Embodied Literacies: Imageword and a Poetics of Teaching

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Kristie S Fleckenstein

Embodied Literacies: Imageword and a Poetics of Teaching is a response to calls to enlarge the purview of literacy to include imagery in its many modalities and various facets. Kristie S. Fleckenstein asserts that all meaning, linguistic or otherwise, is a result of the transaction between image and word. She implements the concept of imageword—a mutually constitutive fusion of image and word—to reassess language arts education and promote a double vision of reading and writing. Utilizing an accessible fourfold structure, she then applies the concept to the classroom, reconfiguring what teachers do when they teach, how they teach, what they teach with, and how they teach ethically.

Fleckenstein does not discount the importance of text in the quest for literacy. Instead, she places the language arts classroom and teacher at the juncture of image and word to examine the ways imagery enables and disables the teaching of and the act of reading and writing. Learning results from the double play of language and image, she argues. Helping teachers and students dissolve the boundaries between text and image, the volume outlines how to see reading and writing as something more than words and language and to disestablish our definitions of literacy as wholly linguistic.

Embodied Literacies: Imageword and a Poetics of Teaching comes at a critical time in our cultural history. Echoing the opinion that postmodernity is a product of imagery rather than textuality, Fleckenstein argues that we must evolve new literacies when we live in a culture saturated by images on computer screens, televisions, even billboards. Decisively and clearly, she demonstrates the importance of incorporating imagery—which is inextricably linked to our psychological, social, and textual lives—into our epistemologies and literacy teaching.