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Literacy and Historical Development

Literacy and Historical Development

A Reader

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Edited by Harvey J. Graff


E-book (Other formats: Paperback)
6 x 9.25, 44 illustrations


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About the Book

Representing three decades of research, Literacy and Historical Development: A Reader presents some of the most important historical scholarship on literacy in Europe and the United States. The approaches, research, and conclusions reflected in this collection of fifteen essays has changed how historians and many others conceptualize literacy and represents a body of scholarship that is transforming both contemporary and historical literacy theories.

In this revised and expanded edition of the groundbreaking volume Literacy and Social Development in the West, editor Harvey J. Graff provides a new introduction and nine new essays by nationally and internationally renowned contributors from a range of disciplines. Replacing an unquestioned certainty that literacy’s powers are universal, independent, and determinative, Graff brings together studies that support new concepts, contending that the importance and influences of literacy depend on specific social and historical contexts, the impacts of literacy are mediated and restricted, the effects of literacy are social and particular, and the role of literacy must be understood within the burgeoning array of communication technologies.


Harvey J. Graff,Ohio Eminent Scholar in Literacy Studies and a professor of English and history at Ohio State University, is one of the world’s most noted literacy scholars. He is the author, editor, or coeditor of eighteen books, including the landmark The Literacy Myth; The Legacies of Literacy; and Conflicting Paths: Growing Up in America, and dozens of scholarly articles.