Cosmopolitan Pedagogies: Revisiting Shirley Geok-lin Limâ€™s Short Fiction
This paper explores the authorâ€™s experience in teaching Limâ€™s short stories in Singapore over the course of two decades. Limâ€™s short fiction has often been seen as subordinate to her poetry and to her longer works of prose fiction and memoir, and it has been read as a part of a career that evolves from a specific politics of location in Malaysia to an engagement with larger questions of feminism, minoritisation and cosmopolitanism identity in the United States. Such a historicist reading needs to be balanced by the reading perspectives on Limâ€™s fiction of newer generation of Singapore students to whom their settings are now often unfamiliar. Far from being a portrait of a now vanished past in another country, however, Limâ€™s fiction may fruitfully be read within the context of contemporary Singapore, especially in its questioning of doxologies concerning racialisation and sexuality and its promotion of what may initially seem a paradox: a local cosmopolitanism. Recent critical work on the short story as genre, indeed, suggests that questions regarding a local cosmopolitan ethics may be made particularly acute by the formal features of the short story, features of which Lim makes skilful use.
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