Research News

Heath to headline annual Cellmer Morgridge Literacy Research Symposium

October 17, 2014

The second annual Cellmer Morgridge Literacy Research Symposium will take place Thursday, Oct. 23 on the UW-Madison campus.

Maisha Winn, the Susan J. Cellmer Professor of English Education, and Gay Ivey, the Tashia F. Morgridge Professor of Reading Education, host the event, which begins at noon in room 220 of the Teacher Education building.

This year’s symposium will feature Shirley Brice Heath, an American linguistic anthropologist who holds the Margery Bailey Professorship in English at Stanford University. She has led groundbreaking interdisciplinary research on the nature of learning that goes on in science and technology, as well as the arts.

Heath’s  talk is titled: “The World without Writing and Reading Extended Texts: Really? So what?"

A preview of her presentation notes: “Are young adults of today truly going to live in a world without extended texts in their daily patterns of learning and working?  Contrary evidence uses both historical and contemporary exigencies to argue that writing is certainly here to stay so long as basic patterns of human interaction remain. Reading, however, will be far more variable in its environments, purposes and proponents, and will increasingly be reliant on trends in economic production and job growth.

It continues: “This lecture looks at the spectrum of changes for writing and reading likely to prevail throughout the 21st century.  Summarized are research findings from cognitive neuroscience, behavioral economics, the humanities, political science, and legal history that support a picture of the future of extended texts that is far more complex than a yes-no oppositional stance to our opening question. Conclusions point to changes in relationships between the humanities and economics in their support of reading and writing and the habits of educated cosmopolitan citizens of the world. These changes radiate shifts in the roles of key institutions including those of education, the sciences, business, health, law, and the arts.”

The symposium is free and open to the public.