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

Critical Literacy and Urban Youth

Pedagogies of Access, Dissent, and Liberation, 1st Edition

By Ernest Morrell


258 pages

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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


About the Series

Language, Culture, and Teaching Series

This series of texts for undergraduate- and graduate-level teacher education courses focuses on the intersections of language, culture, and teaching – specifically on how language and culture inform classroom practice. Books in the series are intended as primary or supplementary texts in the growing range of courses that address issues such as, but not limited to, foundations of multicultural education; multicultural children’s literature; teaching diverse populations; foundations of bilingual education; teaching English as a second language; and sociocultural issues in teaching.

The primary objectives of the series are to challenge traditional biases about diversity and about students of diverse languages and cultures, and to reframe the conventional idea of the textbook by envisioning classroom practice as critical, creative, and liberatory.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
EDUCATION / Philosophy & Social Aspects