Skip to content

Literacy and Rural Sustainability: A Humanistic Approach


Presentation by visiting scholar Professor Kim Donehower

Start Date

3rd Apr 2017 11:00am

End Date

3rd Apr 2017 12:00pm


Education Video Conference Rooms:

  • Launceston: NH.A001.Video
  • Hobart: SB.Hytten325.Video
  • Cradle Coast: CC.D214

Discussion of the roles of reading and writing in sustaining rural communities often links literate skills with job creation and economic development. As literacy--particularly writing-- has become more and more a commodity in a knowledge economy (Brandt 2014), policies that affect rural communities and schools view literacy through an instrumentalist lens. This presentation explores the value in researching rural literacy and sustainability from a humanistic perspective, using interpretive frames from rhetoric, aesthetic, and literary studies. Such methods can counter the instrumentalist visions that undergird decontextualised, standardised definitions of literacy that impose metrocentric standards and values on rural education.

Professor Kim Donehower

Kim Donehower is Professor of English at the University of North Dakota, where she researches the relationship between literacy and the sustainability of rural communities. With Charlotte Hogg and Eileen E. Schell, she co-authored Rural Literacies (South Illinois University Press) and co-edited Reclaiming the Rural: Essays on Literacy, Rhetoric, and Pedagogy (South Illinois University Press). Her collection Re-Reading Appalachia: Literacy, Place, and Cultural Resistance, co-edited with Sara Webb-Sunderhaus, (University Press of Kentucky).  Kim teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in English education, composition studies, writing, and literacy studies. For twelve years, she directed the Red River Valley Writing Project, a site of the National Writing Project.