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Teaching English to Refugees - cover

Teaching English to Refugees

Robert Radin

Publisher: ibidem

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Summary

“Robert Radin’s Teaching English to Refugees does it all, weaving together memoir, philosophy of language, social-justice advocacy, and graphic narrative into a haunting meditation on what can happen when the least powerful among us escape oppression and seek refuge in the United States. With the unerring precision of both linguist and poet, Radin tells a story of teaching English to refugees from such troubled areas of the world as Iraq, Somalia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. As he struggles to find ways to reach across languages and cultures so disparate they do not even seem to be part of the same world, a quieter story plays out—his own, where multi-generational Jewish legacies get compressed into incisive and singular moments of prose you won’t soon forget. Through it all, the voices of his Muslim students—haltingly at first, and then with increasing confidence—carve out a space for being all their own. Like Jenny Erpenbeck’s Go, Went, Gone, this spare, unsparing, and intrepid book takes a close, unwavering look at some of the hardest stories of our times until nothing is what it seems at first and students become teachers to us all.”—Katharine Haake, Professor of English, California State University Northridge, author of The Time of Quarantine and That Water, Those Rocks

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