The New Literacy Studies and the “Social Turn” James Gee 1999
JAMES PAUL GEE• James Paul Gee received his B.A. in philosophy from the University of California at Santa Barbara and both his M.A. and Ph.D in linguistics from Stanford University.• He has taught at a number of institutions: Arizona State University, Hampshire College, Northeastern University, Boston University, and currently at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
GEE BIO• Gee has published widely in linguistics, psychology, education and the social sciences.• His work over the last decade has focused on the development of an integrated theory of language, literacy, and schooling, a theory that draws on work in socially situated cognition, socio-cultural approaches to language and literacy, language development, discourse studies, critical theory, and applied linguistics.
GEE BIO• Sociolinguistics and Literacies (1990) was one of the founding documents in the formation of the "New Literacies Studies", a field devoted to studying language, learning, and literacy in an integrated way in the full range of their cognitive, social, and cultural contexts.• An Introduction to Discourse Analysis (1999) brings together his work on a methodology for studying communication in its cultural settings.• His more recent books deal with video games and learning. What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy (2003) offers 36 reasons why good video games produce better learning conditions than many of todays schools.
GEE BIO• His most recent book is entitled Good Video Games and Good Learning: Collected Essays (2007).• Recently his work has continued to explore his ideas on language, literacy, and society to deal with the so-called "new capitalism" and its cognitive, social, and political implications for literacy and schooling.
GEE BIO• Situated Language and Learning (2004) places video games within an overall theory of learning and literacy and shows how they can help us to better understand deep human learning and lead us in thinking about the reform of schools.• Why Video Games Are Good for Your Soul (2005), shows how good video games marry pleasure and learning and have the capacity to empower people.
DEFINING NEW CAPITALISM• Gee writes, “[Sociotechnical designing] is heavily social and contextual and semiotic*” (p. 6).*of or pertaining to signs• Activity: Put this idea into practice by designing a slogan and logo for new capitalism. We will discuss our slogans next class.
PARADOXES OF NEW CAPQ: What prevents workers from A) using their knowledge to critique the company B) leaving with their knowledge. What makes sure knowledge is C) passed on within the company?A:
THE NEW LITERACY STUDIES AND THE “SOCIAL TURN”• The New Literacy Studies (NLS) was one movement among many that took part in a larger "social turn" away from a focus on individuals and their "private" minds and towards group interaction and social practice.• The NLS are based on the view that reading and writing only make sense when studied in the context of social and cultural practices of which they are but a part.
Pros & Cons of NEW CAPITALISM (what does Gee have to say?) Pros Cons
NEW CAPITALISM (questions for you to think about)• What is the role of education?• What does it have to do with literacy?• What does it have to do with you?
DISCOURSE(s): Language of the New Capitalism & The New Literacy Studies• Ways of talking, writing, acting with and toward people and things.• Circulated and sustained within various texts, artifacts, images, etc.• “normal” or “natural” vs. “deviant” or “marginal”
DISCOURSE(s): Language of the NewCapitalism & The New Literacy StudiesEnactive Recognition Work Work
HOW GEE RELATES VIDEO GAMES TO LITERACYForget about politics, forget about “getting tenure,” forget about “the rules” you explicitly & implicitly have to follow.What would your ideal school be like?Here’s what Gee’s would look like. (please view the ENTIRE clip)
FINAL THOUGHTS• How does Gee fit into our other class readings?• How would Baldwin, Plato, et al. respond to Gee?