greetings from nctear 2006 - chicago

it's late on night 2 of the nctear mid-winter conference. the theme:
literacy as a civil right: reclaiming social justice in literacy research and teaching

and the sessions i've attended have served to add to my conviction that questions of what we research and how we research are not mutually exclusive; and moreover, why we research can/must/should engage questions of social justice and enactments toward real social change.

while i have felt this thread of inquiry to be generative, i have also heard comments that allude to whether or not the audience who is attending this conference with this focused theme might be the same audience who attends next year's conference, which tentatively has a focus on the evolving digital landscape of literacies. i wonder: can we continue to separate emerging questions about digital literacies and persistent convictions about literacy as a civil right?

in my work i find solace in the complementary and intertwined trajectories of race-critical and digital epistemological theories. this is more than a naive musing of "can't we all just get along;" it is a recognition of the urgency for social justice - for radical rethinking and changing of the real inequities that persist in the lived experiences of too many young people, children, families - that is implicit in both of these related literacy foci. is it time to encourage/challenge ourselves, our colleagues, our graduate students to seek out and intentionally engage with the messy work of "research that does something." even as i write that, i recognize that some may take umbrage with the definition of "something" implicit in that statement - i mean to say that we ought to be explicit about what kind of work it is that we want our research to do in the world. and not all work for social justice looks the same, but perhaps we should be on the journey together.

so, to the nctear 2006 audience i say, "i hope to see you in '07!" and to those of you who read this and got to the end, i encourage you to check out nctear - start by exploring this year's conference schedule and stay tuned for info on next year.

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