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ERIC Number: EJ999587
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 12
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 15
ISSN: ISSN-1555-9734
Shakespeare and the Cultural Capital Tension: Advancing Literacy in Rural Arkansas
Jolliffe, David Alton
Community Literacy Journal, v7 n1 p77-88 Fall 2012
As the author does his job, trying to sponsor and support reading and writing practices that will ideally enrich lives and communities throughout Arkansas, he is always tempted to rewrite the American Declaration of Independence so that its second paragraph begins this way: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among those rights are Life, Liberty, Literacy, and the pursuit of Happiness." As he reflects on this minor emendation, the author always recognizes the original sentence as one of the most evocative assumptions ever penned by humankind. It's the clearest example he knows of an enthymeme with the major premise explicitly expressed, not suppressed, as would be the case in most arguments. Would that it were true. Jefferson and his fellow Deists certainly assumed that all people were "created" equal; the author wonders if they believed that, even though people are created equal, the inequitable social structures that persist--the inequality of access to life, liberty, literacy, and the pursuit of happiness--begin to materialize about one second out of the womb. The author sees a major part of his job as working to equalize people's chances to live freely and pursue happiness, however they define it, by understanding the roles that literacy plays in those endeavors. In this article, the author describes the most recent project of an ongoing initiative in rural, east central Arkansas to foster literacy throughout a small community, and he unpacks some thorny ideas about how the concept of "capital" figures in this specific project, as well as in the overall initiative. A multi-faceted Shakespeare festival in a small town in rural east central Arkansas, part of a larger Community Literacy Advocacy Project, represents a concerted effort to alter the discourse of decline in this economically troubled region, but it also raises some challenging issues about how such projects distribute social and cultural capital among their participants. (Contains 5 endnotes.)
Community Literacy Journal. Department of Writing, Rhetoric, & Discourse, DePaul University, 802 West Belden Avenue, Chicago, IL 60614. Tel: 906-370-0206; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Arkansas