Multilingual Literacy Landscapes
by Alanna Frost & Suzanne Blum Malley
Abstract | In this curated exhibit of literacy narratives, we (Frost and Blum Malley) reflect on the work that five of our students have recorded or composed for submission to the Digital Archive of Literacy Narratives (DALN). The literacy narratives of multilingual contributors to the DALN serve as a valuable resources for understanding and appreciating the linguistic and rhetorical versatility with which multilingual composers creatively navigate a variety of contexts, discourses, and modes of communication.
Rodriguez argues for a methodology of studying writing in public spaces that can determine a community’s “ethnolinguistic vitality” (1). It is, indeed, this vitality that we feel best describes the multilingual and multimodal compositions found on the DALN. We see multiple parallels between the interrogation of multilingual and multimodal literacy narratives and the ways in which those narratives can contribute to both an in-depth investigation of individual signs and symbols as well as broad view of an overall literacy landscape. The variety and complexity of multilingual and multimodal literacy narratives offers a public space in which community members repeatedly, even unknowingly, challenge global understandings of what it means to communicate in “English.”
About the Curators | Alanna Frost is an Assistant Professor at the University of Alabama in Huntsville where she directs the composition program and works with pre-service teachers of writing. Presently involved in several action research literacy projects (with ninth graders labelled “remedial” and multilingual language learners), she is most interested in working with those who deal in productive but marginalized literacies. Her recent publication in CCC argues for the use of “literacy stewards” in analysis of just such literacy practices--those which draw on and utilize traditions not privileged by institutions in power. She is also exploring the value of using multimedia in the collection of data and representation of participants because they may be the best means we have of ensuring that research participants are fairly presented and not simply re-presented.
Suzanne Blum Malley is an Associate Professor of English at Columbia College Chicago where she directs the English as an Additional Language Program and teaches in the first-year writing, professional writing, and first-year seminar programs. In her research and pedagogy she investigates how transnational and multilingual writers use multiple modes and linguistic resources to communicate effectively and explores the affordances of engaging students in print and multimodal composing. Such engagement, she feels, allows for an ethical approach to teaching and learning with attentiveness to global uses of language, genre, discourse, and mode. In addition to exploring and documenting “multilingual literacy landscapes,” she is currently researching student interaction in a globally-networked learning environment that brings together students identified as “at-risk” learners in first-year classrooms in the United States, South Africa, and Russia.
Technical Requirements | This exhibit has been tested with Mozilla Firefox 3.6 and 4.01, Safari 5.03, and Google Chrome 9.05. Internet Explorer 8 users may experience difficulties loading the videos.
For offline reading and/or viewing, you can download the full text as a linear, media-rich PDF or text only PDF. Please use Adobe Reader 9.0 or later for an optimal reading/viewing/listening experience. Preview on Mac will not load the videos.
The CCDP is committed to working toward the goal of making projects as accessible as possible for all readers. Readers who cannot access this project in any of the above formats can request an alternative format by contacting Suzanne Blum Malley (sbmalley [at] colum.edu or Alanna Frost ([frosta [at] uah.edu).
Cite this Exhibit
MLA: Frost, Alanna, and Suzanne Blum Malley. “Multilingual Literacy Landscapes.” 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: Frost, A., & Malley, S. B. (2013). Multilingual Literacy Landscapes. 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.