ELIZABETH MOJE (University of Michigan), Lecture in Literacy Studies

June 4, 2012
Thursday, November 15, 2012 - 4:00pm to 5:30pm
Denney 311

From Being Part of the Story to Making the Argument:  Young People Navigating Discourses, Identities, and Literacies

Moje will draw from past and proposed future research to theorize what it means to engage in robust literacy practice across multiple contexts, a construct that Moje has come to think of in terms of navigating.  Specifically, Moje will make an argument about the need to move from framing literacy learning as domain- or discipline-specific, and instead to think of the profound learning as being at the moment of navigating from one space to another.  Drawing from conceptions of third space articulated by Homi Bhabha and Edward Soja, Moje will argue that the moments of being in-between may be the very moments teachers and others interested in youth development may want to help youth explore, using the in-between and, more important, awareness of the in-between, to engage young people in the kind of language and conceptual study that involves them in an analysis and critique of how knowledge is produced. 

It is in the moments of strangeness and discomfort that some of the most generative thinking and practice emerge, but too often, formal education settings close down possibilities for explicit attention to the differences across domains and instead assume—or demand—a sameness of practice across all contexts.  Although focused on theorizing such constructs and on examining expanded ways of thinking and acting, Moje will pepper the talk with data-based examples drawn from her last 14 years of research, professional development, and teacher education in Detroit, Michigan.  In the end, Moje will articulate implications for literacy teaching and for the structure of formal education that could support the teaching of literacy navigations.

Elizabeth Birr Moje is Associate Dean for Research and an Arthur F. Thurnau Professor in the School of Education at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan. Moje also serves as a Faculty Associate in the University’s Institute for Social Research, and a Faculty Affiliate in Latino/a Studies.  Moje teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in secondary and adolescent literacy, literacy and cultural theory, and qualitative and mixed research methods.  Her research interests revolve around the intersection between the literacies and texts youth are asked to learn in the disciplines (particularly in science and social studies) and the literacies and texts they experience outside of school. In addition, Moje studies how youth make culture and enact identities from their home and community literacies, and from ethnic cultures, popular cultures, and school cultures. These research interests stem from the start of her career when she taught history, biology, and drama at high schools in Colorado and Michigan. Her current research focuses on communities and schools in Detroit, Michigan.  She also engages in literacy professional development with teachers in Detroit and around the country.

Moje has authored or edited 4 books and numerous book chapters, as well as articles in journals such as the Harvard Educational Review, Review of Research in Education, Reading Research Quarterly, Teachers College Record, Journal of Literacy Research, Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, Research in the Teaching of English, Urban Review, Journal of Research in Science Teaching, and Science Education.  Her research projects have been or are currently funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, International Reading Association, National Academy of Education, National Institutes of Health/Office of Vocational and Adult Education/Institute of Education Sciences, National Science Foundation, Spencer Foundation, and the William T. Grant Foundation.

Moje is currently serving on the National Academy of Science/National Research Council’s Committee on Learning—Adolescent and Adult Literacy; the PISA Steering Committee; the William T. Grant Foundation’s Scholar Selection Committee; and as an Associate Editor of the Journal of Research in Science Teaching.  She has also served as a member of the Carnegie Corporation of New York’s Adolescent Literacy Council; the Spencer Task Force on Enhancing Doctoral Education; the Spencer Foundation’s Exemplary Dissertation Award Committee; and as Research Chair of the National Conference on Research on Language and Literacy (NCRLL).