Brandt Discussion Questions

Plan for 30 minutes or more (minimum 90 minutes total) to answer each of the following questions.  Your answers should read like mini-essays, so you will need to incorporate part of the question in your answer and use TRIAC and Barclay’s formula. Publish your answers to these questions on a post called “Connecting Brandt & Gee”

  1. Brandt defines literacy sponsors as “any agents, local or distant, concrete or abstract, who enable, support, teach, model, as well as recruit, regulate, suppress, or withhold literacy – and gain advantage by it in some way” (556). This is a complicated or multidimensional understanding of the concept. First, use a dictionary and record the relevant meanings of these words: sponsor, agent, regulate, suppress, and any others in this sentence that you may not quite understand. You’ll need to look past the first meanings of the terms to really understand how Brandt is using these words, so don’t be content with collecting just one definition; collect all bits of the definition that shed light on this quotation. Next, explain what literacy sponsors are and do, and what kinds of advantages literacy sponsors might get from a) enabling a literacy client, b) recruiting a literacy client and c) regulating the literacy practices of client. Support your explanations using examples from episodes in literacy narratives published in Rising Cairn. Be sure to explain why the evidence from your examples shows that sponsors do what you think your examples show.
  2. Brandt asks us to understand “individual literacy in relationship to the large-scale economic forces that set the routes and determining the worldly worth of that literacy” (556).  Explain what she means by discussing how economic forces “set the routes and determine the world worth of … literacy” (556). Then, think about how the move in the last few decades to the “information economy” or “creative economy” might have altered the kinds of reading and writing that is valued, and how that revaluation might make our relationship to reading and writing more complicated, especially considering how reading and writing is taught in the institutions designed to prepare students for work.
  3. Brandt explains that “throughout their lives, affluent people from high-caste racial groups have multiple and redundant contacts with powerful literacy sponsors as a routine part of their economic and political privileges. Poor people and those from low-caste racial groups have less consistent, less politically secured access to literacy sponsors – especially to the ones that can grease their way to academic and economic success” (Brandt 559). What does she mean by this? How might Gee explain the differences between the affluent and the poor on literacy? Be sure to quote Gee in your explanation. In both explanations (of Brandt and Gee), use Branch and Lopez (in Brandt) for details to support your explanation.