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University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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Colloquium Archive

Lester Faigley

Name: Lester Faigley, University of Texas, Austin

Presentation Title: "Material Literacy and Visual Design"

Date: September 17, 1998

Abstract

Lately the World Wide Web, most powerful publishing technology ever created to distribute both words and images, has provoked an eruption of jeremiads about how the Web is destroying literacy as we conceive of it in the academy--that critical thinking and reflection, a sense of order, dialectical interaction, logical relations in texts, depth of analysis, trails of sources, and the reform mission of public discourse are all going to be lost. The coming of the Web, however, does not have to be viewed as a loss to literacy. Images and words have long coexisted on the printed page and in manuscripts, but relatively few people possessed the resources to exploit the rhetorical potential of images combined with words. This presentation demonstrates that literacy has always been multidimensional and argues that we are only now becoming fully aware of its multidimensionality because computer technologies have made it possible for many people to produce and publish multimedia presentations.