Kells, Michelle Hall. “Mapping the Cultural Ecologies of Language and Literacy.” Cross-Language Relations in Composition. Eds. Horner, Bruce, Min-Zhan Lu and Paul Kei Matsuda. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2010. 204-11. Print.

  • First K. recognizes that, in some senses, we’re all “transcultural citizens”; however, she then asks how we might actually map the cultural ecologies that shape language and literacy. . . considering their deep imbrications.  For K., this is the central concern/question that should motivate work in the field.
  • K. notes that the political climate has been particularly hostile towards ethnolinguistic pluralism.  She recognizes Obama’s push towards bilingualism in the face of globalized citizenship in order to also recognize how some factions of the American political scene consider non-monolinguals un-American.
  • Royster’s three basic assertions to understanding the relationship among language, literacy, and rhetorical action:  1)  literacy is an instrument of power; 2) power is used to fulfill needs and desires; and 3) desires include freedom, justice, and the ability to exert agency in a accommodating environment.  K. contends that literacy and language are the ways we advocate through rhetorical action for these inalienable human rights (206).
  • K. claims that global literacy must provide individuals with the ability to read (interpret), write (respond to) and recognize difference (value) in the world.  This affirmation of difference is key to the widespread involvement of individuals in deliberative democracy.  That being said, K. claims that “global literacy” isn’t enough; rather, she proposes a “cultural ecology ethic that promotes social justice” (206).  Because social justice and inclusion are never finished, the work of promoting linguistic pluralism is always ongoing.
  • K. claims (following Smitherman) that folks in the discipline should advocate for linguistic diversity at the institutional level by exploiting “the rhetorical resources within our domain as language and literacy experts” (210).

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