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  • 0 read more Introduction: Postcolonial Studies (After Identity)

    Introduction: Postcolonial Studies (After Identity)

    by Ervin Beck

    A funny thing happened on Ellah Wakatama's way to writing a postcolonial critique of Sofia Samatar's prize-winning fantasy novel, Stranger in Olondria. She became seduced by the act of reading, independent of ideology and literary theory. Her awareness of postcolonial elements in Samatar's work comes through, but her reader's delight in words and thought predominate in her essay, which is in the tradition of reader-response criticism and the much earlier "appreciation" approach to literature. Ellah is indeed a voracious and perceptive reader, as illustrated by her having to read dozens of books for the Dublin and ...

  • 0 read more A Chronicle of Ghosts -- Reading Sofia Samatar

    A Chronicle of Ghosts -- Reading Sofia Samatar

    by Ellah Wakatama Allfrey

    There are many horizons that must be visited, fruit that must be plucked, books read, and white pages in the scrolls of life to be inscribed with vivid sentences in a bold hand. -- Tayeb Salih, Season of Migration to the North

    I. The Reader

    When the invitation comes I am immediately uneasy about the request for a scholarly article. I am a reader and – perhaps somewhat defiantly – not an academic. While the theories and language of the academy inform and illuminate my understanding of literature, as a publisher, an editor, what I am most interested in is the ...

  • 0 read more The Scope of This Project

    The Scope of This Project

    by Sofia Samatar

    1. Notes Toward a Dream

    These are notes toward a dream: the dream of a world Mennonite literature.

    When I was asked to write an essay on postcolonial Mennonite writing, this dream occurred to me, or rather revived in me, welled up, for it is a dream I have dwelt with for some time.

    To me, the phrase "postcolonial Mennonite writing" means work by Mennonite writers of the postcolony. It means work by writers from Asia, Africa, and Latin America. It means the literary production of those regions where the Mennonite church is largest. It means the writing of the ...

  • 0 read more Sofia Samatar: Service for Culture

    Sofia Samatar: Service for Culture

    by Ervin Beck

    I treasure my copy of Sofia Samatar's A Stranger in Olondria, not only because it is a brilliant achievement by a former student, but especially because of her inscription on the title page: "For Ervin, who introduced me to Gabriel Garcia Marquez—a lifelong influence." She alludes to the International Literature class at Goshen College, which exposed her to the magic realism that blossomed into her achievement in fantasy fiction circles. She might also have cited Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children, from that overstuffed course syllabus, which, as a Muslim successor to A Thousand and One Nights, seems even ...

  • 0 read more From International to Postcolonial Literature at Goshen College

    From International to Postcolonial Literature at Goshen College

    by Ervin Beck

    In 1973 the English Department at Goshen College inaugurated a new course, International Literature. It may have been the first postcolonial literature course offered in the United States. It certainly was a pre-cursor that, as with the interest in "new literatures" or "emergent literatures," naturally morphed into a study of literature from the postcolonial theoretical and critical point of view.

    Evidence for the significance of the course in American literary studies comes from the March 1974 issue of College English, which at that time had as its main mission English pedagogy in higher education. My essay, "International Literature for American ...

  • 0 read more Review of The Goshen College Guide to Studying and Serving Abroad

    Review of The Goshen College Guide to Studying and Serving Abroad

    by Ann Hostetler

    The Goshen College Guide to Studying and Serving Abroad: Essays on Intercultural Learning.Edited by Duane Stoltzfus.

    Pinchpenny Press, 2017

    $10.00, 128 pp.

    ContactEnglish@goshen.eduto order

  • 0 read more Introduction to After Identity: Reflections

    Introduction to After Identity: Reflections

    by Ann Hostetler

    In May of 2013, a dozen scholars[1] of Mennonite literature from the United States and Canada gathered in University Park, Pennsylvania for a three-day symposium on After Identity: Mennonite Writing in North America. The title evokes the paradox of studying literature in an ethnic or cultural context even as it references the series of Mennonite/s Writing conferences held in the US and Canada every few years since 1990. The premise of this gathering was to address a new turn in cultural studies: how to approach literary production by specific cultural groups after the identity-preoccupied discussions of the late ...

  • 1 read more Who's a Mennonite?

    Who's a Mennonite?

    by Jan Schroeder

    The late writer David Rakoff once joked about Canadians' tendency to designate Canadian-born celebrities as Canadian. As Montréal-born Rakoff put it, "if you mention a famous Canadian to a Canadian without acknowledging it, there's a vague flicker over their eyes like the shadow of an angel's wing passing." The claim has many functions. It asserts a hidden knowledge of the celebrity's difference (primarily from US American celebrities), one that only other Canadians recognize. What that difference is, no one can precisely say, but the claim reserves the possibility that there just might be something unique about "Canadians ...

  • 0 read more The Noise of Identity: Turning to Attentiveness and the Receptive Ear

    The Noise of Identity: Turning to Attentiveness and the Receptive Ear

    by Margaret Steffler

    Both Magdalene Redekop and Hildi Froese Tiessen refer to the work of Wai Chee Dimock in their contributions to After Identity: Mennonite Writing in North America. In the case of Redekop, this is to ground her chapter in Dimock's "theory of resonance," which argues that texts "touched" by "readers on different wavelengths" result in "unexpected vibrations in unexpected places" (Dimock, "Resonance" 1061 quoted in Redokop 200). For Tiessen, Dimock is evoked in order to heed warnings against "literary causality" derived from prescribing to "a territorial [or territorialized] jurisdiction" and "analytical domain[s] foreclosed by definition" (Dimock, Through 3 quoted ...

  • 0 read more Crochet


    by Connie T. Braun

    A yarn: a strand of fibre.

    In the winter evenings when the sunlight has faded, my mother crochets an afghan. Occasionally, she'll knit one, and as she knits and purls, the yarn flows as a river through a valley. But usually, she'll crochet. Her hands work the yarn, and row by row a mantle of colour and texture grows. From a grey-blue strand, she crochets a blanket of ocean. Then a rolling field in soft shades of sage, or wheat and rye. Night after night, my mother's hands work the fibre, back and forth, the yarn's ...

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