2019 Student Research Conference:
32nd Annual Student Research Conference

The Importance of Diversity in Classroom Literature


Madeline D. Jones
Dr. Hena Ahmad, Faculty Mentor

The great American classic literature taught in schools across the nation is predominantly written by and focused on the lives of straight, white males. These classroom novels rarely illustrate the authentic experiences and voices of women, LGBTQ+ individuals, and people of color. However, the majority of students in American schools are not white, straight men, therefore literature in schools is under-representative of the student population. Reading novels solely from a male voice of power generates a limited perspective about the world and makes oppressed groups feel voiceless in societal discussions. This paper will explore the ways in which teaching novels that exclude or degrade the lives of diverse populations impacts power dynamics in the nation. I ask, whether classic literature should have priority in the classroom, or whether it should be replaced with literature that is diversely representative.

Keywords: Literature, Classics, Diversity, Women, People of color, LGBTQ+ community

Topic(s):English
Women's and Gender Studies
Interdisciplinary Studies

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 303-1
Location: BH 212
Time: 1:30

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