A Hopeful Approach to the Problem of Literacy Among Communities in Need
The Anxiety of Transparency in an Age of Electronic Innovation and Intrusion
Prince Edward County, Virginia as a microcosm of America’s struggle with race, literacy, and citizenship.
Ritter offers an extensive theoretical analysis of the alliance of the value systems inherent in postwar mental hygiene films (class-based ideals, democracy, patriotism) with writing education—an alliance that continues today by way of the mass digital technologies used in teaching online. She further details the larger material and cultural forces at work in the production of these films behind the scenes and their effects on education trends.
Winner, 2017 CCCC Advancement of Knowledge Award
Iswari P. Pandey looks deeply into the South Asian community in Mid-South America to track the migration of literacies, showing how different meaning-making practices are adapted and reconfigured for cross-language relations and cross-cultural understanding.
Bringing together language and literacy studies, Asian American history and rhetoric, and critical race theory, Hoang uses historiography and ethnography to explore the politics of Asian American language and literacy education: the growth of Asian American student organizations and self-sponsored writing; the ways language served as thinly veiled trope for race in the influential Lau v. Nichols; the inheritance of a rhetoric of injury on college campuses; and activist rhetorical strategies that rearticulate Asian American racial identity.
Recent global security threats, economic instability, and political uncertainty have placed great scrutiny on the requirements for U.S. citizenship. The stipulation of literacy has long been one of these criteria. In Producing Good Citizens, Amy J. Wan examines the historic roots of this phenomenon, looking specifically to the period just before World War I, up until the Great Depression. During this time, the United States witnessed a similar anxiety over the influx of immigrants, economic uncertainty, and global political tensions.Citing numerous literacy theorists, Wan analyzes the correlation of reading and writing skills to larger currents within American society. She shows how early literacy training coincided with the demand for laborers during the rise of mass manufacturing, while also providing an avenue to economic opportunity for immigrants.
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American universities have long professed dismay at the writing proficiency of entrants. Jane Stanley examines the “rhetoric of remediation” at the University of California, Berkeley, and reveals the definition of a high need for remediation as a tool by which Cal encouraged or discouraged enrollments in direct correlation to social, economic and political currents throughout the University’s history.
Winner, 2010 MLA Mina P. Shaughnessy Prize
Miller defines college English studies as literacy studies and examines how it has evolved in tandem with broader developments in literacy and the literate. He maps out “four corners” of English departments: literature, language studies, teacher education, and writing studies. Miller identifies their development with broader changes in the technologies and economies of literacy that have redefined what students write and read, which careers they enter, and how literature represents their experiences and aspirations.
Sarah Robbins identifies and defines a new genre in American letters—the domestic literacy narrative—and provides a cultural history of its development throughout the nineteenth century.
Winner of an Outstanding Academic Title Award from Choice Magazine (2006).
Relying on Gestalt theory, this work describes the relationship between literacy and change in both personal and social situations. It presents historical and contemporary case studies, emphasizing the ways language interacts with perception.
Thomas Masters examines a pivotal era—the years following arrival of former soldiers on college campuses thanks to the GI Bill—in the history of the most ubiquitous and most problematic course offered in America: freshman English.
Traces of a Stream offers a unique scholarly perspective that merges interests in rhetorical and literacy studies, United States social and political theory, and African American women writers. Focusing on elite nineteenth-century African American women who formed a new class of women well positioned to use language with consequence, Royster uses interdisciplinary perspectives (literature, history, feminist studies, African American studies, psychology, art, sociology, economics) to present a well-textured rhetorical analysis of the literate practices of these women.
Winner of the 2000 MLA Mina P. Shaughnessy Prize
Focuses on expressions of popular culture among blacks in Africa, the United States, and the Carribean. Fifteen essays cover a world of topics, from American girls’ Double Dutch games to protest discourse in Ghana; from the history of Rasta to the evolving significance of kente cloth from rap video music to hip-hop to zouk.
A compelling collection by one of the pioneers of revisionist approaches to the history of literacy in North America and Europe, The Labyrinths of Literacy offers original and controversial views on the relation of literacy to society, leading the way for scholars and citizens who are willing to question the importance and function of literacy in the development of society today.