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Against Mastery: Teaching Thomas King’s Green Grass, Running Water


Thomas King’s novel Green Grass, Running Water stands as an indictment of North American colonialism and the continuing injustices facing indigenous peoples; it also offers valuable insights in terms of what constitutes good teaching. With reference to personal experiences of teaching the novel in a large lecture course, this article discusses its author’s efforts at implementing the novel’s implied pedagogical principles, which include a scepticism about granting authority to certain texts over others; a collaborative model of learning; a wariness regarding totalizing narratives and claims of interpretive mastery; and a need to wrestle in class discussion with texts’ unresolved problematics.

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Jeff Lambe , “Indigenous Education, Mainstream Education, and Native Studies,” American Indian Quarterly 27.1–2 (2003): 308324

Michael D. McNally , “Indigenous Pedagogy in the Classroom: A Service Learning Model for Discussion,” American Indian Quarterly 28.3–4 (2004): 604617

Sharon M. Bailey , “The Arbitrary Nature of the Story: Poking Fun at Oral and Written Authority in Thomas King’s Green Grass, Running Water,” World Literature Today 73.1 (1999): 4352

Patricia Linton , “‘And Here’s How It Happened’: Trickster Discourse in Thomas King’s Green Grass, Running Water,” Modern Fiction Studies 45.1 (1999), 215

Doris Sommer , “Resistant Texts and Incompetent Readers,” Poetics Today 15.4 (1994), 529, 542

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Cambridge Journal of Postcolonial Literary Inquiry
  • ISSN: 2052-2614
  • EISSN: 2052-2622
  • URL: /core/journals/cambridge-journal-of-postcolonial-literary-inquiry
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