Literacy in Historical Perspective
Fall Semester 1995
Location: Willard Hall, Room 311
Time: Thursdays 4:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Instructor Richard L. Venezky
Office: 211 WHL x8126
Office Hrs: 2:30 - 3:30 Wednesday & Thursday
1. What drove the spread of literacy in the Western World over the last 1,000 years?
2. What are the cognitive consequences of literacy?
3. How have methods of teaching reading related to concepts of childhood?
4. How have nations and organizations controlled the extent of literacy and the content of what people read?
5. How has literacy been used over time by individuals and by commercial organizations?
6 Do people read differently now from how they read in the past and will reading in the future be markedly altered by electronic technologies?
A reading list and course outline is attached. Students will be assigned responsibility for leading class discussions on each of the course readings. In addition, two short papers (8 - 12 pp.) and one major paper will be assigned. Grading will be based on class participation (20%), short papers (20% each), and the term paper (40%).
Literacy in Historical Perspective
August 31 Introduction; Issues; Methods; Background
September 7 General Trends
September 21 Agents of Change - Religion and Social Control
September 28 Consequences of Literacy
October 5 Teaching to Read - I
October 12 Teaching to Read - II
Paper 1 due
October 19 Control of Literacy Access
October 26 Control of Print
November 2 Textbooks as a Form of Control
November 9 Uses of Literacy - Consumerism
November 16 Personal Uses of Literacy
November 23 Thanksgiving
December 7 Reading Habits - Past
Reading Habits - Future
Birkerts, S. (1994) Ch. 13
Lanham, R.A. (1993) Ch. 8
Project Reports (oral presentations)
December 14 Project Reports due
Topics and Readings
I. The Growth and Spread of Literacy
1. Richard L. Venezky. (1991). The development of literacy in the industrialized nations of the West. In R. Barr et al. (Eds.) Handbook of Reading Research, Vol. 2. (pp. 46 - 67). NY: Longman.
2. Michael T. Clanchy. (1993). From Memory to Written Record: England 1066 - 1307 (2nd ed.). Introduction & Chs. 2 & 10.
3. Carl F. Kaestle. (1991). Studing the history of literacy. In Carl F. Kaestle et al. (Eds.), Literacy in the United States: Readers and Reading since 1880 (pp. 3-32). New Haven: Yale University Press.
4. Talcott Parsons. (1982). Talcott Parsons on Institution and Social Evolution: Selected Writings Edited and with an Introduction by Leon H. Mayhew Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Chs. 16 - 18.
5. Elizabeth L. Eisenstein. (1979). The Printing Press as an Agent of Change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Ch. 1
6. Michael T. Clanchy. (1983). Look back from the invention of printing. In D.P. Resnick (Ed.). Literacy in Historical Perspective (pp. 7 - 22). Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress.
7. G. Strauss. (1984). Lutheranism and literacy: A reassessment. In K. von Greyerz (Ed.), Religion and Society in Early Modern Europe (pp. 109 - 123). London: George Allen & Unwin.
8. David P. Nord. (1984). The evangelical origins of mass media in America, 1815 - 1835. Journalism Monographs, 88, 1 - 30
9. James Van Horn Melton. (1988). Absolutism and the Eighteenth-century Origins of Compulsory Schooling in Prussia and Austria. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Introduction & Ch. 6.
II. Consequences of literacy
10. R. Narasimhan (1991). Literacy: Its characterization and implications. In D.R. Olson and N. Torrance (Eds.). Literacy and Orality (pp. 177 - 197). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
11. David Olson. (1994). The World on Paper: The Conceptual and Cognitive Implications of Writing and Reading. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Chs. 1 - 2.
III. Teaching to Read
2. Milford M. Mathews. (1966). Teaching to Read, Historically Considered. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, Chs. 5 - 8.
3. Edmund B. Huey. (1908). The Psychology and Pedagogy of Reading. NY: Macmillan. Chs. 14 & 15.
4. Richard L. Venezky. (1987). Steps toward a modern history of American reading instruction. Review of Research in Education, 13, 129 -167.
5. Mary Lynn Stevens Heininger. (1984). Children, childhood, and change in America, 1820 - 1920. In M.L.S. Heininger, et al., A Century of Childhood, 1820 - 1920 (pp. 1 - 32). Rochester, NY: The Margaret Woodbury Strong Museum.
6. E. Jennifer Monaghan. (1988). Literacy instruction and gender in colonial New England. American Quarterly, 40 (1), 18 - 41.
IV. Control of Literacy
2. T. Webber (1978). Deep like the Rivers: Education in the Slave Community, 1831 - 1865. New York: Norton. Chs. 2 & 11.
3. John P. Feather. (1983). From censorship to copyright: Aspects of the government's role in the English book trade 1695 - 1775. In Kenneth & Carpenter (Ed.), Books and Society in History (pp. 173 - 198). NY: R.R.Bowker.
4. Joan DelFattore. (1992). What Johnny Shouldn't Read: Textbook
Censorship in America. New Haven: Yale University Press. Chs. 2 - 3.
5. Richard L. Venezky. (1992). Textbooks in school and society. In Philip W. Jackson (Ed.), Handbook of Research on Curriculum (pp. 436 - 461). NY: Macmillan.
6. Stanley W. Lindberg. (1979). Institutionalizing a myth: The McGuffey Readers and the self-made man. Journal of American Culture, 2 (1), 71 - 82.
7. Henry Steel Commager. (1962). Foreward to McGuffey's Fifth Eclectric Reader 1879 edition. NY: Signet Classics.
8. Jean Anyon. (1979). Ideology and United States history textbooks. Harvard Educational Review, 49 (3), 361 - 386.
V. Uses of Literacy
1. Christopher P. Wilson. (1983). The rhetoric of consumption. Mass-market magazines and the demise of the gentle reader, 1880 - 1920. In R.W. Fox and J.J. Jackson Lears (Eds.), The Culture of Consumption (pp. 39 - 64). NY: Pantheon Books.
2. Richard Ohmann. (1987). Politics of Letters. Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan University Press. Ch. 9.
3. Michael Schudson. (1986). Advertising, the Uneasy Persuasion: Its Dubious Impact on American Society. NY: Basic Books. Ch. 5.
4. Janice A. Radway. (1989). The Book-of-the-Month Club and the general reader: The uses of "serious" fiction. In C.N. Davidson (Ed.). Reading in America: Literature and social history (pp. 259 - 284). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.
5. Michael Denning. (1987). Mechanic Accents: Dime Novels and Working-class Culture in America. London: Verso. Chs. 3 - 4.
6. Cathy N. Davison. (1986). Revolution and the Word: The Rise of the Novel in America. NY: Oxford University Press. Ch. 4.
VI. Reading Habits
2. David Hall. (1983). The uses of literacy in New England, 1600 - 1850. In William L. Joyce, et al. Printing and Society in Early America (pp. 1 - 47). Worcester: American Antiquarian Society.
3. Sven Birkerts. (1994). The Gutenberg Elegies: The Fate of Reading in an Electronic Age. Boston: Faber and Faber. Ch. 13.
4. Richard A. Lanham. (1993). The Electronic Word: Democracy, Technology, and the Arts. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Ch. 8.