As we begin our work in Unit 1 of our course, we are looking at what Literacy is and how we can apply and understand it, as well as understanding how we as individuals become literate and what literacy means not just to each individual, but as a cultural, social, and contextual concept.
Reflect back on the Andrea Fishman piece and Deborah Brandt’s piece on literacy sponsors. In it, she describes how Eli Jr.’s contexts of literacy and what they mean to his culture. Fishman is also rhetorically analyzing the context of literacy as a whole, and argues that while to ‘mainstream’ culture Eli’s life may seem backwards or even simplistic, the concept of literacy to the Amish is seen as extremely important in a way that is almost foreign to outsiders. At the same time, Fishman’s words can also be rhetorically analyzed; she has a very obvious argument that she is trying to make in her ethnography of Eli and the Amish that goes beyond the family’s interactions and looks outward into how American culture teaches literacy and values (or doesn’t) value literacy beyond technical ability.
In this discussion, consider your own literacy history and past. How and why were you taught to be literate? Who or what influenced that literacy