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Writing Now: New Directions in Mass Literacy

Deborah Brandt
Deborah Brandt
Deborah Brandt

To think of literacy as a staple of life—on the order of indoor lights or clothing—is to understand how thoroughly most Americans in these times are able to take their literacy for granted. It also is to appreciate how central reading and writing can be to people’s sense of security and well-being, even to their sense of dignity. -Deborah Brandt, Literacy in American Lives

This presentation invites discussion about how the rise of writing as a grounds of mass literate experience over the last 50 years challenges traditional values we have long associated with mass literacy. While we often think of reading and writing as similar and mutually supportive processes, mass reading and mass writing have distinct—and even rivalrous—cultural histories. This talk traces the ways that individuals’ writing and reading have been treated differently in economic and legal contexts in the U.S., and how those differences register in the daily literate experiences of workers and youth.

Deborah Brandt is professor emerita of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is the author of the multi-award winning Literacy in American Lives(Cambridge, 2001) and most recently Literacy and Learning: Reflections on Writing, Reading and Society (Jossey-Bass, 2009).

Monday, April 11, 2011 6:30-7:30 pm Kennesaw State University Carmichael Student Center, University Rooms D & E

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