Cultural Pedagogies and the Imperative of Difference: Update in Progress
Scholars, such as Bruce Horner, Timothy Lockridge, and Cynthia Selfe have recently tried to revise the relationships between transligualism and transmodality. This project of revision relies on a few critical observations. First, translingualism proposes a more dynamic vision of cultural theory and pedagogy. Second, translingualism has remained, for the most part, focused on language issues. Cultural practices, however, engage with other forms of composing that involve a variety of media. Third, when translingual and multicultural approaches have integrated other forms of composing, the resulting work has primarily relied on a mode-based logic. Unfortunately, a mode-based view of cultural composition is outdated in the context of more recent frameworks (e.g., post-medium and transmedia approaches). In this presentation, I argue that the struggle to move translingualism and cultural theories forward comes from the inability to profoundly revise the notion of cultural difference. To re-envision this notion, we should consider the transformative role of digital technologies. As long as we are camped in mode-based models of composing, we won’t be able to articulate a fuller understanding of cultural difference. The notion of difference makes sense only as an operational concept.Digital technologies and new media do not serve, reflect, or create cultural difference. They re-structure it continuously, they interface it, and they interfere with it. In this sense, cultural difference may be better defined in terms of data sets, navigation, and interactivity. To support this argument, I present a series of examples that explore these notions across different digital platforms.