Occidentalism, Undergraduate Literary Reading, and Critical Intercultural Pedagogy

  •  Wen-Ding Huang    
  •  Paul Morrissey    
  •  Pao-Jing Chan    


The purposes of this paper are to investigate Taiwanese undergraduate students’ responses to a selected fictional text, and to propose a critical intercultural pedagogical approach of reading global literature in the EFL educational context based on the insights from the research findings. The authors first critically analysed Xiaolu Guo’s third novel, A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers, in terms of Occidentalism, in order to unpack the ideologies underlying her representation of the British and the Chinese. The analysis of the text was conducted through a qualitative approach of critical content analysis. After that, a semi-structured interview was adopted to scrutinise Taiwanese undergraduate students’ perceptions of the ideologies underlying the fiction. The analysis of the text identified three themes of British-Chinese binary opposition together with the juxtaposition of ethnocentric Occidentalism and reverse Occidentalism. The findings obtained from interviews indicated that two of the three dichotomies, i.e. individualism versus collectivism and cosmopolitan versus rooted, underlying the fictional text were commonly perceived by the interviewed undergraduates while they had diverse views on the second dichotomy, sexual freedom versus sexual reticence. Furthermore, some students’ responses to the fiction signified a subtle, implicit and delicate form of reverse Occidentalism. Based on the above research findings, the authors configured a critical intercultural pedagogy for raising students’ capability of decoding and deconstructing Occidentalist ideologies underlying global literature.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1925-4741
  • ISSN(Online): 1925-475X
  • Started: 2011
  • Frequency: quarterly

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