Emergent Literatures and Cosmopolitan Conversation
This concluding chapter discusses the rationale at the heart of this book—the humility of understanding the limits of one's own knowledge and the efforts to expand it through varied means. This view is contextualized in the doctrine of “fallibilism,” which lies at the heart of contemporary theories of cosmopolitanism. The chapter also explores the antithesis to this notion in “counter-cosmopolitanism”—the unwillingness to question and possibly adjust basic assumptions. The hostility toward multiculturalism voiced by conservative educators and politicians in the United States during the 1980s, and the accompanying assertion that “American Literature” should be taught as a set of classic, canonical texts centered on the writers of the so-called American Renaissance, may be seen as a call for a kind of cultural purity that echoes the sentiments of counter-cosmopolitanism. In the end, the chapter proposes that emergent literature is one way to meet the challenges of counter-cosmopolitanism.
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