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Transnational Literacies recent articles


Language and human rights discourses in Africa: Lessons from the African experience – J…

critical literacy,rights

“In this article, we investigate the question of who benefits from language minority research by analyzing the discourses of language rights and human rights jointly, because language rights are perforce part of human rights. We argue that some ‘small’ minority languages flourish and others fail unless speakers of these languages articulate their voices and needs. We also explore how human rights discourses relate to traditional practices. The interests of local communities and the involvement of linguists do not enhance the status of minority communities unless linguists traverse the gap between academic discourses on rights and vernacular discourses on similar topics. African linguists are themselves in a double bind: on the one hand, they seek to promote the interests of local communities and, on the other hand, they have to meet their professional obligations. They are not able to address the material needs of local communities because advocating language and human rights cannot resolve Africa’s intractable problems. In addition, epistemologically, African scholarship is not sufficiently contextualized to be relevant to complex, labile, and polyvalent contexts. The defining epistemological trope contributing to the crises in African scholarship on rights and other sociolinguistic topics is ‘theoretical extraversion’: African linguists construe their professional work as a space to test Western constructs rather than to develop endogenous knowledge practices, a situation that is difficult to overcome.”

Exemplary teachers: teaching for intellectual freedom – Pedagogies: An International Jo…

critical literacy

“Intellectual freedom has long been a desirable ideal and a foundational value for supporting democratic governance. Since 1948, it has been a universal human right. Given the unique nature of education in democratic societies, schools serve as a crucible for helping children understand and practise the rudiments of intellectual freedom. Drawing on a diverse sample of exemplary secondary school teachers across the United States (N = 81), this article describes how these teachers help develop intellectual freedom in their classrooms. Using their various disciplines as a vehicle, they primarily utilize collective inquiry to foster communication and encourage values and attitudes conducive to intellectual freedom.”




    “This article expounds on three central aspects necessary to comprehend the critical dialogue between the humanities and social sciences and Cultural Studies in Latin America: (1) The aesthetic and the critical versus the popular and the technocultural; (2) Transdisciplinarity and the clashes between the disciplines and (3) The displacement of literature in the redefinition of the ‘Latin American’ in the cultural theory of the 1980s in Latin America. This critical narrative reveals that the technocooperativity of the culture market demands that Cultural Studies leave aside knowledge of the negativity of the splitted, the errant and the lost. It corresponds to art and literature, to critical thinking, to reintroduce – in a minor key – the disorders of the unclassifiable in the world of the classified and the classifier. Only with the critical play of disobedient languages against the university technomarket can the resigned homology between the politics of governability, the administration of the social, the industrialization of the cultural and the professionalization of useful knowledge be bankrupted.”

    Disciplinarity and the study of world Englishes – SEARGEANT – 2012 – World Englishes – …


    “This paper examines the ways in which world Englishes studies are developing into a distinct academic discipline, and discusses the consequences of this regimentation of knowledge for teaching and research. By first outlining the various ways in which bodies of knowledge are organized into discrete disciplines, and then surveying the history and current status of world Englishes studies according to these classificatory processes, the paper presents a metadisciplinary inquiry into prevailing approaches to the study of English in the world today. It is hoped that reflexive investigation of this type can contribute to research and education in this area by making explicit the organizational framework – in terms both of the politics and epistemology – which structures present-day investigations into the worldwide use of the English language.”

    Negotiating the Multi in Multilingualism and Multiliteracies

    critical literacy

    “This article poses the following research question How do multilingual students in higher education negotiate the multi in their multilingualism and multiliteracies? The article presents data from a qualitative study conducted with eight multilingual undergraduate university students in which the participants describe their complex multilingualism and literacy practices in interviews and provide samples of their formal and less formal literacies for analysis. Findings show that participants creatively use their multilingual and multiliterate competencies in safe informal contexts, but in high-stakes academic contexts they relegate these competencies to conform to institutional expectations of standard academic writing in English. Analysis involves an interweaving of several theoretical perspectives: multilingualism as something combined and hybrid rather than discrete languages, multiliteracies, academic literacies, and identity formation as performed and negotiated in relation to powerful social and institutional discourses. The authors find the participants of the present study to be highly reflexive, knowledgeable, and skilled transnational learners, a finding that challenges pervasive discourses around multilingual learners that focus on deficit and remediation.”

    Multiple Literacies Theory: Discourse, sensation, resonance and becoming – Discourse: S…

    critical literacy,discourse

    “This thematic issue on education and the politics of becoming focuses on how a Multiple Literacies Theory (MLT) plugs into practice in education. MLT does this by creating an assemblage between discourse, text, resonance and sensations. What does this produce? Becoming AND how one might live are the product of an assemblage (May, 2005; Semetsky, 2003). In this paper, MLT is the approach that explores the connection between educational theory and practice through the lens of an empirical study of multilingual children acquiring multiple writing systems simultaneously. The introduction explicates discourse, text, resonance, sensation and becoming. The second section introduces certain Deleuzian concepts that plug into MLT. The third section serves as an introduction to MLT. The fourth section is devoted to the study by way of a rhizoanalysis. Finally, drawing on the concept of the rhizome, this article exits with potential lines of flight opened by MLT. These are becomings which highlight the significance of this work in terms of transforming not only how literacies are conceptualized, especially in minority language contexts, but also how one might live.”

    Living, learning, loving: Constructing a new ethics of integration in education – Disco…

    critical literacy,education

    “The paper positions education and learning in the context of Gilles Deleuze’s ethico-political philosophy oriented to becoming-other amidst experiences and events. Deleuze’s unorthodox affective epistemology is inseparable from ethics in terms of real-life consequences at the level of practice. The paper presents the critical and clinical analysis of experiential events as texts comprising a mode of the informal pedagogy in terms of creating new concepts, meanings, and values for experience. The logic of sense foregrounds ethical evaluations of experience with regard to multiple directions we might take in novel situations, which disrupt common sense with problems that do not yet yield answers as univocal and unidirectional solutions. The paper conceptualizes a model of the new ethics of integration as a follow-up to the ethics of care in education informed by the relational self-other dynamics and moral interdependence.”

    Activist Journalism: Using Digital Technologies and Undermining Structures – Ashuri – 2…


    “This article explores how human interactions with networked technologies enable and constrain the emergence of social structures that nourish public knowledge and experience. By adapting Anthony Giddens’ (1984) Structuration Theory and extending its perspective to technology (W. J. Orlikowski, 2000 ), the study endeavors to examine the manner in which engagement with networked technologies by people outside mainstream news organizations reproduces structures that neutralize the power of media institutions to construct social reality, as well as the manner in which their actions simultaneously produce new social structures (N. Couldry, 2000 ). The study is grounded in analysis of the online activities of members of Machsom Watch–a women’s organization that monitors the human rights of Palestinians at checkpoints set up by the Israeli army.”

    Racial Pedagogy of the Oppressed: Critical Interracial Dialogue for Teachers of Color -…

    critical literacy

    “Brazilian education activist Paulo Freire ( 1970 12. Freire , P. 1970 . Pedagogy of the oppressed , New York , NY : Continuum . View all references ) argues that to create social change, oppressed people must have critical consciousness about their conditions, and that this consciousness is developed through dialogue. He theorizes that dialogue allows for reflection and unity building, tools needed to transform society. When considering racial oppression in K-12 schools, racial minority teachers have an often-untapped insight and power to transform classrooms and schools (Kohli, 2009 21. Kohli , R. 2009 . Critical race reflections: Valuing the experiences of teachers of color in teacher education . Race, Ethnicity and Education , 12 ( 2 ) : 235 – 251 . [Taylor & Francis Online] , [Web of Science ®] View all references ). Connected through a commonality of racial oppression, it is important for teachers of color to engage in cross-racial dialogues about manifestations of racial injustice in K-12 schools and to develop strategies for change. Utilizing Freire’s conceptual lens and a critical race theory (CRT) framework, this article highlights critical race dialogue about the educational experiences and observations of 12 black, Latina, and Asian American women enrolled in a teacher education program. Through cross-racial discussions, the women were able to broaden their multicultural understanding of racial oppression as well as strategize solidarity building among diverse students in urban classrooms. This study demonstrates knowledge and insights of teachers of color and highlights the importance of interracial dialogue in school contexts.”

    Fostering a Commitment to Social Action: How Talking, Thinking, and Feeling Make a Diff…


    “Intergroup dialogue is designed to foster commitment to action. This article analyzes papers written by students in 52 intergroup dialogue courses (N = 739) to test a theoretical model of how intergroup dialogue is expected to encourage frequency of acting to educate others and to collaborate with others. The theoretical model posits that dialogue pedagogy fosters distinctive communication processes, which influence psychological processes that, in turn, relate to action (Nagda, 2006 21. Nagda , B. A. 2006 . Breaking barriers, crossing boundaries, building bridges: Communication processes in intergroup dialogues . Journal of Social Issues , 62 : 553 – 576 . [CrossRef] , [Web of Science ®] View all references ; Sorensen, Nagda, Gurin, & Maxwell, 2009 31. Sorensen , N. , Nagda , B. A. , Gurin , P. and Maxwell , K. 2009 . Taking a “hands on” approach to diversity in higher education: A critical-dialogic model for effective intergroup interaction . Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy , 9 ( 1 ) : 3 – 35 . [CrossRef] View all references ). Statistical analyses of the number of references to each of these concepts that were coded in the students’ papers provide substantial support for the model. Dialogue pedagogy, communication processes, and psychological processes all influenced how much students wrote about action, and the influence of these concepts conforms to the theoretical model. Results also show that educating others was written about more by students in race/ethnicity dialogues than in gender dialogues, at least partially because students in race/ethnicity dialogues also wrote more about the communication processes and psychological processes that specifically related to educating others.”

    Strategic unknowns: towards a sociology of ignorance – Economy and Society – Volume 41,…


    “Developing an agenda for the social study of ignorance, this paper introduces the sociology of strategic unknowns: the investigation of the multifaceted ways that ignorance can be harnessed as a resource, enabling knowledge to be deflected, obscured, concealed or magnified in a way that increases the scope of what remains unintelligible. In contrast to theoretical preoccupations that underlie the study of knowledge accumulation, a focus on the importance of strategic unknowns resists the tendency to value knowledge over ignorance or to assume that the procurement of more knowledge is linked in an automatic or a linear fashion to the attainment of more social or political power. Refining and challenging the assumption that modern liberal societies inevitably thrive on the accumulation of information about the public personas, private psyches, consumer habits or political proclivities of citizens, the papers in the special issue explore how the cultivation of strategic unknowns remains a resource – perhaps the greatest resource – for those in a position of power and those subject to it.”

    Pedagogical and political encounters in linguistically and culturally diverse primary c…

    critical literacy

    “Comparative research in multilingual urban primary schools indicates that the pedagogical and political goals of schooling may operate at cross-purposes. Classroom observations and teacher interview-discussions were conducted in classes for immigrant children in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, where the language of instruction is French, and in classes in Pretoria, Gauteng Province, South Africa, where children from many different language backgrounds are taught in English. Two main themes emerged: (1) pedagogically, effective teacher–learner communication can break down when teachers are unaware of the roles that language and culture play in second language classrooms; (2) politically, efforts to assimilate learners into new socio-cultural/political contexts sometimes take precedence over sound pedagogical practice, such as drawing on the linguistic and cultural repertoire that learners bring to the classroom. This ongoing qualitative research underlines the importance of preparing pre-service and in-service teachers for the linguistic and cultural diversity they are bound to encounter in their classrooms, and of deepening their understanding of the influence of such diversity on the teaching–learning process.”

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