Honors College Thesis


The Impact of World Literature in Secondary Schools in Oregon and Chile : A Comparative Case Study Public Deposited

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  • The reading of world literature, literary works from cultures other than one’s own, offers an effective means of creating greater awareness and sensitivity towards others. Research on the subject makes it clear that world literature can help lay the groundwork for a sense of world citizenship in students. To what extent have U.S. high school students been exposed to world literature? Do they display more characteristics of world citizenship as a result? How do U.S. high school students compare to their peers abroad? To answer these questions, I conducted a case study of three high schools in the state of Oregon and three high schools in the Bío-Bío Region of Chile (Region VIII) where I administered a written survey to literature students. The survey included questions regarding students’ backgrounds, experience with world literature, knowledge of world affairs, and personal opinions. I found that other factors (e.g. economic status and number of domestic authors in each country) affect students’ access to and interest in world affairs. The reading of world literature is one of a myriad of factors that contribute to the intricate idea of world citizenship. While it is difficult to isolate reading world literature as an explicit cause of greater world citizenship, it is clear that world literature can and should play an important role in the development of global perspectives in students’ lives.
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