Sensory literacies: Hands, feet and the body in literacy practices

Mills, Kathy A. (2016) Sensory literacies: Hands, feet and the body in literacy practices. In AARE Annual Conference 2016, 28 November - 2 December 2016, Melbourne, Vic.

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The social turn in the new literacy studies is well-established after a considerable history of struggle for recognition, while the sensory turn is only just beginning to demonstrate the possibilities for transforming education research. Sensory literacies is an original theory proposed by the author that foregrounds the forgotten role of the body and the senses in literacy practices (Mills, 2016). It extends recent theories of the history and cultural anthropology of the senses (Howes, 2014; Classen 2014). From a sensory literacies perspective, the mind is not seen as separated from the body, but both mind and body are integral to literacy practices (Mills & Park, 2015). Previous conceptions of literacy have focused on the visual-linguistic representations of meanings in texts and literacy practices, which is associated historically with ocularcentrism - the dominance and privileging of the visual - across many disciplines in Western societies. This presentation opens up a revitalized understanding of literacy practices as interrelated with the other senses, involving an expanded sensorium that includes movements of the hands, feet and body, and other senses in concert (Mills, 2013). The author highlights examples of the sensoriality of literacy practices from ethnographic research with Indigenous and non-Indigenous school communities, interpreting students’ embodied sense-making activity across a range of literacy practices. These include examples of locomotion and kinesis or movement filmmaking, as children capture their movements while walking, sliding, balancing on walls with the camera. Examples from an Indigenous community include cultural ceremonies involving marks on the skin, dance, and listening to country. The presentation is highly significant for schooling in societies in which the regulation of the bodies and the senses in education is often to the detriment of literacy learning and other valuable ways of knowing.

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ID Code: 98790
Item Type: Conference Item (Presentation)
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: sensory literacies, body and literacy, embodiment theory, new literacy studies, multimodal literacy, literacy curriculum, literacy pedagogy, Indigenous education, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education, primary education, haptics, locomotion, cultural communication
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > CURRICULUM AND PEDAGOGY (130200) > English and Literacy Curriculum and Pedagogy (excl. LOTE ESL and TESOL) (130204)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > SPECIALIST STUDIES IN EDUCATION (130300) > Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education (130301)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Office of Education Research
Current > Schools > School of Teacher Education & Leadership
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Copyright Owner: 2016 Kathy A. Mills
Copyright Statement: Not for reproduction.
Deposited On: 27 Sep 2016 02:28
Last Modified: 27 Sep 2016 02:28

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