‘The Village of My Childhood’: Nostalgia, Narrative and Landscape in an Engineering Course in South Africa

By Arlene Hillary Archer.

Published by The Learner Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Different views of society, nature and technology inform engineering activity and proposed developmental interventions. This paper examines the discourses that students both draw on and propagate in a course on rural development in a first year engineering foundation programme. Students’ texts reflect and recycle different discourses, some of which may complement each other, and others may compete or represent conflicting interests. A range of modes and media, coupled with the degree of regulation in the classroom space, may enable different discourses to emerge or to be further suppressed. This paper looks at the way rural is often constructed as ‘lack’ and therefore ‘other’, as well as discourses of nostalgia and utopianism and how these feed into notions of development. The agenda underlying this investigation is about facilitating student access to the engineering curriculum and contributing to the theorizing of a pedagogy of diversity that utilizes rather than ignores or devalues diverse subjectivities.

Keywords: Discourse Analysis, Pedagogy of Diversity, Nostalgia and Narrative, Multimodality, Rural Development

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 14, Issue 9, pp.147-154. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 719.190KB).

Dr. Arlene Hillary Archer

Writing Centre Co-ordinator, Language Development, Centre for Higher Education Development, University of Cape Town, Rosebank, Cape Town, South Africa

Arlene Archer is the co-ordinator of the Writing Centre at the Centre for Higher Education Development, University of Cape Town, South Africa. She teaches in Film and Media studies, as well as in an Engineering Foundation programme. She is interested in academic development in the tertiary environment – how diverse students from a range of language, class, cultural and gender identities access disciplinary knowledge. Her recent research focuses on the possibilities multimodal pedagogies may offer for enabling student access to Higher Education.


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