The Center for Writing Studies

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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Colloquium Archive

Deborah Brandt

Name: Deborah Brandt, University of Wisconsin

Presentation Title: "Causes for Literacy in the 20th Century"

Date: March 24, 1992

Abstract

Drawing on oral histories of 65 Americans describing their memories of learning to write and read, this talk sketches out some of the cultural conditions by which a mass literacy of the late 19th and early 20th century became an advanced literacy in the late 20th century. What did this evolution mean in terms of the avenues by which people encountered writing and reading, the tools and institutions involved, and, especially, their modifications for becoming literate?