Arts of the Contact Zone | My Commonplace Book

This cultural phenomenon is what Mary Louise Pratt has termed the “Contact Zone” which is used to refer to the “social spaces where cultures meet, clash and grapple with each other, often in contexts of highly asymmetrical relations of power such as colonialism, slavery or other aftermaths as they...

Jun 03, 2013 · Arts of the Contact Zone Mary Louise Pratt

Contact zones were not necessarily a positive interaction because these social interactions usually came out of ignorance resulting into an obdurate conflict....

Arts of the Contact Zone | Inventing the Discipline

She introduced a revolutionary way to think about these social spaces, instead of calling them communities she started calling it the “contact zone”.

Pratt ends with a specific call to action: the need to identify the “pedagogical arts of the contact zone,” which I have included an extended quote at the beginning of this post (40).

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“Autoethnography, transculturation, critique, collaboration, bilingualism, mediation, parody, denunciation, imaginary dialogue, vernacular expression?these are some of the literate arts of the contact zone. Miscomprehension, incomprehension, dead letters, unread master pieces, absolute heterogeneity of meaning?these are some of the perils of writing in the contact zone. They all live among us today in the transnationalized metropolis of the United States and are becoming more widely visible, more pressing, and, like Guaman Poma’s text, more decipherable to those who once would have ignored them in defense of a stable, centered sense of knowledge and reality.” (Pratt 37)

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A few recent studies have broached the question of what was helping the zone’s students raise attendance and test scores: the interlocking social services, or what was going on in the classroom? But they were based on state test results in years when the exams were easier to pass, and they may now be less conclusive.

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The Harlem Children’s Zone is not the only block-by-block effort to ease poverty, though it is unusual in its intensive focus on children. The , for example, is wrapping up projects in seven cities called Making Connections Neighborhoods that promoted a “two-generation approach” with job-training programs for parents. An effort that turned around the East Lake Meadows neighborhood in used the construction of mixed-income housing and the renovation of a course as the fulcrum.