In his latest writings on the history of literacy and its importance for present understanding and future rethinking, historian Harvey J. Graff continues his critical revisions of many common ideas among scholars and others. The eight wide-ranging and diverse essays speak to each other's central concerns about the place of literacy in modern and late-modern culture and society, and its complicated historical foundations. The introduction for Literacy Myths, Legacies, & Lessons sets the stage for connections between the principle concerns of this book. Drawing on other aspects of his research, Graff places the chapters that follow in the context of current thinking and major concerns about literacy, and the development of both historical and interdisciplinary studies. Special emphasis falls upon the usefulness of "the literacy myth" as an important subject for interdisciplinary study and understanding. Critical stock-taking of the field includes reflections on Graff's own research and writing of the last three decades and the relationships that connect interdisciplinary rethinking and the literacy myth.
The collection is noteworthy for its attention to Graff's reflections on his identification of "the literacy myth" and in developing the website LiteracyStudies@OSU as a model for university-wide interdisciplinary programs. They also deal with ordinary fears about literacy, or illiteracy, that are shared by academics and concerned citizens. The nontechnical essays will speak to both academic and non-academic audiences across disciplines and cultural orientations.
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