Approaches to literacy through literary theory, rhetoric and cultural studies. Examines issues involved with school and community literacy.
Theories of Literacy explores the history of and current ways in which reading and writing work in our global, digital world and what that means for diverse stakeholders in local communities. In the university, we tend to privilege academic literacy. What can we learn by examining community literacies in virtual spaces or the ways that groups of people outside of school understand and communicate knowledge about the world in a time of limited physical social connection? We’ll explore this question through a class community literacy project in which we will use digital technologies to learn directly from people in the community. You will gain experience in participatory action research as well as resume-building skills in project management. Through experiential learning, we will discover competing explanations (theories) of how reading and writing (literacies) work and are valued, critically reflect on how the theories we read about intersect with community experiences in digital spaces, and propose interventions to increase understanding of and access to literacy.