G405 1989 KINTGEN
Studies in English Language

1:25p-3:20p W (30) 3 cr.



This seminar will explore the relations between language and literacy, considering such questions as: How is literacy defined? How does literacy relate to knowledge of a language? How, when, and why are written or spoken forms of language used? What leads to the choice of one rather than the other? How is written or spoken language related to thinking? To power? To social change? We will begin with Shirley Brice Heath's Ways with Words, one of the most famous ethnographies of literacy ever written, which explores in great detail the uses of language and literacy in two communities in the Carolina Piedmont. We will then consider various aspects of literacy, including technologies for literacy; literacy, knowledge, and cognition; histories of literacy in the United States; the development of literacy; literacy, culture, and community; discourse in relation to power and privilege; literacy in relation to work and social change, and digital literacy.

We will follow a typical seminar format: our meetings will be discussions, and each student will be responsible for two group presentations and a fifteen-page final research paper.