As a researcher, I am interested in how working-class communities deploy literacy and engage in rhetorical acts beyond traditional learning spaces. My dissertation, “Literacy and Labor: Archives, Networks, and History in Working-Class Communities,” explores how self-generated community literacy projects can lead to social and political change. My dissertation brings together multiple methods and practices, including archival curation and research, interviews, and grounded theory. My dissertation demonstrates how grassroots communities provide the field with an expanded vision of literacy and public writing.
To do this work, I am part of an international alliance of scholars, archivists and community members, working to create print and digital archives of The Federation of Worker Writers and Community Publishers (FWWCP or FED), a network that existed between 1976-2007 and self-published thousands of texts focused on working-class life, immigrant experience, educational development, mental health, etc. Since beginning this work, I have been involved with developing a taxonomy for the collection, sorting over 4,000 texts, and indexing of over 1,800 of the FWWCP’s publications.
Below are images documenting the beginnings of this archive, housed at London Metropolitan University, as well as some FWWCP members who have influenced this work. Other images show the beginning of a dual print archive begun at Syracuse University.