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Introduction

Theorizing Boys’ Literacies and Boys’ Literatures in Contemporary Times

Garth Stahl and Cynthia Brock

This special issue of Boyhood Studies, entitled “Contemporary Boys’ Literacies and Boys’ Literatures,” is composed of international cutting-edge research focused on boys’ formal and informal literacy practices, boys’ engagements with a variety of texts, as well as gender-focused/gender-critical teaching practices in the literacy classroom. The articles interrogate how boys are positioned and how they position themselves within their acquisition of literacy skills. The research presented highlights the diversity and complexity of boys’ literacy practices. The scholars contend that how we define literacy is undergoing change alongside significant alterations to traditional cultural practices associated with boyhood. We see attention drawn to how these literacy practices operate in relation to the formation of boys’ masculinities in terms of how they do boyhood in contemporary times.

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Sponsoring Ways of Being

Adolescent Boys’ Religious Literacy Practices

Deborah Vriend Van Duinen

Many adolescent boys identify, in some way or the other, as being religious. Despite this, the religious literacy practices of adolescent boys has been underresearched in the field of adolescent literacy studies. Drawing on Deborah Brandt’s (1998) concept of literacy sponsorship and on sociocultural perspectives of literacy, I analyze the ways in which religious institutions sponsor boys’ literacy practices. Using data from a qualitative in-depth interview study with 11 adolescent boys, I explore the texts, participants, contexts, functions, and motivations surrounding boys’ religious literacy practices and argue that religious institutions sponsor particular and different ways of being religious adolescent boys and that this in turn influences adolescent boys’ literate lives.

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Analog Girls in a Digital World?

Instructional Practice through Feminist Pedagogical Media Literacy

Stephanie Troutman

In this article I discuss a theoretical intervention—feminist pedagogical media literacy (FPML)—that has practical application. I argue for the advancement of this multi-faceted media and new literacies form as a mode of empowerment for girls and young women. Using examples from feminist theoretical scholarship; DIY media and other new literacies frames; classroom examples and anecdotes; and educational perspectives on curriculum and policy, I advocate for a feminist pedagogical media literacy that enables critique and/or action stances.

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Joan F. Chevalier

Language contact between Russian and non-Russian-speaking populations in the Russian Federation has typically produced subtractive bilingualism with successive generations of ethnolingual minorities shifting to Russian. Tuvan, an Altai-Sayan Turkic language spoken in the Republic of Tyva in southern Siberia, displayed a high level of intergenerational transmission during the Soviet period. This interdisciplinary study examines the evolution of the Tuvan literary language and the key institutions supporting Tuvan language literacy. The article places the development of Tuvan language literacy in a historical perspective, viewing it as part of the overall evolution of Tuvan-Russian language contact. The article also reviews local policies enacted to revitalize Tuvan literacy since the end of the Soviet period.

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Stiles X. Simmons and Karen M. Feathers

Critical literacy instruction has been offered as a means of improving the historically low reading achievement of African American boys. This study examined the impact of two strategies, disconnections and problem posing, on the critical literacy development of upper elementary African American boys. The boys were engaged in six instructional sessions using the strategies to foster discussion. Transcripts of the boys’ discussions across the sessions demonstrate that the strategies promoted the boys’ engagement in critical discussion, including comparing the text with their own life experiences, considering relationships between characters, and exploring the potential influence of the author’s gender on the story. In a short time period, the boys made substantial progress toward critical literacy.

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Paula Booke and Todd J. Wiebe

The study of U.S. elections as a part of introductory political science courses has become an increasingly difficult endeavour as students encounter the ever-changing landscape of electoral politics. Instructors seeking to equip students with the skills needed to navigate this complex terrain may look for partnerships with library faculty and staff as a means of bridging the research gap faced by students in these courses. This article examines the efficacy of a courseembedded librarian and information literacy training as a means of increasing student research confidence and competence. The findings of our quasi-experiment suggest that students participating in a course with an embedded librarian, information literacy training and an assignment based on the training session reported higher levels of research confidence and demonstrated the use and understanding of selected information literacy skills and concepts.

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In a World of Migration

Rethinking Literacy, Language, and Learning Texts

Elizabeth P. Quintero

This article has evolved from teaching future teachers about literacy and language in multilingual contexts. The examples are taken from contexts in the United States with learners from around the world. Professionals in the classrooms, in the teacher development programs, and in schools and colleges of education have been doing responsible research for many years, and have learned much regarding the learning of multilingual people who represent a multitude of histories. In this article the focus is on rethinking literacy, languages (home languages and target languages of host countries), the connections between personal and communal history and learning texts, and how all of the above relate to the curriculum in various learning arenas.

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Girl Zines at Work

Feminist Media Literacy Education with Underserved Girls

Leigh Moscowitz and Micah Blaise Carpenter

In this article we report on the results of a semester-long critical media literacy initiative with underserved fourth- and fifth-grade girls. Building on the work in girls' studies, feminist pedagogies and critical media studies, this project was designed to privilege girls' voices, experiences, and agency by culminating in the girls' own media production of zines—hand-made, hand-distributed booklets based around the author's interests and experiences. By examining before and after focus group interviews conducted with participants and analyzing the content of their zines, we interrogate participants' general—but hardly linear—shift from positions of celebratory, uncritical media exposure, to self-affirming, transgressive media consumption and production. Ultimately, our findings both emphasize the need for feminist critical media literacy education, and articulate its pedagogical challenges.

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Relocalising academic literacy

diversity, writing and collective learning in an international Master’s programme

Nana Clemensen and Lars Holm

This article contributes to the continuing discussion about academic literacy in international higher education. Approaching international study programmes as temporary educational contact zones, marked by a broad diversity in students’ educational and discursive experiences, we examine the negotiation and relocalisation of academic literacy among students of the international master’s programme, Anthropology of Education and Globalisation (AEG), University of Aarhus, Denmark. The article draws on an understanding of academic literacy as a local practice situated in the social and institutional contexts in which it appears. Based on qualitative interviews with eleven AEG-students, we analyse students’ individual experiences of, and perspectives on, the academic literacy practices of this study programme. Our findings reveal contradictory understandings of internationalism and indicate a learning potential for students in allowing a more linguistically and discursively diverse dialogue on knowledge production in academia.

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Linda D'Amico

This article describes ways rural women and men in the Ecuadorian Cloud Forests created regional and trans-regional institutions to develop and sustain effective environmental governance. It traces their interpretation of political ecology within local realities, based on household concerns centred upon water and food security, and how they came to draw upon global discourse and increased civic participation. The article shows how they created communities of practice that came to define local (and glocal) sustainability. Their proactive and generative approaches to environmentalism – expressed through actions and institutions – are significant, offering examples of expanded social equity and adaptive resilience in the face of change.