Literacy and Liberty

Literary Ploy
Posted by: , September 5, 2018, 2:27 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized


“any occasion in which a piece of writing is integral to the nature of participants’ interactions and their interpretive processes”(Heath 1982)

“Events are observable episodes which arise from practices and are shaped by them. The notion of events stresses the situated nature of literacy, that it always exists in a social context” (Barton & Hamilton 2000)

These two quotations I gathered from an article titled “Literacy events and Literacy practices”. The article defines both terms in clearly and simply, using two separate writings as a source. The article helped me comprehend what exactly I am looking for when searching for a literacy event. What writings have shaped or manipulated large groups of people? Do dictators and tyrannical leaders exploit literacy events and practices of their people in order to gain or keep power? What examples are there of this? I looked up “Soviet Newspaper” in order to find any examples of this.

“Pravda” could be a fitting example. Originally founded in 1905 by a Russian Railroad tycoon named V.A. Kolezhnikov, the paper was not offically published until 1912 in St. Petersburg. Pravda, which translates to “truth” in English originally served as journal detailing social life, arts, and literature. After the October revolution, Vladimir Lenin used Pravda as official paper of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party. Pravda often featured articles from the proletarian perspective, and gained favor throughout Russia’s lower class this way. Pravda became the official Newspaper of the Soviet Communist party in 1918. The status and popularity of Pravda make it a literary event among the Soviet People. The use of propaganda in the Pravda influenced its reader’s interpretation of the paper, and the country as a whole. The Soviets utilized Pravda to portray an image of the USSR that differed from the reality. Any significant event in the USSR, or the world, could be distorted to favor the Soviet Party, especially its leaders. Joseph Stalin was an editor for Pravda and frequently used the paper for political gain. Pravda’s role in garnering the faith and attention of the Russian people prove its magnitude as a Literacy Event in the USSR.




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Henry, propaganda can definitely house a literacy event, as you begin to describe here. But (to borrow from your two epigraphs), neither “integral” nor “shaped by” nor “situated” necessarily *means* propagandistic persuasion. This said, I think really digging into Pravda or a similar publication for your first essay would be great. Be sure to cite fully any sources you use.

   Professor Seiler 09.06.18 @ 4:14 pm

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