Selfe, Cynthia L. & Richard J. Selfe Jr. "The Politics of the Interface: Power and Its Exercise in Electronic Contact Zones"

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Cynthia L. Selfe & Richard J. Selfe Jr. in “The Politics of the Interface: Power and Its Exercise in Electronic Contact Zones argue that 1994 interfaces marginalizes the marginalized and further promotes repression as well as colonialism. Their goal in making this connection is to show teachers how to identify computerized domination and colonialism so that they can counteract his trend between technology and education. The article turns to a brief summary of the history of English composition classes to explain that computers were suppose to be a more “democratic” and “less systematically oppressive” form of learning for students (67). However, Selfe and Selfe claim that computer interfaces and their uses in minority versus majority classrooms as well as their icons exude “racism, sexism, and colonialism” (67). Since minority students are the growing “technological underclass,” they will likely not receive the technological skills necessary in the non-academic world and the majority students will. Although not overtly, computer interfaces also, through their interfaces’ maps, promote “monoculturalism, capitalism, and philological thinking” and excludes other perspectives (69). Selfe and Selfe particularly take up the issue of mostly English interfaces in schools and then in the world, claiming that they exclude non-English speakers and their cultures. To remedy such issues, Selfe and Selfe propose that everyone, especially educators and scholars, locate themselves in relation to the map. Recognizing these borders helps to transcend them in self and classroom. They also propose that a critical awareness of these interfaces are necessary and that classrooms should assign a re-write to students and faculties of interface texts and structures.

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