Literacy Studies as a Discipline and Fields of Research

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Literacy Studies as a Discipline and Fields of Research

Course Code: DLV260_1, Credits: 5 credits

Offered by: Faculty of Arts and Education, Department of Cultural Studies and Languages

Semester tuition start & duration: Spring, 1 semester

Course staff

Oddny Judith Solheim (Course teacher) Anne Mangen (Course teacher)

Ingrid Nielsen (Course coordinator ) Per Henning Uppstad (Course teacher) Merja Riitta Stenroos (Course teacher) Bjørn Kvalsvik Nicolaysen (Course teacher) Alexandre Dessingue (Course coordinator ) Atle Skaftun (Course teacher)

Learning outcome

Knowledge: Students will

acquire knowledge of the different research traditions that have been relevant for the formation of literacy studies as an interdisciplinary field of study

acquire knowledge of the theoretical and methodological foundations in literacy studies as an interdisciplinary field of study

acquire knowledge of different research traditions in modern literacy studies

Skills: Students will be able to

use appropriate terminology and theoretical references in their projects to analyze different types of text (from newer electronic forms of communication to non-fiction and fiction)

write under supervision related to use of text/text understanding/reading

problematize (investigate) existing theories, methods and interpretations in literacy studies

General competence: Students will be able to

develop critical understanding and analytical perspectives on the use of text in different cultural, social and political contexts


ecognize and discuss reading acts scientifically in various research projects

communicate and master vocabulary and theoretical references related to the field


To be able to read and write are key activities for human beings that contribute to shaping both mind and society. Literacy studies are the study of reading, written language, text and textual understanding in societies and in individuals now and in the past. Literacy studies are relevant for text cultures in diverse areas such as school, work and in different historical, political and cultural contexts.

In this course students will receive a basic introduction to literacy studies as an interdisciplinary field of research. For PhD students it is important to be able to see their PhD projects as an integral part of literacy studies, and also to recognize and discuss reading issues scientifically in various research projects. The course will provide general and comprehensive perspectives on literacy studies as research fields and also provide insight into how research projects, applying different approaches, methodologies and theoretical perspectives, are rooted in literacy studies. The course will therefore focus on literacy studies as a diverse but coherent research field.

After an introduction to literacy studies as a field of research the course will address a variety of reading "cases": Perspectives in literacy studies on skills; reading as human-technology

interaction; medieval texts as literacy events; the analysis of discourse perspectives on literacy and learning; text history, text culture and literacy; memory studies as critical literacy


Teaching methods

Seminar and supervision combined with individual study.

Required prerequisite knowledge

Students must be qualified for enrollment in the PhD program.


* Oral / written / exhibition / presentation / performance

** Grades A to F or pass/fail + how the assessment situation is weighted in relation to other assessment situations.

Wt. Duration Marks Aid

Essay 1/1 Pass


Deadline: Essays must be submitted within four weeks of the last seminar. 4500 words +/-10%.

Coursework requirements

Course requirements that must be met in order to sit for the exam: (coursework):

Seminars/supervision over 5 days.

Open to

Open to students in:

the PhD program in literacy studies and other relevant PhD programs in the humanities and social sciences.

Course assessment

Final discussion with the students will be reported in writing. The course will be included in the evaluation procedures of the PhD programs at the Faculty.


Literature/set texts - compulsory (approximately 600 pages):

Literacy studies as a field of research

David Barton (2009). Literacy. An Introduction to the Ecology of Written Language. Blackwell Publishing. (245 s)

Scribner, S. and Cole, M. (1981). The Psychology of Literacy. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press (335 s)

Gillen, Julia: "Virtual spaces in Literacy Studies", In press. In: Rowsell, J. and Pahl, K. (eds) The Routledge Handbook of Literacy Studies (14 p.)

Literature - recommended (about 400 pages):


Paris, S. G., & Hamilton, E. E. (2009). The development of children¿s reading comprehension.

Handbook of research on reading comprehension, 1, 32-53.

Skaftun, A. (2014) Leseopplæring og fagenes literacy. I A. Skaftun, O. J. Solheim & P. H. Uppstad: Leseboka. Leseopplæring i alle fag på ungdomstrinnet. Cappelen Damm

Akademisk. 97-112

Solheim, O. J. (2014). Engasjement som faktor i leseopplæringen. I A. Skaftun, O. J. Solheim & P. H. Uppstad: Leseboka. Leseopplæring i alle fag på ungdomstrinnet. Cappelen Damm

Akademisk. 33-54.

Solheim, O. J. & Skaftun, A. (2014). Tilpasset leseopplæring i en sammensatt tekstkultur. I A. Skaftun, O. J. Solheim & P. H. Uppstad: Leseboka. Leseopplæring i alle fag på ungdomstrinnet.

Cappelen Damm Akademisk. 71-94.

Tønnessen, F.E. (2011). What are skills? Some fundamental reflections. L1-Educational Studies in Language and Literature, 11, pp. 149-158.

Medieval texts as literacy events

Smith, J. J. & M. Stenroos (in press), 'Changing functions: English spelling before 1600'. I: Vivian Cook & Des Ryan (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of the English Writing System. London:

Routledge (26 p.).

Stenroos, M. & M. Mäkinen (2012), 'A defiant gentleman or "the strictest Thief of Wales": reinterpreting the politics in a medieval correspondence'. In: Andreas Jucker & Päivi Paht (eds), Communicating Early English Manuscripts. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 83- 103. Stenroos, M. (2014), 'Fugitive voices: personal involvement in Middle English letters of defense', I: Kari E. Haugland, Kevin McCafferty & Kristian Rusten A. (eds), 'Ye Whom the charms of

grammar please': Studies in English historical linguistics in honor of Leiv Egil Breivik. Oxford: Peter Lang. 355-380.

Reading as interaction between human beings and technology

Mangen, A. (accepted). The digitization of literary reading: Contributions from empirical research. Forthcoming in Orbis Litterarum. (18 sider)

Mangen, A. (2013). ¿Putting the body back into reading¿: Kropp og hjerne, lesing og grensesnitt.

SkriftserienCursiv 11, 11-31.

Mangen, A., Walgermo, B., & Brønnick, K. (2013). Reading linear texts on paper vs. computer screen: Effects on reading comprehension. International Journal of Educational Research 58, 61-68.

Mangen, A. (2008). Hypertext fiction reading: Haptics and immersion. Journal of Research in Reading, 31(4), 404-419.


Wolf, M. & Barzillai, M. 2009. The importance of deep reading. Educational Leadership, 66, 32-37.

Analytical discourse perspectives on literacy and learning

Gee, J. P. (1996). Discourses and literacies, i: Social linguistics and literacies: ideology in discourses, kapitlet. New York & London: Routledge; 122-148.

Skaftun, A. (2009). Litteraturens nytteverdi. Bergen: Fagbokforlaget. 24-41; 80-98.

Text history, text culture and literacy: Paradigm shifts in understanding text in societies and its consequences for literacy theory

Street, B.V.: "Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Literacy", s. 139-150. Graff, H.: "The Legacies of Literacy", s. 151-167.

Gee, J.P.: "Orality and Literacy: From 'The Savage Mind to Ways With Words'", s. 168-192, alle i boka Janet Maybin: ¿Language and Literacy in Social Practice", The Open University: Clevedon m.fl. 1994.

Memory studies as critical perspectives on literacy

Lankshear, C. and P. L. McLaren (1993). "Introduction" In: Critical literacy: politics, praxis, and the postmodern. Albany: State University of New York Press. [51 pages]

Dessingué, A. (2015). "From Collectivity to collectiveness: reflections (with Halbwachs and Bakhtin) on the Concept of Collective Memory" In: Research Companion to Memory Studies. London: Ashgate. [15 s]