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Reading and writing from below: exploring the margins of modernity
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of language studies.
King's College London.
University of Helsinki.
2016 (English)Collection (editor) (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The articles in this volume are based on papers given at Reading and Writing from Below: Exploring the Margins of Modernity, a conference held at the Finnish Literature Society and the University of Helsinki from 20 to 22 August, 2014. The main organiser of the conference, which brought together 77 scholars from 15 countries, was the Nordic research project Reading and Writing from Below: Toward a New Social History of Literacy in the Nordic Sphere during the Long Nineteenth Century (NORDCORP, 2011– 2014). The project was steered by Taru Nordlund and Anna Kuismin from the University of Helsinki, M. J. Driscoll from the University of Copenhagen, Ann-Catrine Edlund from Umeå University and Davíð Ólafsson from University of Iceland.

The conference in Helsinki was the third international conference of the Nordic project. The first one was held at Umeå University in 2012, hosted and organised by the Nordic literacy-network Vernacular Literacies [Vardagligt skriftbruk]. The proceeding were published in Vernacular Literacies – Past, Present and Future (edited by Ann-Catrine Edlund, Lars-Erik Edlund and Susanne Haugen, Umeå University, 2014). The second conference, The Agents and Artefacts of Vernacular Literacy Practices in Late Pre-modern Europe, was organised with Lena Rohrbach at the Nordeuropa-Institut, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin. One of the results of the Nordic project was the collection of articles White Field, Black Seeds: Nordic Literacy Practices in the Long Nineteenth Century, edited by Anna Kuismin & M. J. Driscoll (Finnish Literature Society, 2013).

Reading and Writing from Below: Exploring the Margins of Modernity is also the title of this volume, edited by Ann-Catrine Edlund, Anna Kuismin and T. G. Ashplant. ‘Modernity’ here is understood to have come into being any time from the seventeenth to the twentieth centuries, depending on the context. By ‘literacy’ is meant not just the ability to read and write but rather the totality of the processes and practices involved in the production, dissemination and reception of written texts; while the perspective ‘from below’ indicates that the focus is on non-privileged people, their experiences and points of view. The volume includes sixteen articles in four sections focusing on different aspects of the processes and practices of literacy: Writing Competence – Difficulties, Prejudices and Motives; Genres and Literacy Practices; Orality and Literacy; Literacy and Agency. Disciplines that the authors represent include history, ethnology, linguistics, literature and information studies.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå University & The Royal Skyttean Society , 2016. , 304 p.
Northern studies monographs: Umeå University and the Royal Skyttean Society, ISSN 2000-0405 ; 4
, Vardagligt skriftbruk, 4
Keyword [en]
vernacular literacies, social history of literacy, historical sociolinguistics, life narrative, the modern self, history from below, literacy practices, manuscript culture, library history
National Category
History and Archaeology Languages and Literature
Research subject
Scandinavian Languages; Literature; History; Ethnology; language studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-120586ISBN: 978-91-88466-88-4OAI: diva2:929174
Available from: 2016-05-17 Created: 2016-05-17 Last updated: 2016-05-27Bibliographically approved

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