Pratt, Arts of the Contact Zone

1353 Words6 Pages
Understanding Pratt After talking to students in classroom who were assigned to do a project on Pratt, getting a frequent response “I didn’t read it, it’s too hard to comprehend” was an ordinary thing. Therefore, writing a response to Pratt’s essay in a language that is comprehendible by regular people can be very helpful to those struggling students. In "Arts of the Contact Zone" Pratt discusses the mix of two different cultures in one area. Where one person is born and lives in a "contact zone" he/she is surrounded by two different conflicting cultures, and there are two different languages. She also introduces us with a new word "autoethnography", which means the way in which subordinate peoples present themselves in ways that their…show more content…
Poma 's drawings use the autoethnography to highlight the transcultural symbolism and nature of his letter. Guaman Poma 's letter to the king of Spain is not the only way Pratt uses autoethnographic text. She uses her son 's experiences in grammar school to represent the relationship between cross-cultural communication and the communication between the teacher and the student. Pratt describes this relationship as a contact zone, where two cultures clash in one area (the classroom) and where there is a dominant culture (teacher) and subordinate culture (student). Just like Freire explains the "banking concept" of education where the student is expected to obey the oppressor, while he or she is making the "deposits" in students’ minds, Pratt is using "Arts of the Contact Zones" to represent this relationship. Where the teacher gives out a task and the student must obey the command in order to do "better" in school. Pratt’s son, Manuel 's teacher gives them homework to write a paragraph using single-sentence responses to a few questions. However, Manuel is unwilling to be oppressed, and he tries to resist the assignment in an innovative way. He is expected "to identify with the interests of those in power over him-parents, teachers, doctors, public authorities" (pg. 592) but he mocks this assignment in his mockery can be noticed in the very beginning of his paragraph, the title. He spells it "A Grate Adventchin" and he does that not because he is a
Open Document