Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



Major Professor

Michael L. Keene

Committee Members

Kirsten Benson, Bill Hardwig


This project is an exploration of the term community literacy from multiple perspectives including academic research, local expertise, and personal experience. Utilizing a conceptual and organizational framework based on the model of popular education, this inquiry draws on data gathered from published literature, qualitative interviews, and personal narrative. Juxtaposing these viewpoints creates an enriched foundation for planning future action and responds to calls to include people from within and beyond academic contexts in work that they collaboratively define. This report explores the patterns that emerge from the way that the people represented here describe their experiences related to community literacy.

Patterns that emerge from this data suggest that the way that people define themselves and others and the places where they work are the foundation for the action they are able take together. Local experts who participated in this study suggest that people can and should be co-authors of their communities by practicing community literacy to discern opportunities to participate. These conclusions are considered in relation to a variety of arenas where they might be put into action, from rhetorical theory to cultural action.

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