Everybody’s Autonomy

I’m reading Spahr’s Everybody’s Autonomy and loving it. What a lucid, accessible and intelligent academic writer. I’m fascinated by the discussion of accessibility, and of course thinking of Stein as an immigrant writer, the detailed comparisons of sentence structures to that of ESL speakers. There’s clearly some kind of connection…but more as I read. Here’s a link to the introduction, and here’s a review.

And I found this on the UPenn site and loved it:

Juliana Spahr on how reading is taught in school

“Reading is usually taught in school so as to walk hand in hand with assimilation. And it is at its most oppressive when taught through principles of absolute meaning. Beginning reading exercises tend to emphasize meaning as unambiguous and singular; the word ‘duck’ in the primer means the bird, not the verb. Further, as a learned and regulated act, reading socializes readers not only into the process of translating symbol into word with a one-to-one directness, but also into specific social relationships. Dick and Jane, to use the most cliched example of a primer, teach how to live the normalized lives of the nuclear family as much as they teach how to read. Further, much of what is read does not fully engage the resistant possibilities within reading, and as a result it tends to perpetuate reading’s conventions.”

Juliana Spahr, Everybody’s Autonomy (2001), pp. 11-12

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