Weekly Featured Writers

Each week, 1-2 people will curate the ideas and writing from our class into a featured blog. We will use these blogs to connect with colleagues outside our course.

Jaxon Tweets

How do you all think about critical digital pedagogy? Center on access and equity, open, reflective, and networked for sure. Knowing to open up space to other voices and certainly amplifying student voices. What say you all? #nwp #ClinTE #digped Even better: CDP in a GIF pic.twitter.com/x7x9…

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Luke Scholl: The Rise of Writing (Chapter 4/Conclusion)

Luke Scholl: The Rise of Writing (Chapter 4/Conclusion)

The fourth chapter of Brandt’s The Rise of Writing, “When Everybody Writes,” focuses on how writers and writing work in relation to other writers. As Brandt states, “Proximity to other writing people—ample, ongoing, routine proximity—plays myriad, formative roles in the development and calibration of writing, writing skill, and writing consciousness” (158). Early in the chapter Brandt discusses the “scenic” nature of writing (137-139). She notes that due to the fact that writing is scenic, that is something that takes place and can be witnessed, people are more acutely aware of how it works in the world. Brandt explains, “Seeing and being seen, knowing and being known—these everyday events form a broad undercarriage for awareness about how writing fits socially, politically, economically, aesthetically” (139). She then connects the scenic quality of writing to how writers interact with other writers. Because writing is scenic, writers are acutely aware of the writing that exists in the world: “Proximity to other writing people invites, and often requires, close attention to their habits, working conditions, and potential attitudes” (144). She also brings in the concept of mentalities and examines how it applies to her study of literacy. Brandt acknowledges how reading has historically disseminated information and thus contributed to establishing “shared understandings” (135), among the people of any given time and place within literate societies. However, she notes that as our literacy practices become more and more writing based, rather than reading based, the way we form these mentalities may be shifting.

In her concluding chapter, “Conclusion: Deep Writing,” Brandt co opts her nemesis Nicholas Carr’s phrase “deep reading” and reworks it to form her own concept of “deep writing” (159). She contends that the evidence provided her book suggests that we are “entering an era of deep writing” (Brandt 160). She argues that our literacy practices are no longer typified by prolonged and intense reading of texts but instead that “more and more people write for prolonged periods of time from inside deeply interactive networks and in immersive cognitive states” (Brandt 160). She ends her conclusion by examining the how these changes in our literacy practices present exception challenges for education as our schools are “growing increasingly out of step with the wider world” (Brandt 165).

During our discussion in class, Dr. Jaxon asked the students if we thought of each other and our professors as writers, and whether or not we really ever collaborate on writing or just give each other feedback. To me it seemed that the general consensus wound up being that we had not really seen at each other as writers until graduate school. This sentiment extended to our experiences with collaboration; I believe it was Kelsey King who stated, “the collaborative nature of writing is definitely something I’ve learned about through school.” I think when asked about our feelings toward collaboration in writing, many of our minds jumped to the concept of ‘group work.’ And like most sane individuals our knee jerk reaction to ‘group work’ is to say, “I hate group work.” I found it interesting that, for many of us, the concept of collaboration in writing was immediately conceived of as group assignments in school, and indeed our discussion did primarily revolve around collaborative writing within school. I couldn’t help but wonder how negative experiences with group work in school might contribute to the persistent stereotype of the solitary writer; even though, the form collaborative writing takes in these types of scenarios rarely reflects the level of professionalism, commitment, and responsibility that one might find when collaborating with a colleague in a professional environment.

I also find it interesting that the knee jerk, “I hate group work,” reaction has always seemed to be so pervasive. In my own experience I have been part of groups that were pure nightmares, but also groups that worked extremely well and which provided me with incredible amounts of support; yet, I still stand firmly in the “I hate group work” camp. I can’t help but think this attitude has something to do with the nature of school and grades. As students we are keenly aware that we are constantly being assessed. Despite that grades are just letters they failure to live up to a certain standard could, like writing, have significant and very real consequences in the world and their lives. The sociocultural significance and pressures of grades heavy influence the nature of group work in school. If you feel one person is not contributing enough you are angry that their lack of commitment will have an adverse effect on your grade, and, on the flip side, if someone is doing a large amount of the work you become concerned about whether you are contributing enough.

 

Amanda Rhine: The Rise of Writing (chapter 3)

Amanda Rhine: The Rise of Writing (chapter 3)

 

Writing is the Right Thing to Do for Literacy

In chapter 3 “Occupation: Author” in The Rise of Writing, Deborah Brandt starts off by stating “The belief that writing ability is a subsidiary of reading ability runs deep in American society and schooling. You can only write as well as you can read. The best way to learn how to write is to read, and read some more. Reading is the best way to exercise the mind” (89). These were all (almost verbatim) proclamations that I heard growing up, so I think Brandt really taps into the typical old school American literacy mindset here (not surprising since she’s Deborah Frickin’ Brandt). However, as Brandt discovered with Evan, reading and writing don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand––which is not a bad thing.

Evan had a well-known exotic animal website that “attracted the attention of a major publishing house for pet care books” (92) and published a book. As a result, Evan identified professionally as an author and has gone on to write magazine articles, etc. While Brandt was interviewing him about his literacy development and the role reading had, Evan confessed that he did not like to read, stating, “I’d rather be writing than reading” (92). This is not uncommon, in my opinion, since I can relate and know many authors who feel the same. Brandt was intrigued by Evan’s declaration and his literacy development being connected to broader industries of writing rather than reading (93), so she set off to do some research.

I won’t go into the details of Brandt’s literacy development research study, because there’s a lot of it in this chapter, but the main takeaway from Brandt’s arguments is that she advocates a “full return to the heritage of mass writing as a basis for advancing a genuinely writing-based literacy” (133). Brandt’s idea of this heritage is not based on the American idea that writing is dependent on reading––essentially that literacy theory has become obsolete. Brandt’s arguments are based on the “evidence drawn from the testimonies of thirty young adults who pursue literacy predominantly through writing; individuals who elect to write on a nearly daily basis and in genres long considered bulwarks (defensive walls) of a thoughtful reading literacy; individuals who have found ways to orient to writing even when the environment around them tries to orient them otherwise” (133). So while the notion of reading being a catalyst in writing advancement may still present be in teaching and sponsorship, writing is a significant player in literacy development by itself. It promotes a motivation for self-improvement that isn’t restricted to someone’s reading ability. Therefore writing-based literacy and reading-based literacy should not be lumped into one literacy development practice in order to be considered beneficial.

*Side note: I own the Kindle version of The Rise of Writing, so my page citations might differ from those of a physical copy.

Meredith Murrietta: The Rise of Writing (chapter 3)

Meredith Murrietta: The Rise of Writing (chapter 3)

Brandt starts out the 3rd chapter, “Occupation: Author” with the task of trying to differentiate between a reading-based literacy and a writing-based literacy. She claims that writing has taken a shadow to reading with regards to importance in our culture. Brandt seeks to argue that writing-based literacy is its own and does not necessarily stem from, rely on, or play second fiddle to reading. On page 96, Brandt discusses the concept of writing over reading. She stated that her research participants “would abandon the expected duties and pleasures of reading and begin writing in their minds as they sat over a text written by someone else,” and that this act “requires deliberate separation from the rules of reading.”

Although I can respect Brandt’s research and theories, I cannot personally relate to them and thus have a differing view. Brandt says that “learning to read is an expectation and a rite of passage for children in this society. But the idea ofbeing or becoming a writer has more profound aspirational power” (98). I couldn’t disagree more in my own walk. I found (and find) reading to be the motivation behind my reading-based literacy. I love to soak up information, to experience that lightbulb moment when reading others words. When it comes to my own writing, I hit constant roadblocks. I shared with the class about a webinar I recently attended through work, and how the speakers of “Thriving in Chaos” started out discussing brain research and how our brains react. The first priority of the brain is safety. If the brain does not feel safe, it will not progress past the first priority. It will be looking for ways to get back into safety. Fears, anxieties, etc. can cause the brain to lag in this danger zone. Unfortunately, if you are living in this state of fear, then you wont make it past the first priority on to the second, which is experiencing “something interesting”. This was a big wake-up call for me in all aspects of my life, and in this case, my writing. As I had discussed in my earlier blog post, there is fear of judgement when it comes to my writing. I believe this fear has hindered my ability to effectively write. We see this in many examples through this chapter with Brandt’s research participants. Whether it be individuals not posting on social media for fear of the implications, or a daughter who does not want her family to find her diary: the consequences of writing can absolutely cause hindrance.

On the flip side, I thoroughly enjoy my reading-based literacy, not only because I don’t feel hindered, but also because the words I read and apply from others have significantly changed the courses and actions of my life. Towards the end of the chapter, Brandt states that “what matters in writing is its rhetorical value, its projective and transactional value, its effect on others. Even in writing, then, reading is what counts” (128). Ultimately, as we have seen quite often as a foundational piece in literacy, it comes back to the human connection. Literacy is built and truly sustained through social means (even if not explicitly social). As readers and writers, we are communicating. We both have something to gain from this interaction.

Several other questions were raised in class, the following are a few:

-If our culture really values reading more than writing, why is it that we pay writers and call that an occupation?

-Do boundaries in writing, or being told to write, take anything away from creative writers?

-Is there really a difference between writing masters and writing sponsors?

Ibe Liebenberg: Brandt, The Rise of Writing, Chapter 2

Ibe Liebenberg: Brandt, The Rise of Writing, Chapter 2

In Brandt’s chapter two, “Writing for the State,” there is a clear connection made to chapter one’s idea of a ghostwriter’s inability to relinquish the emotional costs that are not deferred, or distributed with the transfer of work produced. One of the observations made in chapter two is that of an individual’s inability to write themselves out of work produced (86). This idea worked into our classroom discussion of whether to write ourselves into a paper or just get the job done for the grade, especially when there is no interest in the subject matter. It seemed like for most the public workers interviewed, they did not mind the writing in their field of expertise, so there was no lack of interest, but they felt it was too difficult to remove their voice. The contradiction of having a human write for the “state” or “government” but as a nonhuman element made it difficult for the workers to not use any of their own self. But the government knows how messy this can be: “Most intriguing is how government, including the courts, readily recognizes the intimate intermingling of the writer subjectivity with institutional mission as the dangerous mix that potentially undermines the government’s voice when employees speak out in the public domain and the political arena” (87). This intermix of human writing for a nonhuman entity will always have some form of human interference, but the government’s concern is to play a role to limit it.

We talked about how writing and teaching at the CSU level is constricting and limiting to both teachers and students. A student’s voice is rarely heard in a place where they feel that they are trying to appease the teacher. Likewise, professor’s feel the constraints of the administration. It raised the important question, do we have any reading without constraints? It seems like there is always some sort of filtering. We are almost always reading it for a reason other than our own. But constraints are sometimes good when thought of for something like creative writing. This is because it forces a form on the writer, or a lens to help write in. Where the opposite effect would seem to be limiting a creative writer, certain constraints actually apply parameters that allow the writer narrow their focus to just writing, instead of form or subject. Too much freedom can often result in a lack of focus.

Chapter two also gave examples of how even the most scientific and self-removed writing can still be misinterpreted and skewed to fit the reader’s intentions, ultimately to influence an audience for someone else’s own agenda. This was the case with the writings of the scientist Melinda Lucas, who was a part of a complex thirty year “unbiased” study. She describes the complexities of her study and how everything she reports and deals with is just data. But when it is “rerepresented” (68) by media or other special interest groups, its interpretation is skewed by  someone else’s agenda. In her case, a group wanted to use the data to save jobs, but we can see that even the most removed writing from the human bias can still be used and manipulated for others agendas and unprofessional interpretation.

The chapter finished with the idea that “There is no Occupational Safety and Health Administration for literacy” (87) to with help an individual writer who is writing for government in some form. Instead individuals like the police officer Henry Pine turned his writing into a means of releasing the emotional baggage by using his writing and record keeping as a way to transform daily experiences at his job into a journal to help export some of the psychological strain from himself to the actual report itself.

 

Sam Malain: The Rise of Writing (Intro & Chapter 1)

Sam Malain: The Rise of Writing (Intro & Chapter 1)

One of the moments that resonated with me the most when reading Deborah Brandt’s The Rise of Writing: Redefining Mass Literacy was one that was briefly addressed in the class discussion. In the section on ownership Brandt states, “In the workplace, authorship is associated not with writing a text but with managing the writer. The work-made-for-hire doctrine has been the object of considerable commentary by legal scholars” (Brandt 21). During the classroom discussion on this particular section the idea of its relation to students was brought up. The question of where students fall into this model provides for an interesting discussion. Considering students under this model is problematic for a number of reasons the first of which is it contradicts the apparent purpose of the school as an institution. While there have been multiple theorists who posit that schools, as institutions, only serve to model proper behavior in citizens, particularly compliance and the ability to follow orders (I’m thinking Althusser but am not positive I have the right theorist). However, if we take the purpose of the school to enlighten or to facilitate literacy or education for the sake of human betterment, which is the purpose argued by many to be the purpose of schools, then the for-hire model of authorship is deeply problematic. If using the latter model and schools are intended to be places of growth and actual learning, rather than of conditioning and conformity, the notion that the institution is employing a work-for-hire model of authorship goes against the purpose it claims to serve.

The idea that the institution is concerned with managing the writer rather than with the writing itself suggests that while the institution might look to serve a positive function, it really is functioning in a way more akin to Althusser’s model. If the school is concerned with managing the writer and not with facilitating new writing, or ideas, this suggests that the purpose of the institution is to constrain creativity and to create compliant workers intended to churn out texts/works for a power bigger than them (schools, employers, etc…). While it might not be outwardly apparent that this happens in schools, I think most students would testify to the contrary. While there are always going to be constraints on the writing done within a classroom setting, it must fit the curriculum at the very least, these constraints are often taken in unnecessary or seemingly excessive ways. One of the prime examples that comes to mind is students being forced to conform to obtuse writing standards that limit both the content and form of the students’ work. This reinforces traditional literacy practices and asserts that there is only one correct way to write, which in turn reinforces behavior most desirable for traditional capitalistic model of employment in which those who toe the line are much more sought after than those who can creatively problem solve. In short what I am attempting to say is that rigid guidelines, and managing of the writer, serve a purpose if the school is intended to churn out more worker bees for hive, but run counter to purpose of the school if it is supposed to be a place of actual learning and intellectual advancement.

Eli Coyle: Brandt’s The Rise of Writing (Intro & Chapter 1)

Eli Coyle: Brandt’s The Rise of Writing (Intro & Chapter 1)

Intro & Chapter 1 of The Rise of Writing: Redefining Mass Literacy by Deborah Brandt

The introduction of Deborah Brandt’s The Rise of Writing brings up the idea that digital technologies and digital literacies are responsible for a rise in daily mass writing. Accompanying this is the emergence of the so called knowledge or information economies that aren’t based in “manufacturing things so much as services–knowledge, ideas, data, information, news” (3). One claim Brandt brings up is, “For perhaps the first time in the history of mass literacy, writing seems to be eclipsing reading as the literate experience of consequence” (3).  Brandt then wonders about the implications of a mass shift from a reader based perspective into a writing based economy. While the historical value of writing has lied in the reading of it, authorship then takes on a different prestige as society starts to develop a more formative role in its written literacies. One distinction Brandt brings up in her sponsors of literacies is the idea that reading is more often associated with, “leisure, pleasure, worship, intimacy, and social approval and writing more readily with work, adult business, trouble, embarrassment, subterfuge, and trauma” (6). She also notes the role of the workplace in catalyzing changes in written literacies. Writing for Brandt, implies a much more controlled and regulated act than that of its counterpart reading and that is reflected in the role of writing in the workplace:

It became connected not to citizenship but to work, vocation, avocation, and practical living. Writing belonged to the transactional sphere, the employment and production sphere, where high-vaulted values of personal autonomy, critical expression, or civic activism rarely found traction and where, in fact, unauthorized writing could well lead to recrimination, if not incrimination. Rather than being protected in the Bill of Rights, the people’s writing came to be regulated by contract, labor law, and copyright, as writing skills were rented out as part of production  and profit making. (2)

This is a rather curious observation that Brandt has brought up and it is ever more apparent that with the development of the internet, literacy has started to shift more into a written based economy. Especially with the development of social networks, email, and text messaging, written literacies are being utilized much more often than they ever were previously .

However, despite the spillover of written literacies into the practical and leisurable realms of society, writing still operates and functions under a economic productivity brought about by government and business. Brandt talks about the roles of ghostwriting and copywriting through which successful people and higher realms of power subordinate their written literacies onto those that labor and author the written work. This practice brings up the idea of authorship and who truly owns the writing that is being produced and circulated. Brandt says, “Indeed, the idea that a text belongs to the person who writes it is not the only concept of authorship that can be found in current US copyright law. When it comes to writing undertaken within the scope of employment–in other words, the writing done by most people in society–copyright turns inside out under a provision called “Work Made for Hire,” the law is careful to sever writers from ownership claims over the texts that they write at work” (20). With this in mind, authorship takes on a more convoluted and conflicting stance giving ownership of literacy to the company or business.

The role of ghost-media-social networking is a similar issues that raises questions of authorship, intent, and accreditation and leads one to question the true author of the work. We see the roles of ghostwriting as well in law and in politics as ghostwriting, “especially highlights power exchanges between writing and social structures, and also illuminates assumptions about underlying reading and writing processes that enable such changes” (31). In a sense, the act of writing in a work or school based environment is a laborious act and those that dictate the content (teacher, lawyer, politician) possess the power over the work.  

The future of bilingualism with globalization

The future of bilingualism with globalization

So many of us, especially in academic settings, strive to attain the literacy peak of our chosen fields/areas of interest. In my more immediate world, I’m surrounded by many, doctorate bearing and not, who have pushed to reach the theoretical, academic peaks. As admirable as the devotion of these aspirations are, I can’t help but wonder what gets discarded in the process of reaching this rather long, windy destination? what are we overlooking on the way? What alternative roads are overlooked? From the influences of my own path, and my admittedly biased perspective, language seems to be one of them. In such a heavy handedly monolingual society, where many cannot be bothered to push beyond the lingua franca of the world, there is a lot being missed out, internal and external to the U.S. Even existing linguistically and cultural diverse populations feel the societal pressures of assimilation. With the current societal structuring and misguided, but well intentioned attempts to create a melting pot, vast and diverse pools of knowledge, as well as opportunities to reaffirm and expand identities are being lost. This loss begins with language.

I’m sure that there are plenty that might argue that with the influence of the U.S. there is less need to learn another language, outsiders can learn our standardized version. Around the world, there are plenty of people who assert such a pursuit is not necessary since they have not and never intend to leave the comforts of their country for extended periods of time. To this I say, beyond the more obvious, external and tangible gains found beyond the borders, there is also a much more significant, deeper internal exploration awaiting. Looking from a more instrumental perspective of literacy, as the world becomes increasingly interconnected, interaction with diverse cultures will become common. Even if said countries learn our language and understand us we could fail to understand them and stand on a stage of equal footing and exchange. The culturally inept are less likely to be incorporated.

Even if one doesn’t “master” a language, by expanding familiarity of languages and their cultures, one is able to better understand and consequently empathize with others (regardless of differences). In the long run, this should encourage international relations and harmony. The process of this literacy pursuit, not only expands access to realms of knowledge, but also the sense of the self. It’s a complicated, introspective and rewarding process.      For those already fortunate enough, it is paramount that we not only encourage multilingual backgrounds, but also nurture and preserve them. Through the preservation of a person’s language, their culture and associated identity also remain. If we want models, we need only to consult the successful educational programs of other countries.

 

Ramblings about Literacy and Composition

Ramblings about Literacy and Composition

As someone who is studying literacy and language as my pathway in the English graduate program, I have been enjoying my literacy course way too much. I’ve been waiting years to study literacy and work with it in a meaningful way. I am also taking a course on teaching composition which is working pretty hand in hand conceptually with my literacy course, go-figure. A few weeks ago, Kim Jaxon brought up the fact that most of us in her course obviously value literacy in some meaningful way because we were English majors. I started thinking about how I am at odds with myself in many ways when it comes to my values with English and composition, and with what I know about literacy.

What I know about my values with English and composition is that I think writing does something that is valuable, but I have also come to realize that composition isn’t just made up of written literacies; it is made up of a combination of written, oral, visual, and technological literacies. In the United States, and at least locally, these four literacies make up what I consider to be functional literacy. Technological literacies are the mediums in which the written, oral, and visual can come to life. One thing we have discussed in our course is that there are rising standards in literacy, and I want to make the claim that these standards are made up of these four literacies. Moreover, these literacies are what composition is all about. The act of making anything whether that is writing, making a film, or a photo montage are all literacy practices which are also acts of composing. In Yancey’s “Made Not Only in Words: Composition in a New Key”, she refers to composition as something that involves the oral, print, and screen, and composition education is the gateway to learning how to use these daily communicative, social, and intellectual literacy practices. She also states that if we don’t learn to expand our definition of composition then we risk becoming irrelevant. Essentially, we live in a time and place in which literacy is valued because it opens up opportunities for people that they may lack without those particular literacy skillsets. Composition is a course that is used remedially to teach a general literacy practice that can be used across and through literacy events.

Through composition, a teacher becomes a sponsor for their students’ literacy learning and enactment of their knowledges. Having such an important role, a teacher needs to be aware of their responsibility and decisions with how they teach their students, I call this metasponsoricalawareness. What I know is that when it comes to literacy it is influenced by a variety of things: location, university, professors, teaching practices/style of instruction, resources, platforms, audience(s), collaboration/isolation, public/private, mode(s), socioeconomic status, religion, history, etc. With that in mind, there is a quite complex set of factors that must be taken into consideration when teaching something like composition, and it requires a lot of reflection and consideration.

I also want to add that literacy does do some stuff, and I want to say that it communicates ideas, constructs identities, and creates community in ways that vary depending on the local and global literacy practices and events. While one does not need these things to participate in the world, I think they are not able to participate in the world in the same way as someone who has consistently expanding literacy skillsets. I know that personally I can participate in circles and conversations that I could not have prior to starting college. While one does not need to go to college to develop these skills, it is still something that has informed my identity. I have constructed who I am through the literacy practices and platforms that I have engaged in. My point is that, yes literacy matters, but I disagree that it is needed to live one’s life and be successful. At the same time, most things and jobs need a certain level of literacy capability. I just simply think that one can’t have the types of access they could have without having a certain level of literacy. My side note is that there are literacy specific sets of skills that are needed depending on ones path in life, and this ultimately should inform what a person learns and does with literacy.

“The White Man’s Agenda”

“The White Man’s Agenda”

One curious idea I have continued to look into is the historical perpetuation of dominant western culture over those they have been deemed as other. Specifically I am getting at the “White Man’s Agenda” as it is historically rooted in colonization and imperialism. This attitude whether we see it or not is firmly rooted in our institutions and in the very language practices we continue to teach and hold valuable. This very closed and rigid system of thinking has continued to benefit only those that have assimilated and or are privileged in their socioeconomic and cultural standings. Why is it that western language and culture is favored over those that are seen as different or separate? It comes down to control or at least a domination of one society/ cultural over the other. Life is too multifaceted for there to be any one or “right” way of existing as our values differ and are subjective in nature.

The Great Divide is of much interest to me because it seems that many oral traditions and cultures have been substituted for reading and writing ones and so it would be in the benefit of the oppressor to say that literate cultures are more intelligent and somehow “better”. How do we as a western society go about reconciling a history of enslavement, oppression, and domination of “inferior” societies? I would say it would have to start with those that possess the power such as the political and educational realms although it appears that they do not wish to change or relinquish their power. Composition is a curious place to begin with because writing I would say, is not a natural ability and that how we speak and communicate orally, does not resemble the same type of work we do when we write. Language has its downfalls, but it also possesses the possibility of expansion and freedom when it can be used to express oneself. If writing is going to be of use, let it be a route through which creativity flows in the same way someone might paint a picture or play a song. Systemization of writing is kind of absurd if you see language as an expressive art, an extension of someone’s feelings or thoughts. Writing has the potential to be a liberating mode into different ways of thinking and yet we teach students that they must adhere to certain grammatical forms and rules and that they must assimilate into the dull beehive of unexpressive and controlled ways of existing. I also believe that any creative or expressive forms of writing get exchanged very early on for the standardized and rigid form of prose we all too commonly know how to write. And its boring. I had an epiphany the other day as to why I got into creative writing (poetry) and I believe that it was my way of taking back my voice and sense of expression that I had lost within years of indoctrination and schooling.

Language, both written and oral, is our gateway into other people, other ideas, and into how we think and perceive. There is no way that any language is somehow “better” than any other and there is certainly no standardized way of determining whether you’re communicating or expressing yourself the “right” way. It once again comes back to who has the power and how are they keeping their power. One major way is through language. If you force someone else to talk like you and to think like you, then you are in turn diminishing their freedom. You are telling them they must look like this, do it like this, and play by these rules. Well I’m sorry but, evolution and change are inevitable and diversity is what allows for the complexity of life. Our differences are what make us whole within the scope of our experiences. I’m just a little pissed off that the blatant eradication of native cultures and language throughout the world even, has kind of just been swept under the rug. And maybe yes, it could be too late to do much about it now, but it’s just as apparent that we are continuing to blindly perpetuate it.

I’m very curious as to see where reading, writing, and oral communication will evolve into next. Will we evolve out of written language and into some other form? It is really hard to imagine right now, but I already see changes in how people are composing with video. I don’t necessarily see the written word going away anytime soon, but rather I see it changing. The white man’s agenda of social and cultural domination, is hopefully on the way out. However, it is up to us as the people to dissent from our history.

 

Power and Stratification

Power and Stratification

The area of literacy studies already seems so contested and polluted with ideological ideas it makes it a difficult subject to jump into to. Further, those ideological strains often pull heavily on sensitive cultural strings, especially within U.S. society, and playing with them risks reopening old wounds or toying with those still bleeding. However, there may be a necessity to reexamine how we as a society value individual literacies; the status quo has done little more than stratify sectors into cultural/social groupings, whether forced from outside or as an in-group decision, deliberate or not.

Literacy undoubtedly is intertwined with some kind of power; yet, the source is uncertain. Is it innate? Or do we simply ascribe it value? Some have claimed it is an entity in its own right. If that is the case, literacy itself would be the possessor of that power bestowing it onto others, which it obviously cannot do alone as an intangible object. With no will of its own, that power must transfer to or have begun with the wielder – a literate person. This concept gave rise to the ideology that literate people are somehow “better.” An old idea and one I find repugnant, but it does raise the question: Can a person with a particular literacy perform acts that a person without that literacy cannot? Without that literacy, is there no other way?

Moreover, I think one’s literacies, like relics on a shelf, illustrate their social and educational background, factual or assumed. In other words, one’s real or interpreted literacy “sponsors” are outed. Therefore, assumptions are also likely made of the person’s character and promise in a similar fashion as one’s clothes, hair, or choice of tattoos. This returns to the point made earlier regarding the stratification of society. It would seem that there is a naturally occurring impediment built into advanced society structures, which some claim are results of literacy, blocking those without particular literacies from entry where they are used.