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Part B INSIDE PERSPECTIVE(S): CULTURAL 'FACES' OF PRESENT-DAY INDIA in:

Daniel Schönbauer (Ed.)

Postcolonial Indian Experiences, page 114 - 169

Teaching the Faces of a Rising Nation

1. Edition 2020, ISBN print: 978-3-8288-4293-9, ISBN online: 978-3-8288-7205-9, https://doi.org/10.5771/9783828872059-114

Tectum, Baden-Baden
Bibliographic information
Part B INSIDE PERSPECTIVE(S): CULTURAL 'FACES' OF PRESENT-DAY INDIA 115 Approaching Bollywood: The Movie English Vinglish. Teacher’s Guide. Christina Büttgen, Carolin Sampels & Christine Strackbein 1 Introduction The movie English Vinglish is a comedy drama released in 2012, written and directed by Gauri Shinde. The story deals with an Indian mother of two children who, unlike her daughter, son and husband, is not able to speak or understand English. She flies to the United States and visits her sister to help her plan a wedding ceremony for her niece. Whilst being in the U.S., she discovers that she wants to learn English and change her traditional lifestyle into a more modern and independent one (cf. Shinde 2012). There are numerous ways to promote Intercultural Communicative Competence as one of the main goals of foreign language education. One of them is dealing with postcolonial literatures. It is often argued that postcolonial literatures promote Intercultural Communicative Competence to a special degree (cf. Freitag & Gymnich, 2007: 259). There is a large number of arguments underlining this thesis. Some scholars, for instance, argue that these literatures show different varieties of the English language, help to change and coordinate different perspectives, and raise transcultural awareness through multicultural texts (e.g. Freitag & Gymnich 2007). When dealing with postcolonial literature in the EFL lassroom, schools and teachers often refer to India as a postcolonial country that offers various aspects of discussion in class. Several German federal states have included India into their curricula and there is a large amount of EFL teaching materials on India (cf. Wandel 2013: 387- 388). One way of including postcolonial and especially Indian post- 116 colonial literature is dealing with recent Bollywood movies. “Through their negotiations of the Indian and the foreign, and of tradition and modernity […] recent Bollywood movies moreover encapsulate important developments and conflicts in present-day India” (Krämer, 2008: 120). The movie English Vinglish is one of these recent Bollywood movies that symbolizes the negotiations Krämer mentions and is therefore an interesting example of postcolonial literature that can be analyzed in the EFL classroom. According to this, the research question of the paper can be formulated as follows: What postcolonial concepts are presented in the movie English Vinglish and to what extent can the text be used in the EFL classroom? In line with this, the first section deals with the content analysis of the movie with special regard to postcolonial concepts represented in English Vinglish. Its following chapter deals with chances and challenges of using the text in the EFL classroom while referring to the previous analysis. After this, possible teaching activities to overcome the previously mentioned challenges, to promote Intercultural Communicative Competence, and to ensure a solid comprehension of the movie’s content are presented. 2 Content Analysis Bollywood Ever since the mid-nineties, Indian movies became more prominent not only in India but also in other countries of the world. It should be mentioned that academic literature only started using the term Bollywood a few years ago. The term Bollywood is a combination of Bombay and Hollywood. Connecting these two terms resulted in associating all the negative aspects of the Hollywood industry, such as movie-massproduction or striking commercial interest, with Bollywood. Furthermore, some people assumed that the new Bollywood movies were only an attempt of the Indian movie industry to imitate already existing movies. One can say that introducing the term Bollywood had a rather negative than positive outcome (cf. Tieber 2009: 7). Despite of the negative connotations, Bollywood is responsible for creating a new image of India in the western world. Today, Bollywood movies stand for a modern world as well as a globalized and hybrid India (cf. ibid.). That is why, Ashish Rajadhyaksha called the Bollywood industry a Bollywood culture industry, since it stands for a 117 new popular culture of a specific lifestyle and is responsible for expressing a new image of India, whilst using already known stereotypes and adding a necessary spin to them (2008: 22). This spin is crucial in order to update Bollywood movies and make them compatible with the 21st century and the growing process of globalization (cf. Rajadhyaksha 2008: 22). It is essential to acknowledge that Indian cinema is more than just Bollywood, but it is noteworthy that Bollywood has a monopoly position over the rest of the Indian movie industry (cf. Tieber 2009: 7). When dealing with Bollywood movies, it is of great significance to see that there were only few attempts to tackle the crux of them (cf. ibid.: 8). That is why, people who analyze Bollywood movies, most of the times apply western theories. Examining Bollywood is always interdisciplinary, since it goes hand in hand with e.g. musicology, sociology, anthropology and theatre sciences. It is essential to be aware of this interdisciplinarity in order to be able to scrutinize these movies adequately and eventually get to the bottom of Indian society (cf. ibid.). Rajadhyaksha claims that Bollywood movies are largely successful due to their untraditional plots and specific marketing strategies, which make them more profitable than other average Indian movies (2008: 19). Additionally, Bollywood also addresses diasporic Indian audiences, while other Indian movies only rarely deal with diasporic topics (cf. ibid.: 23). 2.1 English Vinglish As mentioned previously, there are certain stereotypes and traditions that are usually dealt with in Bollywood movies. However, English Vinglish does not live up to these stereotypical depictions for several reasons. Firstly, the actress was 49 years old when she played the main character Shashi Godbole (cf. Pillai 2012). Traditionally, the heroine of a Bollywood movie used to be a young female playing a virgin and a yet-to-be-married persona (cf. Govindan & Dutta 2008: 186). Secondly, according to Pillai, the Indian cinema was a male-dominated industry, but English Vinglish goes against this theory since the main protagonist is female. Another interesting fact is that she has been in the Bollywood industry for a long time and in her youth, she used to play stereotypical roles in traditional movies that were dominated by dance and music during that time. Having her act as the heroine of English Vinglish implies a shift within the Bollywood genre and expresses a new attitude towards the role of women in Bollywood movies. It also 118 demonstrates that Bollywood moviemakers as well as the audiences have matured and are willing to rethink certain stereotypes (cf. Pillai: 2012). Furthermore, the movie is not dominated by typical dance scenes which convey the story. Instead, the focus lays on Shashi as a person and her attempt to overcome the social, cultural, and linguistic difficulties she encounters during her stay in the United States. Similarly, the choice of clothes in English Vinglish is also not traditional. Only a few female characters actually wear traditional dresses. This again exemplifies how women do not fulfill certain stereotypes in the genre anymore due to changes caused by globalization. Bollywood movies recently became more sophisticated because of the ongoing liberalization of the Indian economy. With regards to those changes, there has been a shift of the main focus of Bollywood movies on, among other things, the observance of tradition paired with a modern lifestyle (cf. Krämer 2008:. 111). One could argue that Shashi’s traditional Indian desserts represent her traditional side, whilst the fact that she wants to become an independent modern woman, who is able to speak English represents a new modern lifestyle. Considering all these aspects, one can say that English Vinglish is not a traditional Bollywood movie as one might assume. Moreover, it addresses stereotypes with an attempt to make people critically reflect upon them. 2.2 Postcolonial Key Concepts in English Vinglish According to Döring, it is an act of power to create new terms and concepts or change the meaning of already existing ones (2008: 15). Due to their difficulty and significance, this especially applies when it comes to postcolonial definitions and theories. During the past decades, scientists have come up with various terms and concepts addressing postcolonial literature. But not all those terms are neologisms. Some of them have already existed, e.g. the term ‘Hybridity’, which will be discussed later. In this case, it is up to the creator of the new term to explain in detail why this specific term is suitable for a postcolonial concept, even though the origin of the word has little in common with the contentious meaning in a postcolonial context. Therefore, choosing specific terms and names never happens coincidentally but is intentional. Hence, ‘the act of power’, as Döring calls it, is the ability to name theories and concepts and therefore determine 119 what is to be understood by one certain concept (Döring 2008: 15). Through this act of power, numerous concepts and terms concerning postcolonial literature have been invented. Specific concepts that are addressed in English Vinglish will be discussed henceforth. 2.2.1 Abrogation and Appropriation The first concept addressed in English Vinglish is ‘Abrogation’. ‘Abrogation’ initially stands for the rejection of one standard English by postcolonial writers (cf. Ashcroft et. al. 2013: 3). As one of the main features of imperial dominance is the control over language, it can become an important factor in maintaining power and hierarchy. Such dominance is rejected through abrogating the colonizer’s concept of languages (cf. Ashcroft et al. 1989: 7). When deciding to use an imperial language, one is bound to conceptual paradigms embedded within this language. ‘Abrogation’ nevertheless means using the imperial language but still being able to add conceptual transformations in order to convey, for example, cultural or political activities. This is the essential basic step before ‘Appropriation’ can take place. Therefore, one can say that these concepts go hand in hand despite the fact that ‘Abrogation’ does not necessarily need to be articulated actively or consciously (cf. Ashcroft et. al. 2013: 4). One could apply the concept of ‘Abrogation’ to the scene, where Shashi tries to pronounce the term ‘Jazz dance’, when talking to her daughter Sapna. Shashi pronounces this word in a non-standard way and uses the imperial language, while adding conceptual transformations given by her mother tongue. However, her daughter and her husband do not accept her word ‘Abrogation’ and make fun of her mispronunciation (00:03:35-00:04:01). The second scene to be mentioned here shows Shashi’s appearance at Sapna’s school (00:09:05-00:09:08). Again, Sapna is embarrassed by her mother for not speaking English but Hindi with her teacher and also for relating to Indian cultural traditions during the conversation. Furthermore, the concept of ‘Appropriation’ can be found in English Vinglish. According to Ashcroft et. al., the concept of ‘Appropriation’ implies the process of adapting the imperial culture including their language, different forms of writing and various ways of thinking (2013: 4, 19). People use those aspects in order to define their own social and cultural identities. Especially in postcolonial literature, individuals appropriate the imperial language and linguistic features to use them as a tool to express their experiences in a prominent 120 way. That way, they use imperial language to make their message reach the largest possible audience, which then automatically lets the utterance appear even more important, since it is clear that the author wants to send a certain message (cf. Ashcroft et. al. 2013: 19). When applying the concept of ‘Appropriation’, Shashi’s conflict with the English language becomes clear. She lives with her family in India, where, on the one hand, her daughter goes to an Englishmedium school, and where, on the other hand, her husband works as a businessman, for whom it is also crucial to speak English on a regular basis. Shashi has a hard time understanding and speaking English and gets mocked by her family because of this. When she visits her sister in New York by herself, she finds herself in an English-speaking environment and is confronted with severe communication problems. There is one key scene in a café, where she is not able to interact with the employee to tell her what she wants to order (00:38:38-00:40:52). Because of this emotional stress, she finds herself having two alternatives: She either surrenders to her role as a foreigner who is not able to participate in everyday-life and to express her feelings and thoughts, or she takes action, so she can lead her life as she wishes. She then decides for the latter and enrolls in a language school, where one is supposed to learn English within four weeks’ time. By making this decision, she wants to appropriate the language to be able to communicate her feelings and to create her new cultural identity. Being able to speak English makes her an independent woman who can speak for herself. Shashi, for example, is then able to communicate with a Frenchman who is also a participant in her English class. In the end, Shashi gives a wedding speech in front of the entire wedding party, which also leads to the conclusion that she appropriated English as an imperial language in order to express her thoughts to a larger audience and to participate and interfere by telling her story (cf. Ashcroft et. al. 2013: 20). In general, the movie discusses a society which is still suffering from the effects of colonization. This is symbolized by the judgements made by others on people’s English language proficiency. Language in English Vinglish functions as a tool for Shashi to rebuild her self-worth and to gain independence. 2.2.2 Hybridity Moreover, the concept of ‘Hybridity’ can be situated in the movie English Vinglish. The term ‘Hybridity’ initially refers “to the cross-breeding of two species by grafting or cross-pollination to form a third, ‘hybrid’ 121 species” (Ashcroft et. al. 2013: 135). This term is therefore used to describe something within scientific spheres, whereas ‘Hybridity’ regarding postcolonial literature refers to the creation of a new transcultural form “(…) within the contact zone produced by colonization.” (ibid.). This ‘Hybridity’ can be situated on e.g. a linguistic, in terms of speaking pidgin or creole English, cultural, or even political level (cf. ibid. 136). Homi K. Bhabha claims that ‘Hybridity’ signifies an ambivalent and interdependent relationship between colonizer and colonized, which then causes a bilateral construction of new aims (ctd. in Ashcroft et. al. 2013: 136). The transcultural third space gives room for individuals to create their own cultural identity. ‘Hybridity’ has occasionally been defined as a cross-cultural exchange. The term ‘exchange’ does not take the existing power imbalance between the two parties into account. Hence, it is crucial to stress the transformative impacts ‘Hybridity’ has on cultural, political, and social spheres and not to neglect the interdependency on both sides and simplify the process of creating a cultural identity by using the term ‘exchange’ (cf. ibid.). ‘Hybridity’ should also highlight the idea of mutual cultures within the colonial and postcolonial process and express their syncretism, meaning they go hand in hand during the process of creating new transcultural spaces (cf. ibid.: 137). When applying the concept of ‘Hybridity’ on the movie, it can be stated that this movie perfectly portrays a hybrid state of Bollywood movies, where western and eastern aspects influence each other and together create a new transcultural space (cf. Tieber 2009: 7). As mentioned before, English Vinglish distances itself from certain traditional and stereotypical forms of Bollywood movies. The story does not evolve around various musical scenes or has a female heroine who has yet to find her future husband. This hybrid state becomes clear simply by looking at the clothes worn in this movie. Shashi, for example, always wears traditional Indian clothing, whilst her sister and niece, who both live in the United States, wear jeans and shirts (00:30:48). There are aspects of the movie that demonstrate the creation of a third space, which enables the creation of Shashi’s new cultural identity. Some of these creating-processes can be seen on screen and some others are rather subliminal. 122 2.2.3 Othering Additionally, the concept of ‘Othering’ can be situated in English Vinglish. ‘Othering’ refers to multiple ways in which the colonial discourse excludes or marginalizes different groups. In order for the individual to be able to create ‘the Self’, it is necessary to create ‘the o/Other’ first (Ashcroft et. al., 2013, p.188). When looking at the character of David, Shashi’s language teacher, one could argue that both he and Shashi perform the act of ‘Othering’ (cf. Vardhana 2015). While David is capable of speaking English fluently and has the privilege of being a white man in the U.S., he is also portrayed as an other in society due to his gayness. He has the power to hand his students the most important tool: the ability to speak English. He, therefore, helps them to be able to adapt and assimilate to western society. In addition, in the beginning of their language class, the students other David and therefore dehumanize him, which is perfectly portrayed in the breakup-scene: when David’s relationship with his boyfriend ends, he is emotional about it and Shashi tells the cab driver not to downplay David’s sadness because of his sexuality. Shashi, in this way, can empathize with him despite different origins and sexualities and she knows what effect callousness due to ‘Othering’ can have on oneself (cf. ibid.). Furthermore, Shashi is initially excluded and othered by her American family, which is presented in the dinner scene, in which her niece’s fiancé joins them and they all talk only in English (00:35:10-00:35:48). She feels excluded and left out due to her incapability to understand and produce the English language. 3 Analysis from the Point of View of Teaching English as a Foreign Language 3.1 Chances English Vinglish offers several chances for the EFL Classroom, but there are also challenges when dealing with this movie in class. In general, movies are often more attractive for students than books, as students tend to watch more television than to read books and therefore are more familiar with this medium. This means they do not have to familiarize themselves with this medium and can draw from their own experiences with movies. Thus, the teacher can go right into the content and depth of the movie (cf. Surkamp & Nünning 2016: 254). 123 Being a movie one needs to discuss whether using English Vinglish in class presents an additional value for the students, e.g. by enhancing the development of intercultural competence. In general, it is to mention that movies are supposed to promote communicative competences concerning the target language due to authentic engagement with different topics. Movies allow a different access to new cultural images and sounds (cf. Lütge 2012: 6). Furthermore, they contain various aspects of communication for students to see and engage with, such as verbal, non-verbal, and paralinguistic aspects, like facial expressions and gestures. Additionally, the students’ willingness to learn the target language might be promoted due to possible higher motivation. Concerning intercultural learning, it is noteworthy that a movie offers a variety of cultural insights that are more easily accessible for learners due to their visual representation. It also lets them deal with their own as well as the foreign culture in a more holistic way than any other form of literary representation (cf. ibid.). Another advantage that a movie might have compared to a literary text is that it might address the students’ emotional site and they therefore feel more involved and closer to the story and henceforth, are more willing to engage with the addressed topic (cf. ibid.: 8). Based on the concepts of ‘Appropriation’ and the process of ‘Othering’, the movie illustrates a generational conflict between a mother and a daughter in a postcolonial surrounding. This implies two main advantages of using the movie in the EFL classroom. Firstly, the conflict illustrates various consequences of colonialization. With the example of language and its ‘Appropriation’ as well as ‘Abrogation’, colonial conflicts and their long-term consequences become clear. The English language has endured in India and has a much stronger hold in society now than during the colonial period. Even if India is a country of multiple languages, English is still the hegemonic, most powerful language in the country due to former colonial circumstances (Encyclopaedia Britannica ‘India’, n.d.). Therefore, gaps have developed between generations, as culture and society in India are constantly changing. The English language as the language of the former imperial centre symbolizes various colonial conflicts such as the question of inferiority and superiority or conflicts of marginalization and power. The mother-daughter conflict shown in the movie is a useful example to teach students the complexities and long-lasting consequences of the colonial period. Through everyday family situations 124 and an easily understandable content, the comprehension of this complexity can be facilitated. Furthermore, the generational conflict that symbolizes the abovementioned postcolonial conflicts carries a high potential for identification for students, as they might be familiar with everyday family conflicts. Through identification with the movie’s characters, students are able to comprehend the complex topic of postcolonial concepts and the consequences mentioned above. 3.2 Challenges This subchapter deals with the challenges regarding the use of the movie English Vinglish in the EFL classroom and gives possible solutions to overcome these obstacles. Language functions as the basis for all three postcolonial concepts discussed above. As part of the concept of ‘Abrogation’, parts of the movie are in Hindi with optional English subtitles. That is why, the first challenge mentioned here covers the language conflict occurring in English Vinglish to a higher degree than in other English movies presented in the EFL classroom. Although the use of various languages in the movie creates authenticity and honors the variety of languages, it makes the comprehension of the content more difficult for the students. Still, reading skills can be promoted through adding English subtitles. Nevertheless, the switch between the English and Hindi language as well as the need for switching between listening and reading subtitles can be seen as a challenge that has to be considered, when using the movie in the EFL classroom. The promotion of a better textual understanding can be achieved through the following ideas. Thaler (2014: 28-29) suggests the involvement of pre-viewing-activities in order to prepare the students for lexis and content of the movie and to activate their prior knowledge. Repeated viewings are only possible for particular scenes. Furthermore, he stresses the importance of a ‘not-having-tounderstand-everything-attitude’. Besides this, language activities can help to prepare for the lexis of the movie. Thus, useful vocabulary as well as helpful phrases can be introduced to support the students in discussing and analyzing textual and formal aspects of the movie. Language support can also be given through silent watching or sound only watching. This approach underlines the attitude of not having to understand every detail of the movie and it only focuses on one code, which 125 simplifies the process of understanding. It can be used as a preparation before watching the movie as a whole (cf. Lütge 2012: 47-48). An important challenge is the representation of cultural stereotypes in the movie. It has to be seen critically that the movie, while addressing the prior discussed postcolonial concepts, still fails in raising awareness for stereotypes. Especially the English class represents a culmination of cultural stereotypes, as Shashi’s classmates all depict typical national or cultural characteristics. Since the main goal of English language teaching is the development of Intercultural Communicative Competence, the presentation of stereotypes should definitely be taken into consideration (cf. Freitag & Gymnich 2007: 260). This challenge can be turned into a chance, if the class is involved in this issue and problematizes the stereotypes included in the movie. That is why, this movie can function as a reason to address the dangers of cultural stereotypes and raise critical awareness for both the reception of the text as well as the development of stereotypes in everyday situations. This example can then be applied to the perception and development of cultural stereotypes on the example of the English class presented in the movie. Ideas on how to do so can be found in the following chapters. One could critically argue that addressing stereotypes, like the representation of Shashi’s classmates can also cause students to accept those stereotypes with no further reflection and therefore deepen and encourage their stereotypical understanding in a negative way. Hence, it is essential to address this topic in class and explain how to deal with stereotypes and make students aware of the fact that they always need to have a critical and reflective attitude. The last challenge to be mentioned is the length of Bollywood movies that was proposed by Lucia Krämer (2008). As they are exceptionally long with running time from two and a half to three hours, it is more difficult to show the whole movie in a German classroom with German school hours tending to last for 45 minutes and 90 minutes at the maximum (cf. ibid.). With a length of 140 minutes, English Vinglish is no exception to this problem (cf. Shinde 2012). 4 Teaching Activities On the basis of the prior outlined chances and challenges as well as the postcolonial key concepts represented in the movie, the activities presented intend to focus on Intercultural Communicative Competence, language support and the thematization of stereotypes. The activities will be divided into pre-, while- and post-viewing-activities. 126 4.1 Pre-Viewing-Activities The first activity addresses the use and development of stereotypes. It is divided into two parts. Firstly, the students have to take 30 seconds to memorize as many blue objects as possible. After this time of observation, they are asked how many green objects they can remember. Through this, students get aware of the fact that our brain concentrates on things that it wants to perceive. Thus, our perception is conditioned (cf. Volkmann 2010: 88). Students, therefore, get aware of the fact that our perception is also conditioned when meeting people from different cultural backgrounds. Thus, we tend to focus on characteristics we have already heard about when meeting people from various cultures and countries. To foster this first experience of our conditioned perception, the second part of the pre-viewing-activity deals with various short quotations and definitions on stereotypes. The class is divided into groups and each group has to discuss one quotation. After ten minutes of group discussion, randomly selected students present the groups’ ideas in class. The other students are encouraged to correspond to the brief presentation to establish a class discussion on definitions and developments of stereotypes. After the students have gotten a basic idea and awareness of stereotyping, a scene of English Vinglish will be presented (00:50:17-00:54:20). The scene introduces the English class that Shashi attends during her stay in New York. The class consists of people from different cultural surroundings. The students are then asked to connect their previous ideas on stereotypes to the scene watched in class. Thus, awareness of the creation of stereotypes is raised before watching the movie. Another or an additional pre-viewing task could be the use of freeze-frames and key terms for that frame. Students would have to describe what happens in the scene with the help of the picture and the terms without seeing the scene. Furthermore, they could think about implications of this scene for the movie (cf. Surkamp & Nünning 2016: 276). There is one advantage of working with freeze-frames while working with movies: As previously discussed, movies offer a great and complex variety of input. It is therefore essential for the teacher to help to ease the complexity of this experience. Providing freezeframes as part of the students’ activities helps to simplify the complex and fast-moving pictures that they are encountered with. Accordingly, 127 students will be able to sharpen their focus in a more detailed way and therefore work with the movie in depth. Another advantage of using freeze-frames is that students can work on their own, with their partner, or in a group, which makes it a very flexible and yet effective and productive method (cf. Lütge 2012: 66). 4.2 While-Viewing-Activities While-viewing-activities can be particularly challenging, as the reception process of movies already demands the students’ confrontation with the multi-channeled medium movie in a foreign language. Furthermore, the pace of reception is given and adjustments to the individual tempo of each student is not possible. That is why, whileviewing-activities should be less complex than while-reading-activities and should be short and manageable when watching the movie one time (cf. Lütge 2012: 58). As a while-viewing-activity, the teacher could give the students the task to listen to only the sound and have them think about what the scenes could look like. Here, listening skills are to be improved. The students could then work with the think-pair-share method by first, thinking about what the scene could look like, then, sharing their ideas with their partner and later, sharing their visions with the class. There could be questions guiding the students, for example: Who is talking to whom? Where is the scene set? Are there just two people in the room or more? (cf. Surkamp & Nünning 2016). Concerning English Vinglish, the teacher has to choose scenes where English is the main language spoken, as there are several scenes in Hindi. That means that the second part of the movie, when Shashi arrives in New York, is more suitable for this task. Alternatively, if the surroundings allow it, the teacher could have one half of the class listen to the sound without watching the movie, while the other half watches the movie without sound. After doing so, students could get into pairs and exchange the information and try to find out what is happening in the scene and what that means for the movie. For focusing on postcolonial elements, the students could find examples in the movie for ‘Hybridity’, ‘Othering’ or other postcolonial concepts that have been discussed beforehand. 4.3 Post-Viewing-Activities Since post-viewing-activities are more creative or analytical, the students could be given some individual work, possibly three assignments 128 to choose from in order to allow Binnendifferenzierung. They can work on converting the information from the movie to a different form of writing and the teacher can find out if the students have grasped the key points of the movie. For the sake of clarity, possible assignments are listed here: 1. Imagine you are a reporter and you have researched about Shashi’s story and have interviewed her. Write a newspaper article about her story and experiences. Use approximately 250 words. 2. Imagine there is a magazine asking you to display Shashi’s story in a picture story. Draw the key scenes (at least seven) and put them in the right order. Add a few descriptive lines to each scene. 3. Imagine you are either Shashi or Satish. Find arguments that support or oppose the following statement (depending on the character you chose): “The place of an Indian woman is in the kitchen and not in an English language classroom.” Be prepared to present your arguments in a debate next time. These different tasks allow different learner types to be able to do the assignment in their best possible way. The first task is especially suitable for the verbal-linguistic learner, while the second one is optimized for visual spatial learners. Task number three is for logical learners, since they have to find logical arguments for or against the statement (cf. Pritchard 2009). Pre-Viewing- Activity While-Viewing- Activity Post-Viewing-Activity Operationlisierte Aufgabenstellung Take 30 seconds to memorize as many blue objects as possible. How many green objects can you remember? Talk to your groupmates about the quotation on stereotyping you have got. Present your ideas in class. Watch the movie scene carefully and connect your previous ideas on Listen to the video with sound only and think about what the scenes could look like. Guiding questions: Who is talking to whom? Where is the scene set? Are there just two people in the room or more? Which relationship do the people have? Imagine you are a reporter and you have researched about Shashi’s story and have interviewed her. Write a newspaper article about her story and experiences. Use approximately 250 words. Imagine there is a magazine asking you to display Shashi’s story in a picture story. Draw the key scenes (at least seven) and put them in the right order. Add a few descriptive lines to each scene. Imagine you are either Shashi 129 stereotypes to the scene. Freeze frames: Look at the pictures and describe what is happening in the scene. or Satish. Find arguments that support or oppose the following statement (depending on the character you chose): “The place of an Indian woman is in the kitchen and not in an English language classroom.” Be prepared to present your arguments in a debate next time. Material/ Medium quotations movie pictures (freeze frames) Movie Sozialform EA GA TPS EA Didaktisch- Methodischer Kommentar overcome the challenge of the use of stereotypes in the movie students get aware of the fact that our brain concentrates on things that it wants to perceive awareness of the creation of stereotypes is raised freeze frames help to simplify the complex and fastmoving pictures that they are encountered with promotion of listening skills stimulation of imagination creative task for different learner types students can choose the task best suited for themselves students convert their knowledge from the movie into another medium 5 Conclusion Having analyzed the genre of Bollywood itself and English Vinglish as a modern Bollywood movie, one can say that English Vinglish holds great potential when dealing with in the EFL classroom. The movie raises many questions content-wise and therefore, has great chances for the students to get into contact with the Indian culture and society by 130 dealing with something more unconventional than e.g. simply reading a text without context information. Additionally, students need to be able to watch and understand a Bollywood movie independently. One has to take a step back before confronting a class with a Bollywood movie, or movies in general. Prior to confronting students with movies, a toolkit of ‘how to analyze a movie’ needs to be introduced to the class. Movies are a very complex medium and since it is not possible to deal with a movie too detailed in class, students need to have the ability to independently watch and work with the content of a movie (cf. Lütge 2012: 9). Furthermore, it is also crucial to be able to analyze the formal structure of a movie in order to gain an extensive comprehension of what the movie is about (cf. ibid.: 12). This is not something that must be discussed exclusively in the EFL classroom but rather can happen in every other subject as well. As mentioned before, there are many transcultural and interdisciplinary aspects in Bollywood movies, so that it is only logical to treat Bollywood movies interdisciplinary, which means that teachers of different subjects need to see the urgency of working together and exchanging ideas and hereby, offering their students the most fruitful education they can get. Watching a movie can also be very motivating for students, since it stands out from simply reading an informative text for example. However, there are also various challenges that a teacher encounters, when deciding to deal with Bollywood movies in class, like e.g. preparing the students to be able to adequately analyze a movie or urging fellow colleagues to work interdisciplinary. One could argue that of all the challenges, this might be the most difficult one to overcome, since working interdisciplinary is a concept which is not practiced very frequently due to the additional effort teachers have to put in. Additionally, one has to be aware of the fact that English Vinglish addresses stereotypes in a contradictive way. On the one hand, Shashi is supposed to represent the modernization of the stereotypical woman and the movie itself is supposed to represent the shift to modernity within the Indian culture. However, it also might foster stereotypes due to the representation of Shashi’s classmates. It is, therefore, crucial for the teacher to address those stereotypes in class and teach the students how to deal with them. All in all, it is essential to teach general awareness of always being critical towards how something is presented on screen. One can concludingly say that dealing with English Vinglish in the EFL classroom 131 holds great potential, since it offers an immense amount of authentic information for students to engage and work with and therefore, outnumbers the challenges that are not necessarily linked with EFL teaching specifically but rather are general concerns of interdisciplinary work. Future research in this area could delve into first, the motivation of German EFL students to learn about and watch Bollywood movies and second, stereotypical views of India German students have before and after watching and dealing with Bollywood movies in class. That could result in finding out if the students’ perception of India changes or are intensified. As the medium movie is deeply integrated into the students’ lives, it is a good way to increase their motivation to learn about India, the country that might overrun China as “the most populous country of the 21st century” (Lindner 2010: 59) Bibliography Ashcroft, B., & Griffiths, G., & Tiffin, H. (1989). The Empire Writes Back. Theory and Practice in Post- Colonial Literatures. London: Routledge. Ashcroft, B., & Griffiths, G., & Tiffin, H. (2000). Postcolonial Studies. The Key Concepts. London: Routledge. Döring, T. (2008). Postcolonial Literatures in English. Stuttgart: Klett. Freitag, B., & Gymnich, M. (2007). New English and Postcolonial Literatures im Fremdsprachenunterricht. In: W. Hallet & A. Nünning (Eds.), Neue Ansätze und Konzepte der Literatur- und Kulturdidaktik (pp. 259-276). Trier: Wissenschaftlicher Verlag. Govindan, P.P., & Dutta, B. (2008). “From Villain to Traditional Housewife!”. The Politics of Globalization and Women’s Sexuality in the “New” Indian Media. In: A.P. Kavoori & A. Punathambekar (Eds.), Global Bollywood (180-202). New York and London: New York University Press. Henseler, R., Möller, S., & Surkamp, C. (2011). Filme im Englischunterricht. Grundlagen, Methoden, Genres. Seelze: Kallmeyer, Klett. India. (n.d.). In: Encyclopaedia Britannica Online. Retrieved from https://www.britannica.com/place/India (last accessed June 3rd 2018). Krämer, L. (2008). Bollywood in the Classroom. Opportunities and Problems of Teaching Popular Indian Cinema. In: O. Lindner, G. Linke, E. Otto, H. Rossow, G. Stratman, & G. Tönnies (Eds.), Anglistik & Englischunterricht. Teaching India (pp. 107-124), Heidelberg: Winter. 132 Lindner, O. (2010). India: The Jewel in the Classroom. In: M. Eisenmann, N. Grimm & L. Volkmann (Eds.), Teaching the New English Culture & Literatures (pp. 59-72). Heidelberg: Winter. Lütge, C. (2012). Mit Filmen Englisch unterrichten. Berlin: Cornelsen. Pillai, D.A. (2012). Bollywood Journal: “English Vinglish” Is a Masterclass. In: The Wall Street Journal (Ed.). Retrieved from https://blogs.wsj.com/indiarealtime/2012/10/08/bollywood-journalenglish- vinglish-is-a-masterclass/ (last accessed May 6th 2018) Pritchard, A. (2009). Ways of Learning: Learning theories and learning styles in the classroom (2nd edition). London: Taylor & Francis. Rajadhyaksha, A. (2008). The “Bollywoodization” of the Indian Cinema. Cultural Nationalism in a Global Arena. In: A.P. Kavoori & A. Punathambekar (Eds.), Global Bollywood (pp.17-40). New York and London: New York University Press. Shinde G. (2012). English Vinglish. India. DVD. Surkamp, C., Nünning, A. (2016). Englische Literatur unterrichten. 1. Grundlagen und Methoden (4th edition). Seelze: Friedrich Verlag. Thaler, E. (2014). Teaching English with Movies. Paderborn: Ferdinand Schöningh. Tieber, C. (Ed.) (2009). Fokus Bollywood. Das indische Kino in wissenschaftlichen Diskursen. Wien, Berlin, Münster: LIT Verlag. Vardana, A. (2015). English Vinglish Response. Retrieved from http:/ /bollywood-andbeyond.blogspot.de/2015/05/english-vinglishresponse-aishwarya.html (last accessed May 6th 2018). Volkmann, L. (2010). Fachdidaktik Englisch: Kultur und Sprache. Tübingen: Narr. Wandel, R. (2003). Teaching India in the EFL-Classroom: A Cultural or an Intercultural Approach? In: M. Bayram & P. Grundy (Eds.), Context and Culture in Language Teaching and Learning (pp.72-80). Clevedon: Multilingual Matters. Wandel, R. (2013). Teaching India in the German EFL Classroom. Issues and Problems. In: J. Gorisch & E. Grünkemeier (Eds.), Postcolonial Studies Across the Disciplines (pp. 387-398). Leiden: Rodopi. 133 Gender and Postcolonial India: An Analysis of Baburao Bagul’s “Mother” in the EFL classroom Christina Kattwinkel 1 Introduction “Krishan yelled cruelly, ‘Don’t touch Pandu, any of you. My mother says Pandu’s mother sleeps with the mukadam like this…’” (Bagul 1992: 183). The short story “Mother” by Baburao Bagul was originally written in Sanskrit. Translated into English by Mira Manvi, it was published in 1992 in Arjun Dangle’s Poisoned Bread: Translations from Marathi Dalit Literature. Bagul himself was an important figure in Indian short story and Dalit writing. As an enlightened voice of his generation, he was a radical thinker of the Dalit movement (cf. “Baburao Bagul” 2014). In his postcolonial short story Baburao Bagul tells his readers about a poor Dalit widow who becomes the mistress of a socially powerful, upper caste man to make a living for herself and her son Pandu and to ensure a good life after the death of her husband. In consequence of this, she is given the reputation of a prostitute. The unnamed mother is accused of failing in her parental duties and of indulging in her sexual desires instead. The story reaches its climax when even her own son fails to understand her and joins the position and convictions of others (cf. Bagul 1992: 183-190). In recent decades, postcolonial Indian literature has been advocated by German EFL teaching professionals because it offers many possibilities for understanding other cultures and the development of empathy, openness and tolerance towards them (cf. Volkmann 2015, Wandel 2013, Mukherjee 2006). The short story at hand also carries this potential. While reading the story, students become observers of the events of a Dalit settlement in In- 134 dia. They are invited to get an insight into the everyday life of the lowest caste and get to know the challenges that the social structure of India holds for large parts of its population. Especially the closeness to the two main protagonists, which is created by the narrative style, opens up a wide spectrum of topics and activities through which one can approach the foreign culture. This paper analyses to what extent the short story “Mother” is suitable and how it can be used in English lessons in the EFL classroom will be analysed in this paper. For this purpose, the term paper is divided into three main parts: Firstly, the short story is analysed with regard to postcolonial key concepts that can be found in the narrative. Secondly, the story is examined in terms of advantages and challenges of teaching this text in class, and how these characteristics can either enliven and promote or hinder or complicate the teaching. It is also discussed how to counteract these challenges to help students understand the text in its entirety. In the end, three tasks are presented which – before, while and after reading the narrative – are to equip students with essential background information about the Indian society, to help them identify, coordinate and change perspectives and to develop Fremdverstehen. In the conclusion, the main results of the analysis will be summarized. 2 Postcolonial Key Concepts in “Mother” With regard to the short story “Mother”, several postcolonial key concepts can be found and distinguished, including the concepts of ‘Othering’, ‘Marginality’, ‘Identity’, ‘Gender issues’ and ‘the Subaltern’. In this chapter, these concepts will be presented, defined and analysed. 2.1 Othering and Marginality The key concept ‘Othering’ refers to the exclusion or marginalization of one group by another group in social and/ or psychological ways (cf. Ashcroft et. al. 2000: 188). The term is closely connected to another key concept, which is ‘Marginality’. It describes structures of power marked by ‘centre’ and ‘margin’ operating in a complex and multifaceted way. Mantra Roy explains: “Although slavery and the caste system as institutions were abolished in 1865 and 1950, respectively, the legacy of stratified systems based on labor and discourses of supremacy has continued in the respective societies” (2010: 10). It is an everyday picture that Dalits are not just separated from the upper caste society by Hindu agreement, but that their settlements are 135 in fact outside the boundaries of the village (cf. Punjani 2013: 31). Thus, it is only understandable that the feeling of being ‘the other’ grows in a system in which the conditions are made and determined by the influential upper caste people. Dalits still occupy the lowest place in the hierarchical caste system. This place “is inherited from birth and endorsed by sacred authority and so it is eternal and unalterable” (ibid.). In “Mother”, ‘Othering’ can be found in the character of the unnamed mother herself and the family and neighbourhood surrounding her. The story takes place in a Dalit settlement, in which, due to her behaviour and her very own way of feeding her family after her husband's death, Pandu’s mother becomes the marginalised among the marginalised or ‘the other’ among ‘the others’. On her way home she sees that “her envious enemies” look down on her with contempt (Bagul 1992: 186) and Pandu has to listen to Dagdu abusing his mother and calling her “whore of a slut” (ibid.: 185). Through the view on and the opinion of society about his mother, Pandu also becomes an outsider at school. He becomes the target of his classmates’ mischief: “’Don’t touch Pandu, any of you. My mother says Pandu’s mother sleeps with the mukadam like this …’ He puffed out his chest and cheeks and stood tall in imitation of the hefty overseer. The class was convulsed with laughter” (Bagul 1992: 183). The rumours about his mother and the teasing Pandu has to endure lead him to turn away from his mother as well and cause her marginalisation in her own family. The rejection and contempt that she receives from the only human being for whom she bears and endures all these burdens destroy the only identity she has: that of a good mother. 2.2 Gender issues and the Subaltern Besides themes of ‘Identity’ and ‘Marginalisation’, ‘Gender’ and ‘Subaltern’ issues also play an important role in postcolonial culture and politics. ‘Gender’ is a social construction which defines man and woman in socio-economic means. It is not only about society’s distinction between man and woman but also about the roles the two sexes are assigned to in social contexts (cf. Khurana 2016: 26). In India, a gender bias is the inherent product of its patriarchal society. Any disregard for equality and the chance of development in terms of ‘Gender issues’ must be regarded as gender discrimination (cf. Kohli 2017: 178). In the Indian society, Dalit women are not only expected to be a breadwinner of the household but also self-sacrificing mothers, who are characterised by an unquestioned devotion to their children 136 and complete self-effacement. They are often used, abused and taken for granted by their husbands (cf. Punjani 2013: 33). In Bagul’s short story, gender discrimination is the most evident in the relationship between Pandu’s mother and her husband. Her husband, who is physically and socially crippled, takes his frustration about “his disease, his failing strength, his joblessness” out on his wife (Bagul 1992: 187). Additionally, her strength, beauty and employment seem to diminish his gendered role as a male. Moreover, the fact that he is totally dependent on her arouses jealousy and dissatisfaction (cf. Punjani 2013: 34). Punjani sums up: “Bagul focusses on the dilemma of a subaltern woman who is forced to rise above her gendered role of a submissive and male-dependent entity because of her partner’s inabilities but is condemned for her transgression” (ibid.). After his death, she continues to be victimized by the men in the neighbourhood. They lust for her and at the same time see the independent woman as a threat to their male prerogatives (cf. Punjani 2013: 15). The affair she has with the overseer contributes to her being perceived by everyone as a whore since she does not correspond to the social image of a widow and single mother. She is expected to correspond to her gender role by taking devoted care of her offspring and being dependent on the help of the community (ibid.). Furthermore, the patriarchal ideology of motherhood is also threatened by her behaviour as she is both a mother-figure and a sexual person (cf. Franco et. al. 2000: 32). In this context, another postcolonial key concept plays an important role: ‘the Subaltern’. Derived from the writings of the Italian Marxist political philosopher Antionio Gramsci, the term ‘Subaltern’ was adopted by a group of Indian historians to refer to the suppressed and silenced people (cf. Edwards 2008: 100). These ‘Subalterns’ have no possibility to articulate themselves publicly, to defend themselves or simply to express their opinion. Hegemonic conditions prevent them from speaking and cause them to follow the dominant values determined by others (cf. Roy 2010: 16). Gayatri Spivak develops this concept further in her essay “Can the Subaltern Speak?” (1988) and expressed her concern about the doubly silenced ‘Subaltern’ woman who is always spoken for. One of the main characters in Bagul's short story “Mother” is such a woman. In Punjani’s view, Bagul portrays an “unconventional space inhabited by the subaltern mothers as they try to be ‘good’ mothers to their children” by representing the silenced but extraordinary mother in his story (2013: 33). As the empowered mother who challenges the notions of patriarchal motherhood and 137 ignores other people’s voices and opinions, Pandu’s mother becomes what O’Reilly calls an ‘outlaw’. Her “agency, autonomy, authenticity, and authority” (O’Reilly 2004b: 11) make her strong and selfconfident against slander and hostility. However, when Pandu is “convinced of her guilt” and “take[s] sides against her” (Bagul 1992: 187), she is devastated, and the strong and self-confident woman she represents is silenced. (cf. Roy 2010: 89). “[H]er son’s condemnation nullifies her sacrifices” (Punjani 2013: 37). Punjani explains the effect of the change in her relationship with her son in a Dalit context: “[T]he son’s rejection disempowers the subaltern mother who succumbs to the ideology of motherhood and cannot assert her independent maternal identity. Ultimately, the subaltern mother cannot enact her agency, or, symbolically ‘speak’” (ibid.: 38). Pandu is too young to understand that his mother loves and cares for him while staying true to her agency at the same time. The moment she accuses herself of being a bad mother for her son, she silences herself and her own idea of motherhood (cf. Roy 2010: 92). 3 Analysis from the Point of View of Teaching English as a Foreign Language The short story “Mother” stands out with both its highly emotional subject matter and its highly expressive value. Teaching and dealing with the story in the classroom involves challenges as well as opportunities. These should be carefully weighed against each other to determine whether “Mother” is suitable for English classes and can be tailored to the students’ needs and interests. To start with the chances of the text, it is to be generally emphasised that reading a literary text like the short story at hand in class and pervading it through the tasks and discussions provided is a great chance for promoting the students’ literary competence. By dealing with foreign language literature, they learn to overcome barriers of understanding and to develop imagination (cf. Surkamp 2012: 79). Furthermore, this narrative can be subordinated to the genre of short stories and can therefore not only be used flexibly in lessons, but also offers students an open and controversial range of perspectives in a limited text length (cf. Nünning 1999: 8). Due to the characteristics of the short story itself, namely the reduction and compression of the general principles of representation, the renunciation of spatial diversity and the description of longer courses of time, as well as the stylistic 138 shortage etc., the story can be read in one sitting and is rather easy to understand due to the reduced complexity (cf. ibid.: 6). The second important characteristic of the text is probably the most important: the offering of multiple perspectives. In “Mother”, the reader does not only deal with and get to know the two main protagonist. “The narrative turns us into witnesses as mother, son, husband, wife, lover, suitor, man, woman and child (…)” (Tharu 1996: 1313). Thus, the students are confronted with different possibilities to see and judge one and the same situation and have to deal with opposing points of view. According to Volkmann, the change of perspectives is “at the heart of concepts of Fremdverstehen through literature” (2015: 247). Through identifying, changing and coordinating perspectives, students are able to broaden their horizon and develop tolerance, empathy and cultural understanding (cf. ibid.). While reading the text, they are able to put themselves in Pandu's shoes and are more likely to understand his point of view as well as his mother’s actions. They will feel aversion to Pandu’s father and ask themselves how exactly the relationship between Pandu’s mother and the overseer can be defined. They will also be able to understand the experiences of exclusion, teasing, rumours and insults that Pandu makes as a student, since the situations described might be similar to their own experiences in class. Due to the identifying, coordinating and changing of perspectives, intercultural learning is promoted and the students are made sensitive to the Dalits' fate. The promotion of intercultural awareness is another important point that can be added to the positive aspects of the text. In a compact form, the literary text opens up the possibility of insight into the life in the caste system in India and in particular into the life of the Dalits. Furthermore, it provides the necessary insight into foreign worlds and lives and thus makes its contribution to understanding the foreign culture (cf. Nünning 2001: 7). Nünning explains: “Literarische Texte ermöglichen den Lesern bzw. den Lernern eine Reihe von Erfahrungen außerhalb ihrer eigenen Lebenswirklichkeit, die in der Wirklichkeit aus unmittelbar ersichtlichen Gründen unmöglich sind” (ibid.: 8). Reading the text enables the students to accompany Pandu and his mother in their daily lives. They get to know the problems Dalits have to deal with and the ways in which they are viewed and treated by society. They dive into the family history and learn what it means to grow up and live in the lowest caste and what it means to be an “Untouchable”. The text meets the demands the intercultural turn 139 in foreign language teaching asks for: It portrays a strange and unknown location – the Dalit settlement – and characters – Bagul, Bagul’s Mother, the overseer, Pandu’s classmates and the family’s neighbours – and enables the students to encounter “the other” (cf. Wandel et. Al 2007: 209). It is the possibility to learn about another language and culture alien to one’s own in a German EFL classroom setting (cf. Ahrens 2012: 186). Moreover, by reading the story and experiencing the intercultural contact made possible by it, a so-called "third place" or "third space" is created (Delanoy 2012: 160). The term coined by Kramsch (cf. 1993: 233-253) alludes to a newly created place, which “includes a mix of positions in the interest of personal and sociocultural transformation in line with a power-critical and democratic agenda” (Delanoy 2012: 160). In addition to the possibility to have discussions about the caste system and political inequality in class, the text also offers the opportunity to reflect on the speechlessness of the female subject in the postcolonial discourse since “Bagul centres the subaltern mother’s experience in terms of the multiple strands of repression she has to negotiate” (Roy 2010: 89). Furthermore, some of the text's locations or topics are well suited to link in with the pupils’ own surroundings. Examples here are the introductory passage describing a classroom situation as well as topics such as motherhood or family disputes in general. In addition, the short story is also very well suited to question stereotypes and correct one's own assumptions about the foreign culture. Having looked at different chances of dealing with “Mother” in the EFL classroom, the following part will focus on possible challenges that may arise while dealing with the short story in class. A first challenge that students are confronted with while reading the short story is the fact that the story is not told chronologically and that the narrator jumps back and forth between the perspectives of the mother and her son. Although the time-span of the story has a typical brevity, the narrative is structured in a series of episodes. Those episodes flashback from the present to the past, jump from location to location, and shift the focus from the private to the outer world continuously (cf. Tharu 1996: 1313). However, one solution for this problem could be to arrange and structure a chronology of events together with the students (text excerpts that depict the content of the story could be arranged in groups). The chronology of the events could then be presented as a panel painting. 140 Another and probably the most difficult challenge of dealing with the text in the EFL classroom is the fact that the caste system in India and especially the treatment of women in the lowest caste is a complex and rather distant topic for German students. Too many areas of Indian everyday life are unknown to the students and seem extremely strange and unfamiliar. This makes the reception of the Indian short story or the understanding of Indian social conventions and structures difficult. The lack of knowledge about the social structures and the ways of life in India challenges the students to develop understanding, empathy and tolerance for the foreign culture (cf. Wandel 2001: 6). According to Shankar, due to misconception and ignorance, especially the caste system is still a difficult topic to deal with in school (cf. 2017: 338). However, factual texts which provide students with historical and societal background knowledge can facilitate the understanding of the foreign culture and enable students to form an informed opinion. In general, according to Wandel, additional material on the subjects the short story deals with (caste system, gender role distribution in Indian society etc.) should be selected with care in order to avoid negative feelings or the reinforcement of stereotypical thinking and stereotypical clichés in students (cf. ibid.). Another sensitive topic that is dealt with in the story is the treatment of women in the lowest caste. Bagul discloses a complex network of constrains Pandu’s mother encounters as well as multiple lines of repression (cf. Roy 2010: 90). She is a lower caste woman who is sexually exploited by her lover, her husband disfigured her, distrusted her and took his frustration about his sickly existence out on her; she is the victim of their female neighbours’ envy and their husbands’ lust; she cannot meet the expectations placed on her as a mother and is misunderstood by her son. All this might be difficult for students to understand. Therefore, they must be equipped with adequate background knowledge and material, which sensitise them for the topic. A fourth thematic aspect in the story that could be a challenge to the students is death. This is not only about Pandu's mother's character assassination by society, but also the real murders and deaths which the story narrates. First, there is the death of Pandu's father resulting from his illness. Then there is the feeling of wanting to kill both Pandu and his mother. When Kishan mocks Pandu, he starts feeling a “demonic, murderous rage rising within him” (Bagul 1992: 184). Bagul goes on: “He could have killed them, murdered them in all in cold blood. It was good to think of them lying together in a pool of 141 blood.” (ibid.). A similar feeling overcomes Pandu's mother when she sees in her son’s eyes the “same dark suspicion” she has seen before in her husband’s eyes (ibid.: 188). In teaching, the difficult issue of death could be bypassed at least in part by focusing the main analysis on other important issues in the text, such as ‘Gender issues’. However, the topic remains an important part of the short story and should not be left out of the discussion completely. Having presented chances and challenges of dealing with the short story “Mother” by Baburao Bagul in the EFL classroom, it becomes obvious that using the text can be problematic. The events described in the narrative are far from the students’ everyday life and are therefore difficult for them to relate to. Furthermore, the topics that are central to the short story are highly sensitive. Understanding the caste system as a social, cultural and religious element will be difficult for students in a Western European classroom. The topic of death and dealing with the situation of Pandu’s mother as a Dalit woman also represents a great challenge to the students’ empathy and understanding. It is questionable whether every student will be able to change perspectives and to put him- or herself into this position. Even though the short story itself contains many postcolonial key concepts and thus makes postcolonial experience possible and brings with it many chances, the challenges predominate and therefore the usage of the short story should be well considered by the teacher. The challenges can be countered with selected approaches and work assignments adapted to the students’ needs, which are to be worked on before, while and after reading the story and thus enable the process of changing perspectives and understanding the facets of the story. Some possible activities will be presented below. 4 Teaching Activities In the following, self-created activities in the context of the stages of pre-, while- and post-reading are presented. They are designed to sensitise the students for the situation and the fate of the main characters of the story and to promote the learners’ processes of understanding with regard to language and content. By working on selected tasks, they are to succeed in better understanding of the narrative, to be able to put themselves in the situation and thus to carry out the change of perspectives. Hence, their empathy and tolerance towards the foreign culture will be promoted and strengthened. 142 Two different task types have been designed for pre-reading activity. In the first task, the students are supposed to read a printed newspaper article and point out the main problems that Dalits have to deal with in their everyday life. By reading excerpts from Pheba Mathew's newspaper article “Caste system is alive and well, and this Dalit woman's story is a wake up call for all Indians” published in The News Minute (pre-reading activity 1), students are already provided with information about the life of a Dalit in the lowest caste. Students accompany Gauri, a Dalit woman, in her daily life and learn a lot about the external circumstances in a Dalit settlement. By way of example, they learn how a Dalit settlement is constructed (sanitary facilities, shopping possibilities etc.). They get prepared for the content of the short story before reading it and get familiarized with the Dalits’ circumstances of life. The main facts presented to them are those relating to the separation of castes, the interaction between castes and the possibilities of political participation and education of the lowest caste. Gauri's history and experiences give them authentic access to this information and thereby their knowledge about the foreign culture is widened. The newspaper article has been adapted due to its length and vocabulary that students may not know is explained at the bottom of the work sheet. Notes can be taken in the mind map printed on the work sheet. They will not only help the students to present their results in class, but also to Ergebnissicherung and knowledge. The second activity focuses on the poem “Lifetime” by Narayan Surve (see appendix pre-reading activity 2). The students are supposed to read the poem and discuss with a partner what the word “assigned” that is repeated throughout the poem means in Dalit context. Based on the poem, the students work out that life in the lowest caste is in all parts determined by others: the lifetime, the life, the streets they walk and the words they speak. The poem also takes up religious aspects and ulterior motives of the Indian caste system by alluding to the fact that if one follows the predeterminations without resistance, the way to heaven is open. The students can take notes on the work sheet. With this task, the students expand their ideas about the caste system in India and about the living conditions of the lowest caste. It is well suited to problematize the social structure of Indian society and to deal more closely with the concept of castes. Through their discussion with a partner and the presentation of their results in the classroom, communicative learning goals are also pursued. Vocabulary aids are provided on the worksheet. 143 The while-reading activity that the students are supposed to work on while reading the short story draws special attention to the language the author uses to evoke emotions in the reader and to make it more easy for the reader to empathize with Pandu and his situation. The choice of strongly emotionally coloured adjectives and adverbs makes the situations presented authentic and lively. In order to analyse the language used by the author, the students are supposed to read the passage from page 183 l. 22 to page 184 l. 10 first. Working on their own, they are asked to write down all adjectives and adverbs that are used by the author to describe Pandu’s situation and feelings in the chart on the worksheet (e.g. venomous (p. 183, l.24), cruelly (p. 183, l.27), woodenly (p. 183, l. 32), confused (p. 184, l. 4), stoutly (p.184, l.4)) with text references in brackets. Together with a partner, they are now asked to analyse the effects that the use of those words have on the reader and the emotions that are triggered while reading the excerpt. The findings are to be noted down in the second column. The worksheet also points out to the students that if they are unaware of the meaning of some words, they can use a dictionary if they want to. Dictionaries are provided by the teacher. A similar task could also be designed for the mother's situation. The task is an attempt to unload the emotionally intense mood of the short story at least in parts by using an analytical approach and focussing on the language used by the author and thus aims at facilitating the identification and coordination of perspectives and by that the comprehension of Pandu's actions and reactions for the students. The task causes the students to think about the use of emotionally coloured words in the text and to reflect upon the effects triggered in the reader. The choice of school as the settings of the scene makes it easier for the students to access the story since they might be able to relate to experiences that are similar to Pandu’s. In addition, the topic of bullying is a very important one in the pupils' everyday school life and one which every pupil can empathize with. As a post-reading activity, one could encourage the students to think about what might have happened after Pandu had run away from his mother. They could either put themselves in Pandu's or his mother's shoes write the end of the story and decide for themselves how the story should end. This task would stimulate their imagination and promote a change of perspective. 144 Pre-reading Activity 1 Pre-reading Activity 2 While-reading Activity Post-reading Activity Operationalisierte Aufgabenstellung Read the text below and find out more about Gauri’s story. Outline the main problems that Dalits have to deal with in their everyday life. Write down your findings in the mind map. Discuss what “assigned” means in the context of Dalits being called “the Untouchables” and belonging to the lowest caste in Indian society. Analyse which effect the use of adjectives and adverbs have on the reader and the emotions that are triggered. Write an ending to the story. What happened after Pandu ran away? Material/Medium Newspaper Article “Caste system is alive and well, and this Dalit woman's story is a wake up call for all Indians” Poem “Lifetime” Worksheet + Short Story Exercise book Sozialform Work alone Work in pairs Work alone/ work in pairs Work alone Didaktischer Kommentar Students are provided with important background knowledge about the caste system in India and about living in the lowest caste through tdealing with the life of Gauri, a Dalit woman. Students deal with the lack of self-determination that is characteristic for the lower caste and acquire important background knowledge for the short story. By analysing and dealing with the emotionally coloured language of the text, students are able to identify and coordinate perspectives more easily, as well as to understand Pandu's behaviour and reactions. After identifying and coordinating perspective, the students now change perspectives. The task promotes Fremdverstehen and stimulates the students’ imagination 145 5 Conclusion The aim of this work was to analyse Baburao Bagul's short story “Mother” with regard to its suitability for use in the EFL classroom by analysing postcolonial key concepts in the story and looking at the narrative from an EFL perspective. First of all, the postcolonial key concepts that can be found in the short story were listed and analysed, namely ‘Othering’, ‘Marginality’, ‘Identity’, ‘Gender issues’ and ‘the Subaltern’. The key concepts chosen contribute greatly to understanding the author's ability to create a postcolonial experience for the reader. The reader gets to know the setting of a Dalit settlement and thus learns a lot about social and societal conditions in India. S/he explores the other culture and thereby empathy, tolerance and understanding for the unknown culture are developed and fostered. In the second part of the paper, some of the postcolonial key concepts were taken up again and their significance or impact for the handling of the text in the EFL classroom was highlighted. On the one hand, the following aspects were named and explained as advantages and opportunities of the dealing with the text in the English lessons of a German class: the advantage of the use of a short story and its flexible usage in the classroom, the multiple perspectives that the narrative offers, the promotion of intercultural awareness, the encountering of ‘the other’ which results in the creation of a ‘third space’ or ‘third place’ as well as the possibility to discuss the Indian caste system, gender, social inequality and speechlessness. The challenges of dealing with the text in the school context, on the other hand, are the following: the diachronic time frame in which the story is told, the focus on complex and topics that are rather distant for German students, the danger of reinforcing stereotypical thinking, and the choice of extremely sensitive topics such as the treatment of women and death. Overall, the text was found to be rather unsuitable for use in an EFL classroom due to its weight-intensive challenges. In the final part of the work, however, attempts were made to counteract these challenges and to prepare the topics in such a way that the students can understand them and find an access to the topic. Furthermore, the focus on the emotionality of the language used by the author aimed at strengthening the empathy and tolerance of the students so that a change of perspective is possible and the foreign can be grasped and understood. 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Tübingen: Gunter Narr Verlag. 148 (Inter-)cultural Encounters in Meher Pestonji's "Outsider" Julia Falter, Sophie Gnech & Svenja Harzem 1 Introduction “More than three-quarters of the people living in the world today have had their lives shaped by the experience of colonialism” (Ashcroft et al. 2010: 1). These experiences do not only include social or economic aspects, but also involve “cultural oppression and alienation [...] [as well as] identity-searching and self-determination” (Wandel et al. 2007: 210). The broad range of literature that reflects colonial and postcolonial issues “attempts to shift the dominant ways in which the relations between western and non- western people and their worlds are viewed” (Young 2003: 2) and has influenced literary studies and educational approaches in various countries. Dealing with India in the German EFL1 classroom does not only imply teaching the Indian diaspora in Great Britain but also more multi-layered and multicultural topics. Recent guidelines of the Kernlehrpläne2 as well as manifold publications on the topic of teaching India in the German EFL classroom have changed the narrow view on the country to a multi-perspective one, recognizing that India is of high interest for German learners. This does not only result from India’s growing importance in the world (cf. Lindner 2008a: 7) but is also due to the shift to a communicative and intercultural teaching of English as a foreign language. However, many Europeans’ views of India is still overshadowed by stereotypical ideas, ignoring the fact that 1 In this paper, EFL is used as a shortened form for ‘English foreign language’. 2 “In recent years several German federal states have included the teaching of India in their new EFL curricula” (Wandel 2013: 387). 149 India is one of the most heterogeneous and culturally complex countries of the world, unifying manifold different cultures, religions, and languages and representing the world’s largest democracy (cf. Volkmann 2010: 114-117). In this context, the topic of India’s most populous city Mumbai is symbolic for many of the diversities and conflicts that India faces in the present days (cf. Teske 2008: 184). It does not only represent India’s successful growth in terms of technology or independence but can also be seen as an example for environmental pollution and extreme poverty due to overpopulation. Meher Pestonji’s short story “Outsider” which was published in 1999 uses this setting to address several cultural and economic differences within the city as they are conveyed through the perspective of a German student named Theresa. This paper aims at answering the question which postcolonial concepts are reflected in the short story “Outsider” as well as the question if the short story is suitable for being read and taught in the German EFL classroom. Initially, the analysis of the short story focuses on a selection of the most important postcolonial key concepts that can be found within this narrative. These concepts are mainly based on the works of Ashcroft, Griffiths and Tiffin (2013). In the second part, the chosen short story is examined based on its suitability for the EFL classroom. Hence, the chances and challenges of teaching Meher Pestonji’s story are presented and discussed in order to determine which aspects can be regarded as beneficial for a literary analysis in the classroom, which problems might occur and how these possible issues could be overcome. The next part presents teaching activities, following the concept of a process-oriented teaching of literature and therefore subdividing the tasks into pre-reading, while-reading and post-reading activities. Finally, the conclusion sums up the analytical results from chapter two and three and gives an outlook on possible future research topics. 2 Postcolonial Key Concepts in “Outsider” The field of postcolonial literary studies includes a broad variety of reoccurring and defining aspects and themes that allude to the different facets that are nowadays associated with postcolonialism. It should be regarded as a dynamic subject as it “has expanded and diversified both in its impact and significance, in fields as varied as [globalisation], environmentalism, transnationalism, the sacred, and even economics” (Ashcroft et al. 2013: VII) over the past years. These themes are re- 150 garded as key concepts by Ashcroft, Griffiths and Tiffin because of their ubiquity in this particular field of study. Meher Pestonji’s short story “Outsider” also contains several of these concepts, although only the most important ones will be discussed briefly in the following section. 2.1 Othering The concept of ‘Othering’ includes “social and/or psychological ways in which one group excludes or [marginalises] another” (ibid.: 188). This form of exclusion “is often influenced by the visibility of one’s otherness: skin [colour], accent, language, physical abilities, gender, or age” (Vichiensing 2017: 127). In addition to that, race or religion may also play a defining role in the discriminating process. While constructing the ‘other’, this concept also focuses on the construction of the self-identity of the superior group (cf. Brons 2015: 70). Although this mental division is usually driven by the group that exercises power (cf. Jeyaraj 2004: 23), it does not necessarily imply that it constitutes a majority on a numerical scale (cf. Jensen 2011: 65). Furthermore, it “breeds inequality […], produces tension, dissention, or even conflict between members of the two groups by treating the other as an inferior” (Vichiensing 2017: 126). ‘Othering’ is closely linked to the concept of ‘marginality’ which refers to “various forms of exclusion and oppression” (Ashcroft et al. 2013: 151) as well as “the limitations of a subject’s access to power” (ibid.). As postcolonial literature offers a voice to historically marginalised groups, it also enables the reader to engage in and experience aspects of the world that may have been inaccessible without these literary texts (cf. Wisker 2007: 204). Hence, scholars like Morton argue that it “is from the margins of colonial subordination and oppression […] that postcolonial writers and theorists claim political and moral authority” (Morton 2010: 162). As one of the major themes that can be found in “Outsider”, the concept of ‘Othering’ should be distinguished into three different levels that allude to each of the three major groups portrayed in the story. The first one is represented by the protagonist Theresa whose perspective is influenced by her foreign German background. The very fact that she is foreign, and thus not part of the Indian culture, is remarked several times by members of the Parsi community. Both Savak and Cawas refer to her as an “oversensitive” (Pestonji 2005: 87) or “sentimental” (ibid.: 97) foreigner, as she disagrees with their attitude regarding child poverty. In fact, they even seem surprised about her 151 differing perspective and the empathy that she shows for the street children as they “thought German girls were tough” (ibid.: 92). This form of stereotyping feels condescending to the protagonist (cf. ibid.: 87). Thus, the difference between her and the members of the Parsi community is highlighted several times during the story. This process of ‘Othering’ culminates in the end when Theresa is “met with icy stares” (ibid.: 103) by her Parsi acquaintances and one of the guests expresses a sarcastic fear of Theresa being infected with a venereal disease (cf. ibid.) due to her contact with the street children of Mumbai. These children that live in poverty are the second group that are heavily othered by the Parsi community. Vichiensing defines that one of the forms of ‘Othering’ can go as far as seeing the other as “less than fully human” (Vichiensing 2017: 126), which can be applied to the way the characters, representatives of the Parsi community, regard the street children. The first example of this can be found within the first cause of dispute between Theresa and her host Cawas, as he clearly distinguishes between “honest citizens like us” (Pestonji 2005: 88) and the beggar children whose death would not make a difference in his eyes (ibid.). These children are even referred to as “filthy monsters” (ibid.: 97) who burden the city “with their dirty, sloppy ways” (ibid.). The most striking instance of this condescending discrimination the Parsis seem to exhibit for street children is the moment they decide to give their leftovers to stray mountain dogs instead of feeding starving children (cf. ibid.: 93-94). As absurd as this may seem to a western protagonist or reader, the Parsis regard the street children of Mumbai as an inferior group which is “defined by its faults” (Vichiensing 2017: 127) and treat them with disgust and intolerance throughout the narrative. As the previous groups of foreigners and street children have become examples of the process of ‘Othering’ through the behaviour and remarks of the members of the Parsi community, the short story also offers an instance in which this third group distances itself from the other inhabitants of India and thus exhibits the construction of self-identity. As Savak recounts the history of the Parsis and their cultural heritage, he states that his community “[is] not dark, like Indians, because [they] come from Persia” (Pestonji 2005: 95). He also emphasises the fact that the Parsis have helped the British to build and shape the city of Mumbai into what it is in the present day (cf. ibid.). This text passage serves as an example for the reader to gain insight into 152 the “mental distance that is created between ‘us’ and ‘them’” (Vichiensing 2017: 127) and the process of categorising individuals into groups of either value or demerit. 2.2 Appropriation The concept of ‘Appropriation’ is a second theme that is represented in the chosen short story. It defines the ways in which postcolonial societies take over those aspects of the imperial culture – language, forms of writing, film, theatre, even modes of thought and argument such as rationalism, logic and analysis – that may be of use to them in articulating their own social and cultural identity. (Ashcroft et al. 2013: 19) An example for this is the impact Indo-English writers have had on the (literary) postcolonial discourse. Meher Pestonji is one of these writers. Among many other Indian authors who deliberately write in English, Pestonji very obviously incorporates the concept ‘Appropriation’ as she uses the former colonizer’s language in order to articulate her cultural and social identity. Furthermore, writing in English enables her to convey her intended messages and strongly contrasting cultural experiences to the broadest audience possible. Even the characters in her story, who show a high proficiency level of English, reflect the importance of the English language, except from Santosh who at least learns English and is able to speak it a little bit (cf. Pestonji 2005: 91). In addition to that, the narrative of “Outsider” presents the reader with two further varieties of ‘Appropriation’ within the text. Santosh, the Indian boy Theresa meets at the day and night shelter and with whom she develops a special relationship throughout the story, has learned some English at school. He speaks English in situations in which it is highly useful for him, for example when being on a train: “On train English useful for TC. […] I no buy ticket. When TC come I say I servant boy. Memsahib have ticket in first class. If you say in English TC believes. Or make me get off train. Wait in jungle for other train” (Pestonji 2005: 91). At least, this way Santosh avoids buying a ticket, which he would not have the money for. It becomes obvious that he adapts the English language when it is of use for him and therefore the concept ‘Appropriation’ is clearly reflected in Santosh’s behaviour. As it has been mentioned before, the Parsi community identifies itself as a group of people that has helped the British to shape the 153 modern-day Mumbai (cf. Pestonji 2005: 95). However, the former coloniser and the western society did not merely influence their historical heritage but also their way of living in India today. Thus, they wear western clothing and they are capable of speaking English very fluently due to their sophisticated jobs and travel experience (cf. ibid.: 90). Theresa even remarks that “[their] lives seemed centred around acquiring imported cosmetics, French perfumes and Swiss chocolate and cheese” (ibid.), while they are not familiar with the myth of Ganesh (cf. ibid.) or the Hindi language (cf. ibid.: 102). This form of ‘Appropriation’ alludes to the aspects of westernisation in terms of clothing, materialism and even culture, as the members of the Parsi community perceive this way of living as extremely prestigious and desirable. 2.3 Contact Zone The last striking key concept that the short story “Outsider” presents is the theme of ‘Contact Zone’. ‘Contact Zone’ is comparable to the third space meaning “the space beyond the given binaries” (Döring 2008: 30) but in a more immediate “sense of cross-cultural encounters and transactions in the field” (ibid.). Being in this 'Contact Zone' signifies being situated in a space of in-between-ness, as one holds a position which belongs to none of the two sides. The term was introduced by Mary Pratt who defines that it refers 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 1991: 34). These ‘Contact Zones’ can either appear within the literary narratives or can address the reader’s “own subject-position in transcultural negotiation and confrontation” (Ashcroft et al. 2013: 62). Pratt and other scholars emphasise on the merits this concept encompasses as this “contact perspective may also help us understand and negotiate the points of contact between different voices and perspectives within texts” (Edelstein 2005: 27). Sticking to this definition, “both aspects of the contact zone – as place of contestation and struggle, or as site of mutual respect and dialogue” (ibid.) can be found in Meher Pestonji’s short story “Outsider”. As a German sociology student, who has come to Mumbai to study and document the lives of street children, Theresa’s point of view often diverges from the perspectives of the people she is engaged with in the short story. This difference of opinion becomes most ap- 154 parent when the perception and interaction with street children is addressed. Theresa and her hosts, who are members of the Parsi community, can be seen as polar opposites in this particular topic which often results in arguments. Although Theresa seems to be aware that “contrasts were bound to surface” (Pestonji 2005: 86), Savak or Cawas’ opinions and remarks seem incomprehensible and partially also unforgivable to her (cf. ibid.: 92). As she proposes to give the leftover food to starving children, she has to witness how her Parsi acquaintances prefer to give it to stray dogs (cf. ibid.: 94). Thus, she feels “angry” (ibid.) and “revolted” (ibid.) as she comments that she “[did not] realise that some people prioritise stray dogs over starving human beings” (ibid.). When she utters her admiration for the resilience and tenacity that she has observed in the behaviour of the children, she is met with a lack of understanding from Savak and realises that he is “incapable of looking beyond the dirt and grime of physical reality” (ibid.: 97). As much as Theresa is unable to grasp the way of perceiving poverty through the eyes of the Parsi community, they are also not able to share her opinions. Cawas even states in the beginning that “[foreigners] are oversensitive to poverty. [The native population] is inoculated against it from birth. […] [Otherwise they would] be miserable every day of [their] lives” (ibid.: 87). The conflict about the perception of poverty in this short story illustrates that the divergent opinions result from a differing cultural background and thus represents a clash of cultural norms and values. The text also offers other passages that show forms of the ‘Contact Zone’ on the level of tradition and economics. At one point of the story Theresa becomes aware of the difference between her voluntary work for the street children and the amount of money Indian social workers, like her acquaintance Jyoti, receive for this kind of work (cf. ibid.: 96) in comparison to herself. Another text passage highlights the symbolic character of traditional Indian clothing (cf. ibid.: 97) and the unknown symbolisms different pieces of clothing can possess. Theresa also recounts the issues that she had to face with the concept of punctuality, which does not seem to be as important for Indians as it is for Germans (cf. ibid.: 100). Although the analysis of the postcolonial key concepts of the short story “Outsider” is limited in length and depth due to the brevity of this paper, it has shown that a close reading and interpretation of even short narratives offers a diverse and detailed insight into postcolonial societies. 155 3 Analysis from the point of view of Teaching English as a Foreign Language The following chapter analyses to what extent the short story “Outsider” is suitable for being read and taught in the German EFL classroom. Therefore, chances and challenges of using the text in class are thoroughly examined. 3.1 Chances The following analysis of the chances is divided into three parts: First, advantages of teaching postcolonial literature in general are examined. Then the focus shifts to merits of teaching Indian literature. Finally, specific chances of teaching Pestonji’s short story “Outsider” are outlined. With regards to postcolonial writing, a definite chance of teaching these texts is their “contribution to taking transcultural developments into account and facing social realities that go beyond the notions of nation and national cultures” (Eisenmann 2015: 224). By providing the students with literary texts of cultures which are different from what they know and of authors who belong to ethnic minorities, they are familiarized “with other worlds [and confronted] with different cultural, social and moral standards” (Lindner 2008b: 69). As Wandel et al. (2007) underline, the intercultural turn in foreign language teaching asks for and demands literary texts that portray strange, ‘exotic’, unknown locations and characters, claiming that this exemplary encounter with ‘the other’, […] will help German students to raise their intercultural awareness. (209) Thereby, one can see that postcolonial literatures do not only offer chances in teaching but are also becoming more and more necessary in the classroom. According to Volkmann (2015), dealing with postcolonial literature in the classroom, furthermore, enables students to develop “feelings of empathy, tolerance, acceptance or solidarity with regard to suppressed, marginalized and discriminated-against groups or individuals” (244). In addition to that, the development of Fremdverstehen and intercultural competence is fostered through the changing of perspectives and the students’ ability to engage in (intercultural) discourse is strengthened (cf. Freitag & Gymnich 2007: 259). An addi- 156 tional affective learning goal can be reached in this context, namely the elimination of stereotypes and prejudices (cf. ibid.). According to Lindner (2010), the use of texts from Indian authors can be justified by the fact that “India is everywhere” (59). One cannot ignore India when teaching the English language, as it is the “country with the largest number of English speakers outside Great Britain and the United States” (ibid.: 60). Furthermore, India offers a huge variety of topics to be dealt with that allow incorporating aspects of intercultural learning into English teaching, which is one of the most important goals in the TEFL3 syllabus (cf. ibid.: 60). Having depicted a selection of chances of teaching postcolonial (Indian) literature in the EFL classroom, the focus will now shift to the particular advantages of using the short story “Outsider”. Meher Pestonji can be regarded as a minority author, as she belongs to the religious community of the Parsis. Referring to Volkmann (2008), such a text provides “a valid educational purpose by challenging ethnocentric modes of perception” (20). With a look at the restricted amount of texts used in the German EFL classroom, one can regard “Outsider” as the perfect replacement of those canonical texts (cf. Wandel 2013: 390). Furthermore, the short story is an example of authentic teaching material, because it was not written for the purpose of being taught in school. This has the innate potential of motivating students to learn a foreign language. One of the aspects that renders the short story “Outsider” especially appealing for the EFL classroom is its setting of Bombay, which is nowadays regarded as “a focal point of postcolonial, national, regional and global change” (Teske 2008: 188). Therefore, teaching “Outsider” which is set in today’s Mumbai also assures to deal with diverse current backgrounds. Coming along with this argument, the short story “Outsider” “provides substantial and provoking insights into present-day Bombay society” (Wandel 2013: 390) and is at the same time easier to decode in terms of narrative structure as for example Altaf Tyrewala’s novel No God in Sight which is likewise set in Mumbai. Teske (2008) precisely summarises the immense advantages of using texts set in Mumbai: Bombay has become a challenging and interesting topic for advanced learners […] [because of its] colourful colonial and industrial 3 In this paper, TEFL is used as a shortened form for ‘Teaching English as a Foreign Language’. 157 past as a global city avant la lettre. […] The city symbolises the country’s diversity of castes, religions, trades and classes. […] Mumbai is a symbol of the environmental problems of land reclamation and landfills, the pollution of air, tidal and back water, and the creation of slum areas and illegal dumps in swamps and coastal mangrove reserves. In spite of these problems, Bombay/Mumbai remains central to the Indian literary and music scene and the national information and entertainment industries. (184) Especially this short story enables different insights into the “diversity and complexity of Indian life” (ibid.: 189), in contrast to the predominating stereotypes and impressions as for example Bollywood or the Indian cuisine. “Outsider” sensitises students for the omnipresent social injustice in India as the gap between rich and poor is growing even wider (cf. Lindner 2010: 59). As children are demographically seen one of the largest population groups that has to suffer from poverty, such a complex and difficult topic like child poverty needs to be introduced in the classroom by giving the students access to different perspectives (cf. Nünning 1999: 8). In “Outsider” the situation of the street children is not only addressed by the Parsi characters or Theresa but also by the Indian social workers named Jyoti and Santosh, who represent an example of these children who live in poverty. Thus, this issue is approached through a great variety of differing aspects. The reader gains insight into the perceptions of higher social classes, the reactions of foreigners but also into the historical background, the current situation and the dangers of living on the streets of Mumbai from the point of view of an experienced social worker and a child who has lived through a number of hardships and traumatic experiences. Wandel (2013) reveals another advantage that can be perfectly adapted to Pestonji’s “Outsider”: “When approaching Indian life and cultures, it seems to be easier for us […] to identify with a European character encountering and coming to grips with the ‘Other’ that is India. It makes it less difficult to bridge the cultural gap” (392). As has been analysed previously, this short story offers different facets of the concept of ‘Othering’, which enables the reader to experience how different character groups view certain issues. In the short story “Outsider” the figure of Theresa functions as a mediator “between the reader and the unfamiliar habits and customs of India. The [protagonist is] challenged by a new and unknown environment and experience[s] it from an outside perspective that can be comprehended and 158 followed by a Western readership” (ibid.: 392-393). The problems that Theresa faces throughout her story, whether they concern cultural values such as punctuality or moral problems like the experiences of the different perspectives regarding child poverty are illustrated in an easily accessible way for German students. The creation of the feeling of empathy in the readers is thus facilitated. Furthermore, the concept of intercultural learning and teaching is characterised by the experience of a ‘third space’ which is also referred to as hybridity (cf. Freitag & Gymnich 2007: 268-267, Grimm et al. 2015: 183). It describes a place of clashing cultural norms, values and issues and aims to overcome dichotomous and binary ways of thinking (cf. ibid.). Not only will this third space be enabled through the students by discussing the various perspectives presented in the short story, but a lesson could also focus on the ‘third space’ that is illustrated within the narrative itself. The analysis of the postcolonial key concept of the ‘Contact Zone’ has already established the various points of divergence that are represented in “Outsider”. These could play a central role in an analysis of the opinions presented or the behaviour demonstrated within the story and how these issues might have been resolved in other ways. The various chances that can be harnessed by teaching this particular short story facilitate the aim of teaching intercultural competence as presented in Byram’s model of ICC4, namely the development of empathy towards different cultures, minorities etc., is reached (cf. Grimm et al. 2015: 166-167). This may be regarded as the most striking chance of selecting this short story in the context of a teaching unit on India in the German EFL classroom. 3.2 Challenges Apart from the manifold chances of reading and teaching Pestonji’s “Outsider” in the EFL classroom, the text also implies challenges, which are investigated hereafter. One may argue that instead of choosing a text like “Outsider” which is set in India, “issues set in multicultural Britain or the USA are, arguably, easier to comprehend for German school students. The setting and the social environment are more familiar to them and their background [...]” (Wandel 2013: 389). Nevertheless, in that case students would have to “be made aware of the fact that these are repre- 4 Intercultural communicative competence. 159 sentations of diasporic life, of multicultural Britain, rather than of the ‘real’ India” (ibid.). Here one can again outweigh the challenge mentioned with the chance of life in ‘real’ India being depicted in “Outsider”. One aspect that may be challenging for the students is the language used in “Outsider”. For German EFL students, decoding postcolonial Indian literature may cause an increased effort because of its “culturally and linguistically blended character” (Mukherjee 2006: 147). In addition to that Pestonji (2005) uses a lot of Hindi words describing Indian clothing or Hindu gods (“Mahalaxmi”: 86; “kaftan”: 86; “shalwaar-kameez”: 90; “dupatta”: 97, only to mention a few). For this reason, scaffolding would definitely be needed. This challenge can nevertheless be dispelled easily as the short story appears in many short story collections by well-known German publishing houses, which already suggest scaffolding annotations. While advantages of working with postcolonial texts in general have been examined in chapter 3.1, the challenges coming along with this genre have to be considered as well. Eisenmann (2015) states that “for German students postcolonial issues are rather complex and distant topics. A spontaneous approach to this cannot be expected” (226). Referring to India Lindner (2010), she claims that “the country is also a nation of contradictions” (59) which implies that the topics dealt with in postcolonial texts are comparably not easily accessible. An example for the high complexity of certain topics in Indian society can be found in the presentation of the Parsi community in “Outsider”. The text provides some insight into the historical heritage the Parsi community has had in the past but only little information on their role in society today. The characterisation of the Parsi community within “Outsider” is also mainly negative, as the protagonist struggles to comprehend their perception of poverty. Additional information could avoid a generalisation of the negative image that is conveyed in the short story and highlight the important contributions the Parsis have made in the context of industrialisation and modernisation (cf. Teske 2008: 194). Teske proposes tasks that “raise the question of migration and ethnic diversity within the city, and [introduce] the concept of (changing) urban elites and their use of urban space” (ibid.: 195) with the example of the Tata family. Alternative approaches to the Parsi community could thus avoid binary thinking of the students and fulfil the demand of including multiple perspectives in order to 160 foster the students’ ability to critically reflect upon concepts like subjectivity and unilateral or biased representation. As we can see, dealing with postcolonial Indian texts in class therefore requires a thorough preparation, providing the students with necessary background information as well as careful introductions into the varying themes in order to not overwhelm them with the complexity of the Indian country and its (postcolonial) context. In addition to that, India offers manifold topics to be addressed, as for example life in the slums and the huge discrepancy between the rich and the poor, the religious and cultural diversity of India or even the country’s development within the last decades, industry and globalisation going along with this. When designing a teaching unit, it has to be thoroughly considered which topics to address and which ones to leave out or only touch upon. This, of course, could be regarded as a chance as well, especially because the topical diversity offered makes interdisciplinary projects easy to realise. All things considered, teaching India is, despite all chances, always a time-consuming project for German EFL teachers. The second most challenging aspect alludes to the sensitive topics that are addressed within this short story while it lacks “‘lightness’ and humour” (Wandel 2013: 396) at the same time. Not only does the text focus on children living in extreme poverty, it also exemplifies the various dangers that are associated with this way of living: malnutrition (cf. Pestonji 2005: 88), drug abuse and sickness (cf. ibid.: 90), starvation (cf. ibid.: 94), isolation (cf. ibid.: 98) and even rape (cf. ibid.: 103) are included in Theresa’s experiences with the street children of Mumbai. The forms of urban violence, especially the ones including sexual abuse, are very present topics and “[polarise] divisions between the slums and the city” (Datta 2016: 323). Although it may be a current issue, the teacher should be aware of the fact that these topics may cause uneasiness and discomfort in the classroom or may even allude to personal traumatic experiences of individual students as the worst-case scenario. However, Jackett remarks that “the things that make us uncomfortable are the things that are the most important for us to teach about” (Jackett 2007: 102). Nevertheless, sensitive topics like the rape of Santosh require an equally sensitive way of approach if these topics are to be addressed in the classroom. A last challenge to be mentioned here is the complexity of the concept of ‘Othering’ in “Outsider”. The students experience the story through Theresa’s ‘Western’ eyes, which makes it easier for them to 161 access it, but still the constellation of the Parsis as the ‘Other’ who marginalize the ‘other’ (the poor), is complicated for the students to grasp. Here a thorough Vorentlastung has to be provided from the teacher’s side. After having presented the major challenges that a teaching unit of the short story “Outsider” would have to face, it becomes clear that a spontaneous approach to this narrative would prove to be rather difficult. In order to secure the students’ comprehension of the complex topics that involve different social classes and child poverty in India additional material should be presented and discussed in the classroom. Furthermore, the sensitive issues of the narrative constitute a major part of “Outsider” and should be addressed and interpreted. The introduction, presentation and the ways in which the students have to engage with these topics, however, have to be carefully constructed and sensitive towards possible individual inhibitions. 3.3 Is “Outsider” suitable for the EFL classroom? An Appraisal. After having thoroughly analysed the chances and challenges of teaching Meher Pestonji’s short story “Outsider” in the EFL classroom, one can clearly state that this short story is suitable for being taught during a teaching unit on India in the Sekundarstufe II. It has become obvious that teaching this short story offers a lot of chances addressing “a seemingly infinite number of contentious issues that must not be shirked by the teacher but […] ought to be functionalized productively within the framework of a critical and responsible pedagogic concept” (Antor 2000: 245). Although several challenges have been pointed out, solutions could be presented and therefore the next chapter is going to depict possible teaching activities which can be used when dealing with “Outsider” in the EFL classroom. 4 Teaching Activities As engaging with literature is a highly complex process, students can be supported by providing them with guiding tasks and materials. The following part of this term paper will present possible pre-, while- and post-reading activities, which will focus on the chances and challenges of interpreting “Outsider” in the EFL classroom. This tripartite structure derives from the constructivist principles of learning and acknowledges that every learner develops their knowledge based on their own individual background. Thus, these activities aim at fostering the students’ interaction with the text and facilitate the interde- 162 pendency of individual factors such as previous knowledge, expectations of the text and its interpretation (cf. Nünning & Surkamp 2010: 71). 4.1 Pre-Reading-Activity Motivating the students and enabling them to voice preceding expectations about certain topics (cf. ibid.: 72) are the characteristics that are most important for the following pre-reading activity for “Outsider”. As was mentioned beforehand, one of the major challenges of this particular short story can be found on the level of content because it addresses various sensitive issues like poverty and sexual abuse. In order to facilitate the introduction of these topics, the students will be given a set of multiple-choice questions that deal with statistical facts about poverty in the city of Mumbai before engaging with the situation and environment of street children in more detail. Afterwards, the lesson will continue with the documentary Slumdog Children of Mumbai which was published in 2010 and illustrates the life of four street children and their various daily struggles (cf. Real Stories 2016). While watching the documentary, the students will be asked to correct their answers of the multiple-choice questions on their worksheet. As the questions are presented in the same order in which the factual knowledge of these issues is presented within the video, the correction of the answers will be facilitated while the students gain insights into the visual and representative situation of homeless children in Mumbai. The next task expects the learners to reflect on the content shown in the documentary in contrast to the expectations they had before engaging with this topic. The lesson will then be concluded by sharing their first impressions of this topic with a partner and later with the class. This task aims at a verbalisation of the discrepancy between their first expectations and the factual reality of the situation in Mumbai. By sharing these thoughts, the students realise how culturally shaped certain expectations and stereotypes of other countries can be and how these opinions diverge from reality. Introducing the students to issues like drug abuse, sexual abuse and extreme poverty through the examples shown in this documentary alleviates the personal insights into these topics that the characters of “Outsider” experience and present. In addition to that, the learners get a more realistic view of the actual circumstances of street children in Mumbai and the ubiquity of poverty in India, which facilitates discussions about the different perspectives of the characters in “Outsider”. 163 4.2 While-Reading-Activity The while-reading activity aims at securing the students’ comprehension of the text (cf. Nünning & Surkamp 2010: 74) as well as fostering their ability to read through a literary narrative in an active manner (cf. ibid.: 75). For this form of active reading the students will be separated into three different groups as they will have to focus on finding text passages that contain information about the depiction of either Theresa, the street children or the Parsi community. This kind of activity uses the advantage of “Outsider” and its multitude of perspectives, representations and various forms of ‘Othering’ that were analysed in the beginning of this term paper. However, examining all three character groups at the same time would pose to be an overwhelming task. Hence, the students will only have to focus on one of the three dimensions in order to facilitate this activity. The final part of this task ensures that each learner gains the insight needed for further characterisations in possible post-reading activities. Thus, the groups will exchange their findings which expects each learner to be able to present his or her results and learn from the insights and perspectives their classmates have gained by focusing on the other groups. Textual, communicative and social competences will, hence, be fostered by the close reading and the following group work. 4.3 Post-Reading-Activity Facing the fact that the students have now dealt with the content of the short story “Outsider” in detail, the post-reading phase allows them to creatively express their reflections and thoughts. According to Grimm, Meyer and Volkmann (2015), “[t]he post-reading phase provides space for creative activities, which centre on the interests, knowledge, and competences of learners and motivate them to work individually or with others on palpable products” (188). As Eisenmann (2015) points out, the students should “first express their personal reactions to the topic, mood, tone, and language [...]” in the post-reading phase (230). This should be complemented with a follow-up and interpretation in which the students can refer back to their individual impressions and the findings they acquired during the reading process. In the post-reading phase, the students are asked to take Theresa’s position and write a letter to her best friend in England after having talked to Jyoti (Pestonji 2005: 98) about her relationship with Santosh. Since they have gathered information about children living in the slums of Mumbai already in the pre-reading phase and as they know 164 about Santosh after having read the story, this task is now supposed to make the students refer back to their feelings and impressions of the former phases. Thereby, a frame is established between pre- and postreading activity. Writing a letter is not a difficult task for the students in terms of text form or use of vocabulary, so the affective filter is kept low. This enables the students to focus on their reflections on the story and on the children’s situation in Mumbai. This will most probably lead many students to think about Theresa’s situation, feeling the strong desire to help but being told not to develop any special relations with the children. The aim of this task is to make the students understand that one can only change something if they try to change the system, which is an important lesson to be learned, not only in the context of child poverty in India. Pre-Reading-Activity While-Reading-Activity Post-Reading-Activity Operationalisierte Aufgabenstellung Look at the multiple-choice questions below and read them carefully. Guess which one of the answers may be correct. Watch the documentary “Slumdog Children of Mumbai”. Compare and correct your answers if necessary. Use the space below to compare your first guesses with the insights gained from the documentary. Did anything surprise you? Explain why. Present your impressions and results to your partner. Highlight and point out the specific descriptions of your assigned character group. Note down the text passages below. Your group is: - Theresa - Street children - Parsi community Find two students who have worked on the other two character groups. Present your findings to each other and note them down. Imagine you are Theresa. You have just talked to Jyoti about your relationship with Santosh. As you have no one to talk to about your feelings, you write a letter to your best friend in England (~200 words). Tell her/ him: about the children’s situation in Mumbai, about Cawas and Zenia’s reaction to the street children, how the situation with Santosh has developed during your work in the shelter, how you feel about having been told not to help Santosh and 165 ask her for advice concerning how you could help him and the other children. Material/ Medium Arbeitsblatt mit Mutliple Choice-Questions Dokumentation Smartboard o.ä. Text “Outsider” Arbeitsblatt Sozialform 1.-3. Einzelarbeit 4. Partnerarbeit 1. Einzelarbeit 2. Gruppenarbeit. Einzelarbeit Didaktisch- Methodischer Kommentar The content of the short story addresses several sensitive issues such as poverty and sexual abuse, which are very far removed from the students’ everyday reality. Therefore, the pre-activity focuses on confronting the students’ expectations about poverty in India and introduces them to its ubiquity and severity on a factual level. It also provides an affectionate introduction into the topic as the documentary focuses on four authentic examples of child poverty in Mumbai. The last two tasks focus on reflecting the students’ expectations with the reality of poverty in India, thus facilitating the encounter of this topic when working with the short story. The short story contains three major character groups that differ in various aspects such as social/cultural background or their opinion about poverty. Focusing on text passages that describe these character groups will facilitate further discussions and analysis elements in the post-reading phase. The division into three groups results in a fostering of the communicative and social competence of each student, as everybody will have to present his/her result in small groups. As an alternative, the students could be asked to write a diary entry instead of a letter. This way the focus could shift to the characteristics of this text form. One should be careful with choosing peerfeedback on the texts in this case because it can be expected that some students express strong feelings in their letters. Nevertheless, the students’ writings shall at least offer the possibility of further discussions on the topics presented in the text as they have now all reflected on them in detail. 166 5 Conclusion This paper has made an attempt to answer the questions mentioned in the introduction, namely which postcolonial concepts are reflected in the short story “Outsider” by Meher Pestonji and if the story is suitable for the use in the EFL classroom. The search for and interpretation of the most prominent key concepts of this story, namely ‘Othering’, ‘Contact Zone’ and ‘Appropriation’, showed that it contains a range of different themes and topics that are essential for the postcolonial discourse and enable the reader to engage with these issues in a dense and short narrative. Each of these concepts presented a very detailed and multifaceted way of enabling various interpretations while expressing a realistic postcolonial experience. Thus, the reader is confronted with the reality of a modern Indian city and the divergence between the classes in terms of social status and situation, their way of life and their attitudes, for example concerning child poverty. The analysis of these key concepts also influenced the second part of this paper in which possible chances and challenges of “Outsider” were presented and discussed. One of the most remarkable qualities of this short story is the Identifikationspotential it offers for the German EFL classroom, as the clash of cultures within the narrative reflects on problems a western reader could also struggle to comprehend. The encounter with the ‘other’ on different levels of “Outsider” as well as the representation of the ‘third space’ definitely contribute to the suitability of this literary narrative in the classroom. However, the challenges of required background knowledge in order to prevent a unilateral characterisation of the Parsi community, a westernised examination of poverty in India and the difficulty of teaching some of the sensitive issues that are dealt with in this text have to be considered when planning a teaching unit. The pre-, while- and post-reading activities that were proposed in the last part of the analysis tried to overcome the challenges that were mentioned while utilising the advantages of this particular short story. However, a greater variety of different tasks would be needed in order to cover all of the aspects that were presented about “Outsider”. For instance, it should be noted that the pre-reading activity solely focuses on the aspect of poverty and the life of street children in Mumbai. Although the documentary introduces the students to the dangers of child poverty, it may not fulfil its purpose in facilitating the approach 167 to this sensitive topic. In addition to that, the activity does not include any further information about the Parsi community. Although it was mentioned that the genre of short stories entails the possibility of including a variety of texts and perspectives into a teaching unit, additional tasks that focus on dealing with the issues of “Outsider” in depth could lead to problems regarding the available time for this topic in the EFL classroom. However, as challenging as the task of teaching this particular short story may seem, it should be argued that reading “Outsider” with German students entails a broad range of merits if the teacher is able to convey its messages in a careful and meaningful way. When it comes to teaching material, it has been pointed out by several critics that “canonical novels and films are easily available, while other materials […] are neglected, because it is difficult to get hold of them [and that] no attempts seem to be undertaken to overcome this deficiency” (Wandel 2013: 396). For this reason, further research in the context of teaching postcolonial texts and especially teaching India could focus on the research and improvement of motivational material for teenagers and its application to the EFL classroom. Wandel also states that this project requires a “panel of crosscultural experts from both sides [as well as] sharing and understanding of [the] German youth” (397). The eager and ambitious teacher should nevertheless consider if this would not be worth the effort, keeping in mind the continuously demotivated students in the EFL classroom and the increasingly outdated material and texts used in many classes. 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Abstract

The 21st century has seen a growing importance of India in foreign language education. Not only has globalisation led to a reshaping of life in India itself, but, on a global scale, the enlarging Indian diaspora has resulted in a spreading and reflection of Indian (diasporic) experiences in economy, literature and (pop)culture. This anthology provides perspectives of how to read and teach these ‘faces’ of postcolonial India. Thereby, it focusses on a variety of literary texts worth implementing in teaching units. The articles take the perspective of literary and cultural studies as base and aim at interconnecting it to major concepts and theories of teaching literature and culture. Finally, it is the aim of this anthology to provide ideas of how to actively teach the different ‘faces’ of postcolonial India in the (advanced) intercultural EFL classroom.