Cartas de América #4: teaching culture with the Nacirema

I like this lesson not just because it brings out the creativity in my students, or because it gives us all a laugh, but because it makes us ask a really important question about “cultural learning.” What’s it for? I used the Nacirema article to criticize the Maya one, urging students to de-exoticize their reading and put everyone into a living context. But what if we did the opposite? What if we exoticized ourselves more, noticed the strange and ritual elements of our own cultures? Is that a healthy sense of astonishment and wonder, or just plain malpractice?

In the latest issue of my Latin America newsletter, I’m crowdsourcing my teaching philosophy on “cultural learning.” Tell me what you think! (And hey, maybe subscribe to stay in the conversation.)

Cartas de América #4: teaching culture with the Nacirema

Published by Catherine Addington

I am a translator from Spanish to English and a writer on saints, myths, and icons in both religious and secular contexts.

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