chapter  11
Metaphors we lose by: re-thinking how we frame rural education
ByKIM DONEHOWER
Pages 15

I came late to literacy studies, in graduate student terms. In the United States, academic research on literacy is divided between two disciplines. Literacy acquisition, particularly the reading abilities of young children, is the province of education departments. Large-scale ethnographic and theoretical literacy work often happens in English departments, in a small subfi eld of what has come to be known as composition/rhetoric studies. Comp/rhet has its roots in classroom pedagogy – in particular, teaching writing to college students. But the ‘rhet’ association means that compositions are also extremely interested in language use in specifi c cultural contexts. The location of comp/rhet in English departments forges a bond with literary and linguistic theory. Like many of my generation, I entered graduate school in English to study literature; I didn’t know comp/rhet, let alone literacy studies, existed. It took years of Master’s and Ph.D. coursework to fi nd that literacy studies were my intellectual passion. This meant I began my doctoral research far more equipped with tools of linguistic and literary analysis than my newly gained qualitative methodology skills.