De/constructing Literacies

Considerations for Engagement

by Amélie Lemieux (Author)
©2020 Textbook X, 144 Pages


De/constructing Literacies: Considerations for Engagement reviews and defines the concept of engagement in literacy studies from different epistemologies. Well-suited for literacy researchers and graduate students, it considers the foundations of arts-based research, cognitive psychology, ethnography, phenomenology, posthumanism, with a final chapter on walking methodologies, to better understand how engagement can be framed and looked at in literacy studies.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Table of Contents
  • Figures
  • Introduction
  • Chapter One: Literacies as Engrenages or How Phenomenological Hermeneutics Impact Literacy Studies
  • Chapter Two: De/constructing Reading Engagement
  • Chapter Three: Illustrating Reading Engagement: Indicators, Meaning-Making, and Beyond
  • Chapter Four: Mapping Reactions across Students: Engagement Tendencies
  • Chapter Five: Community-Oriented Literacies and the Place of Materiality
  • Index


Figure 1: Montreal snow. Amélie Lemieux.

Figure 2: Iced footprints. Amélie Lemieux.

Figure 3: Café crème. Amélie Lemieux.

Figure 4: Wet streets, reflecting lights. Amélie Lemieux.

Figure 5: Lights in line. Amélie Lemieux.

Figure 6: Julian’s first aesthetigram, in response to the book excerpt.

Figure 7:Julian’s second aesthetigram, in response to the corresponding film excerpt.

Figure 8: Tom’s aesthetigram in response to Scene 37 in the play Incendies.

Figure 9: Oliver’s aesthetigram in response to scene 37 in the play Incendies.

Figure 10: Simon’s aesthetigram in response to scene 37 in the play Incendies.

Figure 11: Justin’s aesthetigram in response to scene 37 in the play Incendies.

Figure 12: Noah’s aesthetigram in response to scene 37 in the play Incendies.

Figure 13: Josh’s aesthetigram in response to scene 37 in the play Incendies.

Figure 14: Max’s aesthetigram in response to scene 37 in the play Incendies.

Figure 15: Billy’s aesthetigram in response to scene 37 in the play Incendies.

Figure 16: Billy’s drawing of the book cover.

Figure 17: First character: Billy’s representation of Nawal in the written play.

Figure 18: Second character: Billy’s representation of Nihad in the written play.

Figure 19: Billy’s aesthetigram in response to scene 37 in the film Incendies.

Figure 20: Reading engagement tendencies in participants.

Figure 21: Total occurrences in reading tendencies.

Figure 22: Community-based LFL in Rosemont, picture taken by Lemieux with an iPhone 5, 2015.

Figure 23: Community-based LFL in Villeray, Montreal, picture taken by Lemieux with an iPhone 5, 2015.

Figure 24: LFL Pilot, (c) Lemieux, picture taken with an iPhone 5.

Figure 25: LFLs locations on the McGill campus—Map provided by M. Ramundo.

Figure 26: Faculty of Arts LFL (location #3), picture provided by M. Ramundo.

Figure 27: Cardiff, taken with iPhone 8, 2018.

Figure 28: Cardiff, taken with iPhone 8, 2018.


The title of this book, De/constructing Literacies: Considerations for Engagement, refers to ongoing conversations and debates about the nature of literacies and, more importantly, the relationships between definitions and dimensions of engagement in literacy studies. Under the supervision of Jennifer Rowsell (for postdoctoral training) and Boyd White (for doctoral studies), I studied the epistemological traditions of phenomenological hermeneutics in reception studies, material culture, and more recently multimodal receptions and productions as they relate to such epistemologies as phenomenology, visual culture, new materialism, and posthumanism. This book is a dedication to them as a result of our work together and the provoking conversations that took place over a number of years. In the last few years, the research I have conducted with high school and post-secondary students, as well as with pre- and in-service teachers, speaks to these intricate relationships, and further exemplifies the often-fleeting and oblivious inchoate dimensions embedded in the human, the non-human, and the more-than human. The projects I present in this book are in line with current research focusing on the relationship between youth’s intra-actions and affective states within textualities and materialities, specifically as to how they shape literacies in plural and open forms (Dernikos, 2018; Kuby & Rowsell, 2017; Kuby, Spector & Thiel, 2018; Lemieux & Rowsell, 2020; Nichols & Campano, 2017; Sherbine, 2018; Wargo, 2018) and in relation to affective entanglements (Ehret & Rowsell, 2020; Leander & Ehret, 2019).

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Posthuman research on literacy practices focuses on decentering, in part, the sole emphasis on students, and reconsiders students as a whole. That is, focusing on their interactions with the world, the objects, the digital, their environment, and their inner and outer circles. Researching with posthumanism (Barad, 2007; Braidotti, 2013; Grosz, 2017) in literacy studies has previously been done with emphasis on: rhizoanalysis and educational studies (Ehret, 2016; Semetsky & Masny, 2013); second-language education and citizenship (Fleming, Waterhouse, Bangou & Bastien, 2017); trauma literatures and sticky, affective entanglements and trauma literacies (Dernikos, 2018); early childhood literacies and methodologies (Kuby, 2017; Kuby & Rowsell, 2017); early childhood play and literacies (Marsh, 2017; Sherbine, 2018); adolescent literacies and affective states (Ehret, 2018; Lewis & Tierney, 2013); sexual cultures and youth digital literacies (Handyside & Ringrose, 2017; Renold & Ringrose, 2017); movement and youth literacies (Hackett & Somerville, 2017; Leander & Rowe, 2006; Nordquist, 2017); classroom makerspaces in preschool settings (Wohlwend, Peppler, Keune & Thompson, 2017); sonic literacies and aural rhetorics (Brownell & Wargo, 2017; Ceraso, 2018); work with exceptional youth (Reddington & Price, 2018); and methodologies in the digital age to look at virtual worlds and big data sets (Savin-Baden & Tombs, 2017).

In their volume on literacy and posthumanism, Kuby, Spector, and Thiel (2018) engage with manuscripts covering four main areas: (1) agency (2) intra-activity and entanglement (3) subjectivity and (4) affect. These four dimensions are pivotal in understanding new directions in literacy studies, especially in looking at more-than-human dimensions and epistemologies of being-with (Lemieux & Rowsell, 2020). The research I present in this book seeks to decentralize traditional literacies insofar as it considers students’ intra-actions in response to narratives and their adapted versions. Looking across interviews, questionnaires, maps, student commentary, and ekphrastic poetry, I adopted a phenomenological hermeneutics approach that resonates with such posthuman elements as subjectivity and moments of affect in high school students. This research has theoretical underpinnings that align with phenomenological hermeneutics (Ricoeur, 1981; Van Manen, 2014). I explain those dynamic open relationships later on in this manuscript. This is followed by a reflection on the material and its impact on communities—which is inchoate by nature—that brings about change and enthusiasm for daily hidden literacies (Rowsell & Kendrick, 2013).


X, 144
ISBN (Softcover)
ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2020 (May)
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Oxford, Wien, 2020. X, 154 pp., 28 b/w ill., 1 table

Biographical notes

Amélie Lemieux (Author)

Amélie Lemieux is Assistant Professor of Literacy and Technology at Mount Saint Vincent University. A Lieutenant-Governor’s Medal Recipient and TedX speaker, Lemieux's research extends an expansive view of literacy informed by multidimensional epistemologies that combine digital literacy and the arts.


Title: De/constructing Literacies
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156 pages