Issue 3.2 -- Spring 2009

Issue 3.2: Spring 2009
Publication date: March 2009

Richard Rorty’s Social Hope and Community Literacy
Tom Deans

Abstract: This essay explores how the philosophical tradition of American pragmatism, and especially Richard Rorty’s work on social hope late in his career, could be relevant to community literacy. Pragmatism does not prescribe a particular approach to community literacy but, unlike many kinds of critical pedagogy, affirms a role for patriotism and liberalism in social change movements. Pragmatists such as Rorty prefer cooperative participation and incremental reform to either idealism or ideological critique.

So You Don’t Get Tricked: Counter-Narratives of Literacy in a Rural Mexican Community
Susan V. Meyers

Abstract: A recent 9-month field study considered the relationships among school-sponsored and community forms of literacy practices in a migrant-sending area of rural Mexico. While many teachers in rural Mexico argue that students should remain in school rather than migrate to the U.S., this study demonstrates the ways in which schools in rural Mexico often do not recognize the needs of the communities that they serve. As a result, students in these schools often develop a pragmatic orientation toward formal literacy. While many of the skills that they learn help them navigate commercial and government bureaucracies, these students do not adopt the values embedded in formal education. Rather, they implicitly question the promise of education as a neutral means to social and economic mobility.

Resisting Altruism: How Systematic Power and Privilege Become Personal in One-on-one Community Tutoring
Beth Godbee

Abstract: In this qualitative case study of one tutoring relationship, I present new data on the extracurriculum; investigate tutoring as it occurs in community spaces; and argue that individuals can connect across systematic inequalities through personal conversations around picture books, photographs, and other visual and textual materials. Rather than ignore individual positioning within institutionalized power and privilege, tutors and writers can strengthen relationships and make tutoring more effective by evaluating how the systematic becomes personal and intimately known in one-on-one conferencing.

The Extra-Curricular of Composition: A Dialogue on Community-Publishing
Steve Parks and Nick Pollard

Abstract: Our dialogue explores the development of community/university publishing partnerships in the United States through the dual lens of the U.S-based "Students Right To Their Own Language" and the U.K.-based Federation of Worker Writers and Community Publishers, a national alliance of working-class writing groups. At the conclusion of the article, pragmatic tools are provided on how to undertake community publishing projects.

Literacy, Place, and Migration in Philadelphia among Ethnic Chinese
Michael Rovito
Michele Masucci

Abstract: This paper seeks to introduce the need for scholars interested in literacy, geography, and cultural studies to examine the role of English language literacy in shaping assimilation experiences of recent immigrant groups. We consider a case study of English language self-efficacy among ethnic Chinese immigrants in the Philadelphia metropolitan area to suggest how language, place, and economic participation are mutually constructed. We conducted interviews with 21 individuals to gain insights about how they perceived this relationship. We also considered the effects of English language self-efficacy on the geographic extent of their daily activities. Perhaps it is not surprising that those who reported stronger English language skills had larger activity spheres in the metropolitan region. Among those who did not note strong language skills, Philadelphia's historic Chinatown remained prominent as a place of economic participation and center for daily activities and cultural cohesion. We suggest that more attention to the role of literacy and language self-efficacy is warranted among geographers interested in migration studies, assimilation experiences, and workforce participation issues related to immigrant groups.

Training Within Industry as Short-Sighted Community Literacy-appropriate Training Program: A Case Study of Worker-Centered Training and Its Implications
Dirk Remley

Abstract: This essay presents a case study of the modes used in training employees at a munitions plant in Ohio between 1940 and 1945. Theories of multimodal discourse and learning advanced by The New London Group (1996), Gunther Kress and Theo Van Leeuwan (2001) and Richard Mayer (2001) inform this analysis. With an unskilled labor force and many workers coming from oral literate traditions, the War Manpower Commission developed the Training Within Industry program, emphasizing visual and experiential literacies. This analysis can inform programs that use multimodal forms of instruction by acknowledging positive and negative implications of such literacy sponsorship.

Writing Is a Foreign Language, And a Senior Writing Workshop Is a Tower of Babel Whose Many Languages Need To Be Translated
Michelle Barany

Abstract: This paper, presented at the CCCC 08 Senior Citizens Writing session, draws upon my experiences as a senior workshop member and past teacher. Addressing workshop leaders, it emphasizes the need for the many-faceted seniors’ voices to be “translated” and tested within a workshop's microcosm before entering the outside world's macrocosm.

Books Reviewed

Long, Elenore. Community Literacy and the Rhetoric of Local Publics.
Reviewed by Reviewed by Erika Bronson.

Pahl, Kate, and Jennifer Roswell, eds. Travel Notes from the New Literacy Studies: Instances of Practice.
Reviewed by Greg Grewell.  

Delgado Bernal, Dolores C., Alejandra Elenes, Francisca E. Godinez, and Sofia Villenas, eds. Chicana/Latina Education in Everyday Life: Feminist Perspectives on Pedagogy and Epistemology.
Reviewed by Aja Y. Martinez.  

Moss, Beverly J., Nels P. Highberg, and Melissa Nicholas, eds. Writing Groups Inside and Outside the Classroom.
Reviewed by Elizabeth Tomlinson.