1st Edition

Popular Culture and Representations of Literacy

By Bronwyn Williams, Amy Zenger Copyright 2007
    194 Pages 5 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    200 Pages 5 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

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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.

    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


    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.