Orality and Literacy investigates the interactions of the oral and the literate through close studies of particular cultures at specific historical moments. Rejecting the 'great-divide' theory of orality and literacy as separate and opposite to one another, the contributors posit that whatever meanings the two concepts have are products of their ever-changing relationships to one another.
Through topics as diverse as Aboriginal Canadian societies, Ukrainian-Canadian narratives, and communities in ancient Greece, Medieval Europe, and twentieth-century Asia, these cross-disciplinary essays reveal the powerful ways in which cultural assumptions, such as those about truth, disclosure, performance, privacy, and ethics, can affect a society's uses of and approaches to both the written and the oral. The fresh perspectives in Orality and Literacy reinvigorate the subject, illuminating complex interrelationships rather than relying on universal generalizations about how literacy and orality function.
About the authors
Keith Thor Carlson is a professor of History at the University of the Fraser Valley where he holds a Tier One Canada Research Chair in Indigenous and Community-Engaged History.
Kristina Fagan is an associate professor in the Department of English at the University of Saskatchewan.
Natalia Khanenko-Friesen is an associate professor of cultural anthropology and the head of the Department of Religion and Culture at St. Thomas More College, University of Saskatchewan.