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one way working with Pratts essay, of extending its project, would be to conduct your own local inventory of writing from the contact zone. you might do this on your own or in teams with others from your class. you will want to gather several similar documents, your archive, before you make your final selection. Think about how to make that choice. What makes one document stand out as representative? Here are two ways you might organize your search
A/ you could look for historical documents. A local historical society might have documents written by Native Americans (Indians) to the white settlers. There may be documents written by slaves to masters or to norther whites explaining their experience with slavery. There may be documents by women (like suffragettes) trying to negotiate for public positions and rights. There may be documents from any of a number of racial or ethnic groups-Hispanic, Jewish, Irish, Italian, Polish, Swedish-trying to explain their positions to the mainstream culture. There may, perhaps at union halls, be documents written by workers to owners. Your own sense of the heritage of your area should direct your search.
B/ Or you could look for contemporary documents in the print that is around you, things that you might otherwise overlook. Pratt refers to one of the characteristic genres of the Hispanic community, the testimonio. You could look at the writing of any marginalized group, particularly writing intended, at least in part, to represent the experience of outsiders to the dominant culture (or to be in dialogue with that culture or to respond to that culture). These documents, if we follow Pratts example, would encompass the work of young children or students, including college students.
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