Considering a first deconstructionist approach to teaching German Literature in Taiwan

Monika Leipelt-Tsai


German literature teaching has traditionally worked with a method that is historically based on hermeneutics as a theory of comprehensive understanding and practice of interpretation. Although the hermeneutic methods of Germanic studies developed into critical didactics after the historical hiatus by the National Socialism, and then has been critically evaluated by theorists such as Jürgen Habermas, traditional hermeneutics still stands against the backdrop of many parts of Germanic studies in research as well as in teaching, including also in the foreign language literature classes in Taiwan. However, language is a communication system that is never quite unequivocal in its linguistic terms. This was already pre-thought by Friedrich Nietzsche, and since the 1970s, it was emphasized in the thoughts of French philosophy, particularly the thoughts of deconstruction by Jacques Derrida. The difficult theoretical and ethical implications of deconstruction require a demanding reading of Derrida’s writings, so that this certainly would overwhelm learners of foreign European languages.Therefore, my considerations focus on the question of whether and how far the thinking of deconstruction can be made fertile in the field as a particular literary theory approach in Taiwan. What could a potential approach of literary didactics that is influenced by the thinking of deconstruction look like? What kind of advantages and problems are evoked for learners and teachers in Taiwan? And how can this approach to literature teaching be interlinked with language teaching? Based on an analysis and criticism of a literature teaching approach for German native speakers, I will consider a first deconstructivistic approach to literature teaching in the field of teaching German as a foreign language in Taiwan.

Keywords: Teaching Foreign Language and Literature in Taiwan, Deconstructionist Thinking, Hermeneutical Thinking, German Didactics

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