top of page

LRC 696A - Anthropology of Literacy

Dr. Perry Gilmore

Course Description​ - The course will explore the “anthropology of literacy” research and literature and examine and critique the state of the art and the implications for the future.  In recent years the nature and role of literacy has been studied and debated in a wide variety of disciplines. While early studies of reading and writing tended to focus on cognitive processes, in the past two decades the view of literacy as a social and cultural phenomenon has received much credence and attention. With this sociocultural conceptualization of literacy, it became necessary to use research theories and methods more suited to the study of cultural processes.  


Learning Objectives - To discuss and summarize the assigned readings in the class seminar sessions. A final paper with the topic being approved by the professor will be presented to the class throughout the course of the semester.

A Semester of Readings and Reflection

In this course we read some of the best books and articles about literacy and culture.  The discussions were deeply emotional and highly engaging.  We covered a lot of ground during the semester and got to know each other and the professor on many levels.  Listed below are a sample of books discussed during our time together.

  1. Ways with Words - Shirley Brice Heath

  2. The Ethnography of Reading - John Boyarin

  3. Keeping Slug Woman Aliv: A Holistic Approach to American Indian Text - Greg Sarris

  4. Social Linguistics and Literacies: Ideology in Discourse - James Gee

  5. Literaciy and Literacies: Texts, Power and Identity - James Collin


For my final project, I chose to write and produce a media piece on the "Evolution of Storytelling". I have also included a very personal "Autobiographical Essay" we shared in the first few weeks of class.

bottom of page