CFP: Alphabetical Orders: New Histories of Literacy (1/15/04; collection)

full name / name of organization: 
Martin Brueckner

Alphabetical Orders: New Histories of Literacy

Recent grammatologies have shifted from deconstruction and semiotics to
materialist readings of the history of literacy, aided by new
scholarship on technologies of inscription and alphabetization and
interdisciplinary work in book history and media studies. We are
seeking contributions to an essay collection that will further identify
and elaborate this new field of study, locating practices and ideologies
of alphabetization as key to a wide range of cultural formations:
nation-building, the politics of race and colonialism, subject
formation, the history of pedagogy, technologies of communication, the
history of childhood, the development of literary genres. While our
chronological and geographic focus will be on the evolution of mass
literacy in the British and American Atlantic from the early modern
period to 1900, we will welcome essays from other places and periods as

Possible topics might include:

- Native American literacies: vernacular alphabets, boarding schools,
transliteration and translation, Native American literary genres
- Spaces of pedagogy: schools, libraries, the home; pedagogical theory
and practice; de-schooling
- Alphabetized genres: bildungsromane, visual poetry, school stories,
- Postmodern alphabets: semiotic experiments, visual arts and alphabets,
graphics and design
- Translating the alphabet: secret codes, hieroglyphs, ideographs;
non-alphabetic, immigrant, and oral literacies
- Occult and spiritual alphabets: ouija boards, ghosts, the invisible
world, kabbalah, mystical alphabets
- Economics of literacy: letters in the marketplace, advertising,
linguistic exchange
- Poetics of alphabetization: theorizing historicism, psychoanalysis,
new formalism, etc.
- African American literacy: underground signs, subversive adaptations,
alternative codes
- Technologies of the alphabet: telegraphy, sign language, cryptography,
braille, typography, phonography, stenography, optometry, Freud's
writing block
- Alphabetized bodies: dance, drama, tattoos, surgery
- Erotics of literacy: love letters, transference, sexuality
- Alphabetic and analphabetic children: the wild child, prodigies,
children who read too much, truants, dyslexics

Please send a cv and a 3-page proposal (or completed paper) to Patricia
Crain ( or Martin Brückner ( by 15
January, 2004. Accepted papers of 6,000-9,000 words will be due by 1
August, 2004.

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Received on Thu Jun 05 2003 - 20:10:55 EDT