Critical Literacy and Urban Youth : Pedagogies of Access, Dissent, and Liberation book cover
1st Edition

Critical Literacy and Urban Youth
Pedagogies of Access, Dissent, and Liberation

ISBN 9780805856644
Published December 10, 2007 by Routledge
272 Pages

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Book Description

Critical Literacy and Urban Youth offers an interrogation of critical theory developed from the author’s work with young people in classrooms, neighborhoods, and institutions of power. Through cases, an articulated process, and a theory of literacy education and social change, Morrell extends the conversation among literacy educators about what constitutes critical literacy while also examining implications for practice in secondary and postsecondary American educational contexts. This book is distinguished by its weaving together of theory and practice.

Morrell begins by arguing for a broader definition of the "critical" in critical literacy – one that encapsulates the entire Western philosophical tradition as well as several important "Othered" traditions ranging from postcolonialism to the African-American tradition. Next, he looks at four cases of critical literacy pedagogy with urban youth: teaching popular culture in a high school English classroom; conducting community-based critical research; engaging in cyber-activism; and doing critical media literacy education. Lastly, he returns to theory, first considering two areas of critical literacy pedagogy that are still relatively unexplored: the importance of critical reading and writing in constituting and reconstituting the self, and critical writing that is not just about coming to a critical understanding of the world but that plays an explicit and self-referential role in changing the world. Morrell concludes by outlining a grounded theory of critical literacy pedagogy and considering its implications for literacy research, teacher education, classroom practice, and advocacy work for social change.

Table of Contents



Chapter One Introduction

Chapter Two From Plato to Poststructuralism: The Philosophical Foundations of Critical Literacy

Chapter Three "Othered" Critical Traditions

Chapter Four Teaching Popular Culture in an Urban English Secondary Classroom

Chapter Five Conducting Community-based Research with Urban Youth

Chapter Six Cyberactivism

Chapter Seven Critical Media Literacy

Chapter Eight Critical Literacy as Care for the Self

Chapter Nine Critical Literacy as Social Praxis

Chapter Ten A Vision of Critical Literacy in Urban Education

Appendix A Data Collection and Data Analysis Procedures


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Ernest Morrell


"Morrell challenges preservice and practicing teachers to embrace complex ideas in order to improve their classroom practice, especially if they want their students to become critical and engaged citizens of our nation and world…. Critical Literacy and Urban Youth is a passionate book, elegantly written and beautifully developed. Drawing on the ideas of Paulo Freire, Morrell makes no apologies for believing in and trusting both students and teachers. For him, writing and indeed all literacies, are practices of freedom. Confident that teachers can create classrooms and schools that are critical, lively, and hopeful spaces, he provides teachers and those about to enter the profession with inspiration."--Sonia Nieto, From the Foreword

"… an exciting, edgy new book of real interest to contemporary graduate students and researchers in cultural studies and critical literacy. Morrell is clearly doing landmark work in critical literacy with urban youth."--Tom Bean, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, United States