The New “Word Order:” A Global Case Study of Nuyorican Literary Pedagogy

CGS Brown Bag Series
Nov 16, 2016
12:15 PM to 01:15 PM
463 Burrowes

Molly Appel, Penn State

This talk will discuss the ways that the celebrated, quintessential practices of the Nuyoricans (New York Puerto Ricans) as groundbreaking and experimental writers claiming new space for Latin@ identity also demystified and re-routed the underlying pedagogical directives underlying in global human rights narratives of the late 60s and 70s as they were present in legal, popular media, and historical registers. “Pedagogy” is the combination of theory and practice (or “praxis”) that forms the structure of learning for personal and societal development. Traditionally, pedagogy is understood to be generated by a hegemonic “teacher” figure. However, if we look at the approaches Nuyorican writers took to representing the figure of the student in their literary work through the critical pedagogy of Brazilian educator Paulo Freire, we can identify how it is through the figure of the student that Nuyorican writers revealed and re-directed the “humanizing” pedagogical rhetoric of late 60s and 70s. Taking up this analysis not only recognizes the contributions of the Nuyoricans to the world-wide social movements of this era, but encourages us to consider how Latino/a literary perspectives and practices provide pathways to broader frameworks of analysis for scholars concerned with the development of human rights.


Molly Dooley Appel is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Comparative Literature with a minor in Latin American Studies. Molly was a 2007 Teach For America (TFA) corps member in New York City, teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) in Washington Heights and in the Bronx for 4 years. At Penn State she has been a teaching assistant in Comparative Literature, a research assistant and dissertation fellow for The Center for Global Studies, an instructor of Rhetoric and Composition, and an officer for the Penn State Americanists and the organization for Graduates in International Languages and Literatures. She is currently the Forrest S. Crawford Fellow in Ethical Inquiry with the Rock Ethics Institute.

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