University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Literacy - Is it the Same Problem in Every Language?


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Film Description:Literacy has been a major topic of study since the 1960s, centered in anthropology, but spreading well beyond it, especially in history and literature. The main focus, however, has been on what literacy did for the spread and accumulation of knowledge. This may be valid for the history of literacy in the West, at least to a degree. But anthropologists might have been expected to notice that every writer who participated in the debate had been socialized in the Roman script. Can we assume that all scripts have played a similar role in world history? I will argue that we cannot. In fact the Arabic script, among others, has had a different history. The comparative study of the history of use of several scripts offers a new window on the significance of literacy rates in the modern world. (Filmed Oct 27, 2010)
Video Category:Lecture
Video Date:10/27/2010
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