Honors College

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Publication Date

Spring 5-2017


Literacy is often thought of as a skill-set, that is, an ability to read and write in the dominant language of one’s socio-historical milieu. Illiteracy, on the other hand, is often thought of as a lack – an absence of a necessary skill-set that influences how well one can work and communicate (via reading and writing) within their dominant language and their society. In other words, illiteracy seems to have been defined by its relationship to the definition of literacy, that is, as a “negative-literacy” or a “not-literacy” that creates a lacuna of meaning when attempting to define illiteracy as something more than just the negative side of a bifurcation. In this thesis, I am interested in shifting the definition of literacy and illiteracy – and more generally our experience of language – from a practical to an aesthetic frame of reference. In this shift of discourse about literacy, it will be my hope that I may come to a deeper understanding of literacy and illiteracy as immanent to each other rather than opposed, and that I’ll be able to translate this new understanding of literacy and illiteracy into potential future suggestions for a practical pedagogical methodology.