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Critical Theory - Postmodernism

Page history last edited by Debra Lee 14 years, 9 months ago

Critical Theory/Postmodernism


     Because we are in the era of critical theory and postmodernism, numerous theorists and authors write on this field. One look at the critical theory reading list from Martin Ryder at the University of Colorado, Denver makes this clear.




Critical theory, on the basic level, involves ensuring that the voices of all individuals are heard. In this sense, critical theory is similar to feminist theory, though in feminist theory the focus is on the female voices. In critical theory, the focus is on any underrepresented voice. As instructors and students, we have to investigate our assumptions and our practices to ensure that no one is left out because of our biases, hidden or otherwise (Merriam, 2001).


In CALL (Computer-Assisted Language Learning) and ESL (English as a Second Language), three of the primary critical theory authors are Lantolf, Thorne, and Canagarajah. Lantoff and Thorne argue for a sociocultural theory of second language development. Canajarajah seeks recognition of the voices of second language writers. For adult education scholars interested in critical theory, I would also recommend the works of these authors.



  • Canajarajah, A. S. (2002). Critical academic writnig and multilingual students. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press.
  • Lantolf, J. P. & Thorne, S. L. (2006). Sociocultural theiory and the genesis of second language development. Oxford: Oxford University Press.





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