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The ‘close reading’ of multicultural literature expands racial literacy, Stanford scholar says

May 5 2016

Posted In:

Faculty, In the News, Research

Stanford Professor of English Paula Moya has found that an interdisciplinary approach to multicultural fiction can powerfully shape a reader’s perception of the world and improve racial literacy. The tool to achieve this is known as 'close reading.'

While the phrase “close reading” may not resonate for someone outside of an English department, Stanford literary scholar Paula Moya wants to reclaim the useful literary tool, especially when it comes to multicultural writers.

She defends close reading, a method of examining literature by paying heightened attention to the language, form, and details of a novel, story or poem.

By carefully examining the work of writers like Toni Morrison, Junot Díaz, and Helena Maria Viramontes, Moya builds a case that literature, when read closely, can help us better understand the multiracial world we live in and the interactions of race and ethnicity.