Popular Culture and Representations of Literacy: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Popular Culture and Representations of Literacy

1st Edition

By Bronwyn Williams, Amy Zenger


194 pages | 5 B/W Illus.

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Movies are filled with scenes of people of all ages, sexes, races, and social classes reading and writing in widely varied contexts and purposes. Yet these scenes go largely unnoticed, despite the fact that these images recreate and reinforce pervasive concepts and perceptions of literacy.

This book addresses how everyday literacy practices are represented in popular culture, specifically in mainstream, widely-distributed contemporary movies. If we watch films carefully for who reads and writes, in what settings, and for what social goals, we can see a reflection of the dominant functions and perceptions that shape our conceptions of literacy in our culture. Such perceptions influence public and political debates about literacy instruction, teachers' expectations of what will happen in their classrooms, and student's ideas about what reading and writing should be.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements; Introduction; Chapter One: Literacy in Everyday Life, Literacy on the Screen; Section I. Representations of Literacy and Identity; Chapter Two. The Pragmatic and the Sentimental: Literacy and Gender Roles; Chapter Three: Who's Allowed to Read and Write? Literacy and Social Class; Chapter Four: Writing Others: Literacy and Race; Section II. Literacy and Social Contexts; Chapter Five: Control and Action: Literacy as Power; Chapter Six. The Ambiguity of Texts: Literacy as Danger; Section III: Literacy Myths in the Movies; Chapter Seven: The Passions of the Romantic Author: Literacy as Individualism; Chapter Eight: The Triumph of the Word: Literacy as Salvation and Commodity; Chapter Nine: Life is Not Like the Movies (Or Is it?): Literacy on Film and in Our Lives; References; Filmography; Index

About the Authors

Bronwyn T. Williams is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Louisville. His publications include the books Tuned In: Television and the Teaching of Writing and the edited collection Composing Identities: Literacy and Power in Higher Education.

Amy Zenger is an Assistant Professor of English at the American University of Beirut. Her essays have appeared in the Journal of Curriculum Theorizing and Rhetoric Review.

About the Series

Routledge Research in Literacy

This series is the home for high quality monographs and edited collections in Literacy Studies. We publish books by leading-edge researchers engaged in international dialogues on a broad range of topics. Many of our volumes are by leaders in the field of Literacy Studies; others are by relatively new scholars. You are welcome to contact the editors if you would like to discuss your idea prior to submitting a proposal.

Please send ideas/proposals to Uta Papen ([email protected]), Julia Gillen ([email protected]), and Elsbeth Wright ([email protected]).

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General