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Response to Arts of the Contact Zone by Marie Louise Pratt Erik Apel As a reader, my responses to Arts of the Contact

Zone were considerably varied at several different junctures of the piece. The whole article, with all of its parts taken together in context, had quite a different meaning than the individual points Pratt emphasized throughout. For example, the introduction about her sons experience with baseball cards sets a drastically different tone and conveys to the reader a much different message than the historical detail she proceeds to dive into concerning Guaman Poma and the Incan/ Spanish contact zone. From the introduction to the article alone, the reader would have considerable difficulty discerning Pratts intended purpose, yet its seems apparent, after reading the article, that Pratts intent in leading into her subject matter in this way is to show how her concept spreads beyond the context of historical analysis. After her seemingly unrelated introduction, Pratt proceeds to discuss what she was invited to talk about as an expert from the elite academy. She introduces the historical figure of the Incan Guaman Poma and the concept of a contact zone almost simultaneously; from this the reader can infer rather confidently that Pratts idea of the contact zone will be exemplified by a deeper look at Guaman Poma. The First New Chronicle and Good Government (Guaman Pomas letter) was a direct product of a contact zone, and Pratt uses the relationship between the Inca and the Spanish in South America to emphasize her definition of a contact zone as a space where cultures meet, clash, and grapple often in an asymmetrical relation of power. Pratt also uses the Guaman Poma story to put particular emphasis on perspective in the contact zone. The point of view of Guaman Poma is rather neglected in the historical account of the Spanish conquest of the Inca. Pratts intent in mentioning the Royal Commentaries of the Inca is specifically to point out the textual hierarchy in which even modern historians have overlooked a valuable Incan account for the accepted text, which is adulterated by editing and reediting to display the Spanish colonizers as benevolent.

In further support of her purpose (to elaborate on the idea of contact zones in different contexts), Pratt brings in the opinion of Benedict Anderson and his concept of imagined community. My response as a reader was originally to overlook this concept as somewhat of a tangent to the authors main point, yet when I began to relate what Anderson had to say about imagined community to Pratts contact zone example of Guaman Poma, her intent became clearer. Pratt, using Andersons assertions, was implying that the reality of the situation of the Inca in relation to the Spanish conquerors was less important than the perception of, or the imagined, community from the Incan perspective. Furthermore, the imagined community from the perspective of the Spanish conquerors was far from reality but accepted nonetheless. Therefore, Pratt presents the reader with two contradictory imagined communities within the contact zone, again expanding on the definition she gave early on in the article. Pratts final support is in her description of the Americas course. This modern contact zone brought the concept out from her relatively obscure historical analysis viewpoint, into the relevant and applicable. This specific example brought full circle the importance of perspective in the contact zone when it comes to different cultures intellectual reactions. It also brought into focus the importance of effective communication when it comes to bringing into question the imagined communities of different cultures (this in turn calling into question the imagined role of the teacher). After reading the entire article, the reader then is able to relate the significance of the introduction to Pratts purpose. Her sons experience with baseball cards brought him into the contact zone of adult culture. He experienced an asymmetrical relation of power with adults and a meeting of cultures as adult perspective and experience is far different from a preadolescent. Pratts achievement in bringing the article full circle shows her success in communicating her purpose effectively. The concept of a contact zone has been elaborated to the point that the reader is able to understand how it pertains to the situation that seemed unrelated to Pratts intended topic.