Mary Louise Pratt Contact Zone Essay

Mary Louise Pratt Contact Zone Essay-8
Contact zones also have the benefit of several decades of debate in the field of composition, which has revealed the limitations and affordances of the concept for learning environments.As a model adopted from linguistics, contact zones are relevant to the often interdisciplinary and multi-sited research in literacy studies scholarship.

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In the humanities, contact zones originated in contact language and linguistic analyses.

Pratt developed the idea of contact zones into an analytical tool for literary and comparative studies, and it quickly spread to other fields of study.

This concept of contact zones has been used to theorize the political and power disparities present in sites—such as texts (Pratt) and classrooms (Lu)—where such influences might not be visible.

A literacy contact zone framework for research would orient investigations of literacy in sociolinguistic and history-rich contextual understandings that assume asymmetrical power dynamics.

Contact zones are useful for literacy research because they foreground the contexts that recent decades of literacy studies scholarship have deemed essential: history, orality, language difference, and power, with an emphasis on interaction rather than divides.

Mary Louise Pratt Contact Zone Essay

While literacy studies has demonstrated the importance of these contexts for understanding literacy, there is not yet a model that organizes them into a framework for research.

Contact zones, re-infused with their linguistic origins, articulate a concrete context in which literacy and literacy instruction exists and where language difference, orality, history, and power dynamics are at the forefront.

They thus call for researchers to account for these contexts when studying literacy.

“The contact of two races so dissimlar in character, in culture, and institutions, as the English and the Indian, raises the problem of the contact of cultures in its most acute forms” (Spear, 22).

The problem in India was complicated by numerous factors.


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