Relationships, technology, and patterns of agency: How emotion and institutional identities influence literacy practices

24 February 2015, 5.00 PM - 24 February 2015, 6.30 PM

Professor Bronwyn T. Williams (University of Louisville)

Room 4.10, 35 Berkeley Square

Perceptions of agency, as opposed to measurable skills, are important in how people respond to reading and writing situations, even as such perceptions can be difficult to locate or define. Yet students often describe stark contrasts between their perceptions of agency in school, where they report feeling alienated and powerless, and the stronger sense of agency they perceive in out-of-school writing practices, particularly through digital media. One challenge for literacy educators, then, is how to address the obstacles students perceive in classroom settings in terms of agency.

Charied by: Dr Frances Giampapa

Time: 5pm-6:30pm

This event will be followed by a drinks reception.

Please register to attend this free event – open to everyone.

Abstract: In this talk I discuss a research project involving students on the autism spectrum in a college in the United Kingdom. For these students, who were often overlooked by the schools and the population at large, literacy practices were very often sources of frustration. The project used iPads, with their touch-screen and image-based interfaces, to engage the students in literacy practices. During the project perceptions of agency developed, or were frustrated, from interanimating patterns of personal, social, and material factors. I will focus on how the technology, the social roles within the institution of the college, and the embodied, emotional responses of students influenced perceptions of agency over the course of the six-month project. I conclude with a discussion of how these same factors of social relationships and emotional dispositions might be seen in perceptions of agency for students across educational settings.

Biography: Bronwyn T. Williams is a professor of English and director of the University Writing Center at the University of Louisville. He writes and teaches on issues of literacy, identity, digital media, and popular culture. His recent books are New Media Literacies and Participatory Popular Culture Across Borders and Shimmering Literacies: Popular Culture and Reading and Writing Online. He is currently involved in a research on issues literacy, identity, and perceptions of agency. 

Contact information

Laura.Griffiths@Bristol.ac.uk

Professor Bronwyn T. Williams (University of Louisville)

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