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Chimamanda Adichie: The danger of a single story

Lesson created by Aileen Hawkins using

Video from TED YouTube Channel

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In this TED talk, Nigerian author Chimamanda Adichie talks about the limitations and dangers of a "single story" view of cultures and people.  In this lesson, let's explore how stereotypes and generalizations affect the way we view Africa, the world...and ourselves.

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Additional Resources for you to Explore
For more information on Chimamanda Adichie, check out her official website.   Adichie mentions several authors in her talk, including Chinua Achebe, a fellow Nigerian and author of the famous 1958 novel Things Fall Apart. For further exploration, think about how a novel like Things Fall Apart challenges the "single story" of Africa put forth by Western authors such as Rudyard Kipling and Joseph Conrad.  Also, think about the communities to which you belong.  Is there a "single story" of your community? Your hometown? Your country?  How did that "single story" come about? What is true about that story?  What isn't?  Has the "single story" changed over time? Additional resources: Rudyard Kipling, "The White Man's Burden" Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness Chinua Achebe,  "An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad's Heart of Darkness"
Think about the "single stories" that exist today. How can we help dispel those dangerous myths and show the rich complexities in our world?
Avatar for Aileen Hawkins
Lesson Creator
Dana Point, CA, United States

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