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Embodiment and literacies: Teaching, learning, and becoming in a post- world

Special issue call for papers from English Teaching: Practice & Critique


Special Issue of English Teaching: Practice and Critique

Embodiment and literacies: Teaching, learning, and becoming in a post- world

Guest Editors: Stavroula Kontovourki, Elisabeth Johnson, Grace Enriquez

In recent years, there has been  a surge  in literacy studies research that transgresses views of literacy as a set of skills or socially situated meaning-making practices to reconfigure meaning making  at the intersection of human subjects and materials. Following broader trends in the social and humanist sciences, such ontological, epistemological, and axiological reconfigurations rework notions of agency, politics, and ethics (e.g., Barad, 2003; Davies et al., 2013; Lather & St. Pierre, 2013; St. Pierre, 2014). This re-theorization has been instantiated in the renaming of literacies as im/material (Burnett et al., 2014), post-human (Kuby & Rowsell, 2017), and trans- (Stornaiuolo, Smith, & Phillips, 2017). Across such work, we see a concern with flows, emergences, difference, and potential: flows of affect and cognition and in connected space-times, entanglements of humans and nonhumans, unexpected encounters and meaning-making practices, transgressions and possibilities of/for new matterings and becomings (e.g., Boldt & Leander, 2017, Ehret, Hollet, & Jocius, 2016; Leander & Ehret, 2019; Marsh, 2017). These post-era trends emphasize how meanings of literacy and learners’ identities flow in connected space-times, where humans and nonhumans are entangled and unexpectedly encountered. These flows, entanglements, and encounters make new ways of mattering and being possible.

Within this broader move, we see much value in understanding literacy as embodied, (i.e., as of material bodies, subjective feelings, and produced identities, interacting across non-human materials, spaces and times, while risking and affirming recognition). This understanding invites researchers and educators to examine different ways bodies matter in literacy teaching and learning; to wonder how literate bodies (of educators and learners) are simultaneously disciplined and disciplining; feeling and affective; impossible to represent but also possible to present anew; and thus, mobile and indeterminate (Johnson & Kontovourki, 2016). In effect, one is invited to consider literate bodies as not only acting and feeling objects, but also as sites where humans, materials, and ideas entangle to make up particular meanings of literacy, of pedagogy, and of people.

Focusing on literacy pedagogies, we invite submissions that foreground bodies and incorporate premises of different post- theories to engage with questions like:
1.    Whose bodies are recognized as relevant (or not) at different pedagogical moments? How are recognitions tied to norms that circulate social relations and ways teachers and students mis/recognize their roles in defining what matters as literacy?
2.    What feelings and emotions circulate at the entanglement of bodies, texts, and objects, illuminating spaces of control and possibility? How can emergent difference and transformation speak back to structures like schooling? In what moments can this newness even be paradoxical, violent, and potentially inequitable?
3.    What kinds of meaning-making occur as students disrupt expectations or teachers follow the lead of students or materials? How do unexpected engagements across bodies and materials help us re-imagine literacy in school and other institutional spaces?

Considering the embodiment of literacy in these terms constitutes an ethico-political project of tracing the boundaries of literacies and literacy pedagogies in a post- world. Maintaining the focus on criticality, this special issue aims to contribute to the art of the im/possible by showcasing examples of practice where both possibility and constriction, paradoxes of newness and difference, inclusion and exclusion emerge.

Submission Details
Submissions for this Special Issue must be made through the ScholarOne online submission and peer review system. Please refer to the ETPC Author Guidelines for guidelines on submissions, including word limits. For inquiries on the special issue, you may contact Stavroula Kontovourki (, Elisabeth Johnson (, or Grace Enriquez (

Submission date: November 1, 2019

Publication date: August 2020

Barad, K. (2003). Posthumanist performativity: Toward an understanding of how matter comes to
matter. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 28(3), 801-831.
Boldt & Leander (2017). Becoming through ‘the break’: A post-human account of a child’s play. Journal
of Early Childhood Literacy, 17(3), 409-425.
Burnett, C., Merchant, G., Pahl, K., & Rowsell, J. (2014). The (im)materiality of literacy: The significance
of subjectivity to new literacies research. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 35(1), 90-103.
Davies, B., De Shauwer, E., Claes, L., De Munck, K., Van De Putter, I., & Verstichele, M. (2013).
Recognition and difference: A collective biography. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 26(6), 680-691. DOI: 10.1080/09518398.2013.788757
Ehret, C., Hollett, T., & Jocius, R. (2016). The matter of new media making: An intra-action analysis of
adolescents making a digital book trailer. Journal of Literacy Research, 48(3), 346-377.
Johnson, E., & Kontovourki, S. (2016). Introduction: Assembling research on literacies and the body. In G.
Enriquez, E. Johnson, S. Kontovourki, & C. Mallozzi (Eds.), Literacies, learning and the body: Putting theory and research into pedagogical practice (pp. 3-19). New York: Routledge.
Kuby, C. K., & Rowsell, J. (2017). Early literacy and the posthuman: Pedagogies and methodologies.
Journal of Early Childhood Literacy, 17(3), 285-296. DOI: 10.1177/1468798417715720
Lather, P., & St. Pierre, E. (2013). Post-qualitative research. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in
Education, 26(6), 629-633. DOI: 10.1080/09518398.2013.788752
Leander, K., & Ehret, C. (Eds.). (2019). Affect in literacy learning and teaching: Pedagogies, politics and
coming to know. New York: Routledge.
Marsh, J. (2017). The internet of toys: A posthuman and multimodal analysis of connected play. Teachers
College Record, 119, 1-32.
St. Pierre, E. (2014). A brief and personal history of post qualitative research: Toward post-inquiry.
Journal of Curriculum Theorizing, 30(2), 2-19.
Stornaiuolo, A., Smith, A., & Phillips, N. (2017). Developing a transliteracies framework for a connected
world. Journal of Literacy Research, 49(1), 68-91.