“Community Literacy and the Rhetoric of Local Publics” is the title of a new book written by one of Eastern’s assistant professors of English, Dr. Elenore Long. This title in all of its complexities leads into a book that touches on some of the most complex and abstract things in our society or “communities.”
For the past 20 odd years, Long has been working in the field of rhetoric and Community Literacy Studies.
Her journey studying community literacy began in Pittsburgh, Pa., where she, along with several other grad students, began working at the Community Literacy Center. It was there that she became a researcher for public issues like “poverty, poor health care, welfare-to-work policies, landlord-tenant issues, and curfew and school suspension policies.”
As a researcher she became a problem solver in her community and helped teach others about the “complexity of a given social issue.”
Throughout her career as a researcher, Long, along with several of her colleagues from her days in Pennsylvania, have helped coin the phrase “community literacy” on a national level.
She has been published in community literacy journals and was nominated for the “best new journal in the humanities” award.
Long has been with Eastern since September of 2007, and currently runs the Writing Center in the PUB.
It was her passion for learning and her keen interest in matters of ambiguity that led her to Community Literacy Studies and now to write this book.
The main question answered by “Community Literacy and the Rhetoric of Local Publics” is “how ordinary people go public?”
“I’ve been interested in how people go public in their own ways… whether as a women’s writing group, as a toxic tour parading through corporate headquarters, or as members of a community think tank,” Long said.
Long hopes that people in the educated arena, grad students, fellow researchers and professors will use her book as a tool in their own studies of community literacy. In her words, “my book is designed as a guide for graduate students and other researchers who come to community literacy for the first time. The book offers a local public framework for comparing and contrasting alternative local publics.”
Linda Flower from Carnegie Mellon University wrote, “Long’s analytical and profoundly rhetorical insight is to compare community literacies in terms of their framing metaphors, privileged practices, and processes of rhetorical invention.”
Long’s book, “Community Literacy and the Rhetoric of Local Publics,” was published by Parlor Press, and is currently available for purchase.