Moving between Imagined Communities of Literacy

Principal Investigators: Ángeles Clemente and Michael J. Higgins
Universidad Autónma Benito Juárez de Oaxaca

This project entails three ethnographic encounters in order to fulfil two main objectives: to explore the diversity of multilingual literacy practices (Street, 1995; Purcell-Gates, 2007) in Oaxaca and to interpret the various imagined language communities that frame these practices (Anderson, 1991; Clemente and Higgins, 2008; Kanno & Norton, 2003). The language performers in these encounters enter various identity locations as they attempt to understand the imagined communities associated with literacy practices. Drawing upon a series of ethnographic interviews and observations, we will illustrate that, as these actors navigate their way through these various linguistic terrains, they are composing their own imagined community, where the perceived connections are based upon shared affinities for the communicative success of their literacy performances.

These three communities:(a) A group of elementary school learning English, where most of the children comes from an orphanage: This encounter involves Yedani -another student from the University- who is attempting to develop English literacy practices in public schools of Oaxaca. (b). A group of teenagers learning English as a compulsory subject at a state public high school. (c) A group of university students at a TEFL B.A. program (i.e. Future English teachers) at the UABJO.

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