Teaching About Whiteness and the Complexity of Racism Through To Kill a Mockingbird
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This thesis will explore the complexity of racism and whiteness through the beloved canonical novel, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Over the last years there have been many critical voices regarding the status of TKAM and the adoration of the protagonist, Atticus Finch. TKAM has been used in American education for decades, hence there are several scholars and teachers who have studied how it has been used in the American classroom, some of which we can learn from and use in a Norwegian context in light of LK20. My overall aim throughout this thesis is to identify the more hidden racism in TKAM while focussing on how we can use the novel in the Norwegian classroom to increase the students’ awareness about the complexity of racism and whiteness. The introduction chapter will look at TKAM’s status in America, and how it has been used in the American classroom. In this chapter I will also examine some relevant terms for this thesis: old- vs new racism, the complexity of racism, literary whiteness and American Africanism. The second chapter emanates around antiracist pedagogy and experiences made with TKAM and antiracist pedagogy in the American classroom, while focussing on how we can transfer these experiences to the Norwegian context. The third chapter explores TKAM through critical close-readings and comparisons of some characters. The fourth and final chapter examines how we can use TKAM in light of LK20 in the Norwegian Secondary- and Upper Secondary schools.