Week 7, Reading a Women’s Death, Angela Bourke, (Castle)

November 12, 2007

Reading a Women’s Death provides insight into a conflict common within the colonizing process between an expanding modern worldview emphasizing progress and science and the traditional culture’s worldview which holds onto ideas about the supernatural that often are seen as superstitious. Bourke reflects how the Bridget Cleary story reveals the tension between varying worldviews: “It made them figures of repudiation and ridicule, guilty not just of one crime but of a worldview that threatened to taint a whole country” (454). I found this article to connect with learning from my Poverty and Development Class about typical problems that arise when development practitioners work with native cultures  who place a high value and faith in the supernatural and folk religion. The challenge for practioners is to learn and respect the culture, rather than imposing a modern worldview.


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