Mapping Transnational Literate Lives: Narratives, Languages and Histories
by Amber M. Buck & Gail E. Hawisher
Abstract | This chapter focuses on literacy narratives of three women with transnational experiences and pays particular attention to languages and histories of place while focusing on the writing, images, and talk that are central to their multilingual literate lives. Debleena Biswas centers her narrative on the Calcutta Book Fair and her experiences there as a young adult, shaped by the many languages that informed her childhood. Cornelia Pokrzywa highlights the space of the home as central to her language experiences as a child and takes viewers on a tour of Croatian children’s books. Lisa Chason also discusses children’s books and describes their importance to her as an adult language learner of Dutch and as an American living in the Netherlands. In taking up these transnational narratives, we designed our chapter to reflect the centrality of language and place to these women’s lives as they craft their stories in print, audio, and video. We feature their videos, images, and text about physical cities like Calcutta and Amsterdam—and abstract locations like neighborhood, home, and school—to demonstrate their emerging literacy histories. As these women construct their narratives, they see themselves as outside of and among different cultures, influenced by all perhaps but belonging to none. While these narratives represent just three women’s transnational experiences, they illustrate—through spoken and written words and images—the potential importance that the DALN might assume in representing transnational literacy experiences from a multiplicity of perspectives.
About the Curators | Amber M. Buck is an Assistant Professor of English at the College of Staten Island, CUNY where she studies digital literacies, new media and identity, and multimodal composition. Her work has appeared in Research in the Teaching of English, Computers and Composition and the edited collection Ubiquitous Learning, edited by Bill Cope and Mary Kalantzis. Her most recent project examines students' literacy and identity practices on social network sites.
Gail E. Hawisher is University Distinguished Teacher/Scholar and Professor Emeritus of English at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, USA, where she also founded the Center for Writing Studies and the University of Illinois Writing Project. Her work engages literate activity and new information technologies and is reflected in her books with Cynthia Selfe, Literate Lives in the Information Age (2004); Passions, Pedagogies, and 21st Century Technologies (1999); and Global Literacies and the World Wide Web (2000), among them. In 2004, she was honored with the Lynn Martin Award for Distinguished Women Faculty and the Illinois Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. With Patrick Berry, she and Selfe are coauthors of Transnational Literate Lives in Digital Times, a study of how people across the world take up literacy and digital media.
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Cite this Exhibit
MLA: Buck, Amber M., and Gail E. Hawisher. “Mapping Transnational Literate Lives: Narratives, Languages and Histories.” Stories That Speak to Us: Exhibits from the Digital Archive of Literacy Narratives. Ed. H. Lewis Ulman, Scott Lloyd DeWitt, & Cynthia L. Selfe. Logan, UT: Computers and Composition Digital Press, 2013. Web.
APA: Buck, A. M., & Hawisher, G. E. (2013). Mapping Transnational Literate Lives: Narratives, Languages and Histories. In H. L. Ulman, S. L. DeWitt, & C. L. Selfe (Eds.), Stories that Speak to Us: Exhibits from the Digital Archive of Literacy Narratives. Logan, UT: Computers and Composition Digital Press.