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By Gregorio Hernandez-Zamora

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Extra resources for Decolonizing Literacy: Mexican Lives in the Era of Global Capitalism (Critical Language and Literacy Studies, Volume 8)

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Countering this dominant opinion, and basing my views on the actual trajectories of access to literate communities and practices across the lifetimes of real individuals, I began to think of literacy not as much as a condition for citizenship but the other way around: citizenship as a key context and condition for the development of a literacy-mediated public voice. I will next expand on this central issue. g. , 1998; Vitanova, 2005) – what MenardWarwick (forthcoming) calls the ‘literacy of identification’.

Readers will judge for themselves. indb 21 3/24/2010 6:29:11 PM 22 Part 1: Winds While personal narrative can be only partially informative about actual literacy knowledge and skills, my dialogues with these people were in themselves spaces where their voices emerged. Voices which usually fade or are silenced in literacy tests, or in public spaces such as schools or workplaces, were recovered in these dialogues. Precisely because their stories reveal pervasive experiences of silencing (by spouses, schools, workplaces, churches, or state institutions and laws), most have been willing and eager to voice their thoughts at length, in their own language.

Thus, it is important to listen to the winding life-roads of people who have overcome a sense of inferiority, hopelessness and conformism, and who have achieved a strong sense of agency so as to take their personal and community lives into their own hands, something unthinkable through World Bank-driven adult literacy education programs. By listening to them, we will meet History in person, for theirs are embodied histories of colonialism, globalization and migration, inscribed in their own bodies and in their stories of flesh-and-blood people.

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