Arts Of The Contact Zone Analysis

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In Mary Louise Pratt’s “Arts of the Contact Zone”, Pratt establishes her definition of a contact zone, which is useful in understanding similar situations found in Richard Rodriguez’s “The Achievement of Desire”. …show more content…
She refers to authoethnographic texts as those that “undertake to describe themselves in ways that engage with representations others have made of them” (Pratt 508). Pratt also talks of “transculturation”, as a “process whereby members of subordinated or marginal groups select and invent from materials transmitted by a dominant or metropolitan culture” (Pratt 508). Rodriguez’s “The Achievement of Desire” is an example of these two phenomena, for Rodriguez’s work feels as if it is a response to his own life experiences, where he looks back and details all of his actions as a child. Also, since he deals with the constant back-and-forth between his Mexican and American cultures, his work is ‘transcultural’, where one picks and chooses what to absorb in one’s culture. Though he is American, his Mexican culture and heritage play an important role in shaping who his parents are, and therefore who he is. Pratt talks of how Guaman Poma constructs his letter to King Phillip by “appropriating pieces of the representational repertoire of the invaders,” (Pratt 504) and thus implying that although Guaman Poma obtained his basic tools of communication from the Spaniards, he still shows awareness and understanding of his own culture. Autoethnography refers to the concept of writing an account of one’s own culture from one’s own perspective, though others may have already …show more content…
Pratt defines the concept and effectively explains contact zones in her examples, from her son’s school tales to Guaman Poma’s argument. Rodriguez’s work is also another example of a contact zone, and he aptly concludes his work by stating how he was “relieved by how easy it was to be home”, after a long separation from his parents and their culture (Rodriguez 562). Thus, a contact zone essentially refers to how one can really learn from different cultures, and therefore how one can become further enriched with knowledge, and thereby become more

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