler
    Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
    PublisherPalgrave Macmillan Ltd.
    ISBN (Print)9781137275066
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


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