Name: Harvey Graff, The Ohio State University
Presentation Title: "Lessons from the History of Literacy/Literacy Studies at OSU"
Date: April 21, 2005
Slicing into literacy’s past and future…I ask if matters relating to literacy, its conditions, its relationships to lives and its lessons, and especially our understandings, have changed? Have we learned from our experience over times long and short? In asking such questions, I try to read “signs of the times.” I will speak in part to such questions as:
- What is the state of play between practices of literacy and talk about them? How do matters of discourse and ideology shape practices? What are the limits of current conceptualizations?
- What are the New Literacy Myths? What is their relationship to the social, cultural, economic and political change?
- Literacies or Literacy? What’s wrong with these terms and the conceptualizations on which they stand?
In addition, as time allows, I will also reflect on the unusual opportunity that I confront as the founding Ohio Eminent Scholar in Literacy Studies and Professor of English and History at The Ohio State University—a transformed location especially for a social historian (even if an unusually interdisciplinary historian).
Revisioning/reimagining myself and my contributions professional and academic-institutional provides an opportunity to foster, promote and even “institutionalize” a different and fresh, historically grounded but also expansive, critical, and comparative approach to literacy and its study. This might be construed in terms of simultaneously deconstructing and reconstructing literacy studies.