What the Students are Saying: Literacy as Dwelling

Wright, Randall
June 2001
Journal of Correctional Education;Jun2001, Vol. 52 Issue 2, p84
Academic Journal
In this speculative essay, I question prison literacy discourse by taking a moment to hear what the students are saying about learning to read, to write and go to school. I examine approximately 65 student essays written for a contest associated with the Literacy 2000 conference hosted by the Correctional Service of Canada and the Federal Bureau of Prisons in Ottawa, in May. 2000. I interpret these essays from the perspective of a small essay by the German philosopher, Martin Heidegger, titled "Building Dwelling Thinking" with the intention of providing fresh perspectives on literacy in prison. The truck driver is at home on the highway, but he does not have his lodgings there; the working woman is at home in the spinning mill, but does not have her dwelling place there: the chief engineer ix at home in the power station, hut he does not dwell there. These buildings house man. He inhabits them and yet does not dwell in them, if to dwell means solely to have our lodgings in them (Heidegger, 1993. p. 347-348).


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