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Literacy

  • Steven Alvarez
Chapter

Abstract

In The Darker Side of the Renaissance: Literacy, Territoriality, and Colonization, Walter D. Mignolo argues that European forms of literacy subordinated Amerindian epistemologies and were at the heart of the “invention” of the New World and its conquest. For Mignolo, European literacies resulted in geopolitical differences through the exercise of power. His interdisciplinary study of hemispheric literacy draws from sources ranging from historiography, cartography, semiotics, literature, and history stretched geographically and politically across the European-invented “New World.” Mignolo’s work asks us to probe the darker side of dominant literacies and to look at how various forms of local literacies have been historically associated with a hemisphere largely dominated by Europe and later the United States—and its expanding transnational corporate reach since the Monroe Doctrine (1823). The edited groundbreaking collection of Damian Baca and Victor Villanueva, Rhetorics of the Americas, demonstrates that the contributions of broadly conceived hemispheric writing studies offer multidisciplinary work in transnational literacy studies across fields; this includes locating local literacies and rhetorics hushed, but not silenced, by colonial power. Even though the Baca and Villanueva collection rightfully deserves credit for advancing studies of transnational literacies, further cross-field collaboration is necessary between the larger literacy studies in transnational contexts at the intersection of langauges, narratives, and rhetorics, historically in the Americas. Building on the arguments set forth by Mignolo, Baca, Villanueva, and company, this chapter proposes Translingual Literacy Studies as another avenue where composition and rhetoric can further add to conversations happening in Hemispheric Studies and to establish sites for cross-collaborations between disciplines.

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Authors and Affiliations

  • Steven Alvarez
    • 1
  1. 1.Writing, Rhetoric, & Digital StudiesUniversity of KentuckyLexingtonUSA

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