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Postmodern Picture Books and Street Art: Theorizing Visual R

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Asif Zaarur

on 7 April 2014

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Transcript of Postmodern Picture Books and Street Art: Theorizing Visual R

Postmodern Picture Books and Street Art:

Theorizing Visual Response Among College Students
Diane Anderson
(With Julia Carleton ‘15 and Asif Zaarur ‘17, Swarthmore College, and Nell Bang-Jensen, Wilma Theater, Philadelphia, PA)

“The digital age calls for rethinking literacy both on and off line.” (Dresang, 2008, p. 51)
Research Questions
Can young adults, in their reading and responding to street art, benefit from the lenses that have been developed around and radical change texts for children?

If so, how do these young adult students incorporate reader response theories and critical theory in understanding street art and their own responses?

Responses to the "reading" of street art have been understudied, yet they could yield insights into how people read visually-rich public texts, as well as shed light on what frames they draw upon to make sense of such common texts.
Course: "Literacies and Social Identities"
Students read a postmodern picturebook (PMPB) and recorded their responses
Students read Banksy's "Wall and Piece" (2005)
Writing Assignment:

Radical change texts (Dresang, 2008) whose main audience is children
Provide interactivity, connectivity, accessibility and alterability (Dresang, 2008)
Potential to "Develop readers' abilities to critically analyze, construct, and deconstruct an array of texts and representational forms" (Pantaleo, 2007)
Street Art
Working Definition:
Street art is "visually dominant" or has "blended structures" (Serafini, 2014, p. 17)
Postmodern features
"[Street artists] went for diverse styles, injected a little criticism, a little sarcasm, a little humor. They were the first postmodern graffiti writers, taking a little from every era to form a pastiche that was as potent as the expression was in the old days.” (Powers, 1999, p. 70)
Why PMPB and SA?
PMPB are known for their emphasis on pastiche, parody, irony, playfulness, bricolage, and the juxtaposition of words and images (Dresang, 2008, p. 44)

Everyday street images have much in common with PMPB in their wit, irony, challenge to authority, and potential for over-writing and hypertext

Goldstone claims that postmodern texts lead to co-authorship and a reader’s questioning of “what is real” (Goldstone, 2004, p. 197)

Words and images in the digital age can provide platforms for the construction of life-worlds and identities (Gee, 2007)
Students read in a new way, and also talked about reading in a new way

Through explicit framing, young adults can develop repertoires of strategies for understanding visual texts

Everyday texts, and responses to them, can and should be valued in academic settings
Lingering Thoughts and Questions
What can we make of the "Passerby Reader"?
How did classroom context and task shape student papers?
To what degree should we be focusing on visual literacies in college classrooms?
What visual theories and frames could be useful for this type of work?
If you’ve ever walked down the street, seen a name, and wondered what that marking meant, I’ll tell you: It means somebody is telling you a story about who they are and what they are prepared to do to make you aware of it. Every time a name is written, a story gets told. It’s a short story: “I was here.” Who is telling it and where they are telling it will determine how the story ends. Some stories will be adventures, some tragedies, and some courtroom depositions. But every single one has a star, a stage, and an audience, and that’s all a growing youth needs to have fun. (Powers, 1999, p. 6)
Literature Cited

Anderson, D. D. (2008). The elementary persuasive letter: Two cases of situated competence, strategy and agency. Research in the Teaching of English, 42(3), 270-314.
Aukerman, M. (2007). When reading it wrong is getting it right: Shared evaluation pedagogy among struggling fifth graders. Research in the Teaching of English, 42(1), 56-103.
Banksy (2005). Wall and piece. London: Century Random House.

Buildmore. (2013). Lecture on street art. Literacies and Social Identities class, Swarthmore College, November 22, 2013.
Davies, B, and Harre, R. (1990). Positioning: The discursive production of selves. Journal for the Theory of Social Behavior, 20(1), 43-63.
Dresang, E. T. (2008). Radical change theory, postmodernism, and contemporary picturebooks. In L. R. Sipe & S. Pantaleo, (Eds.) Postmodern picturebooks: Play, parody, and self-referentiality (41-54). New York: Routledge.

Gee, J. (1990). Background to the “New Literacy Studies.” In J. Gee, Sociolinguistics and Literacies: Ideology in discourses. New York: The Falmer Press.
Gee, J. P. (2007). What video games teach us about learning and literacy. New York:Palgrave MacMillan.

Goldstone, B. P. (2004). The postmodern picture book: A new sub-genre. Language Arts, 81(3), 196-204.
Goldstone, B. P. (2008). The paradox of space in postmodern picturebooks. In L. R. Sipe & S. Pantaleo, (Eds.) Postmodern picturebooks: Play, parody, and self-referentiality (117-129). New York: Routledge.

Goody, J. (1977). Intellectualism in pre-literate societies. In J. Goody, The domestication of the savage mind. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 19-75.
Harste, J. C. (2003). What do we mean by literacy now? Voices in the Middle, 10(3). 8-12.
Jenkins, R. (1996). Social Identity. New York: Routledge.
Lambert, J. Center for Digital Storytelling. http://storycenter.org/. accessed March 11, 2014.
Lave, J. & Wenger, E. (1991). Midwives, tailors, quartermasters, butchers, nondrinking alcoholics. In J. Lave & E. Wenger, Situated Learning: Legitimate peripheral participation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Leander, K. and Boldt, G. (2012). Rereading A Pedagogy of Multiliteracies: Bodies, texts and emergence. Journal of Literacy Research, 45(1), 22-46.
McGuire, C., Belfatti, M., and Ghiso, M. (2008). “It doesn’t say how?” Third graders collaborative sense-making from postmodern picturebooks. In L. R. Sipe & S. Pantaleo, Postmodern picturebooks: Play, parody, and self-referentiality. New York: Routledge.
New London Group. (1996) A pedagogy of multiliteracies; Designing social futures. Harvard Educational Review, 66(1), 60-92.
Nystrand, M. (1997). Open dialogue: Understanding the dynamics of language and learning in the English classroom. New York: teachers College Press.
Pantaleo, S. (2007). “Everything comes from seeing things”: Narrative and illustrative play on Black and White. Children’s Literature in Education, 38, 45 – 58.

Powers, S. (1999). The art of getting over: Graffiti at the millenium. New York: St. Martin's Press.

Rosenblatt, L. M. (1994). The transactional theory of reading and writing. In R.B. Ruddell, M. R. Ruddell, & H. Singer (Eds.) Theoretical models and processes of reading (4th Ed.). Newark, DE: International Reading Association.

Santori, D.M. (2008). “Sense-making--the heart of the matter”: Exploring reading comprehension in three participant structures. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA.

Schacter, R. (2013). The world atlas of street art and graffiti. London: Quintessence.
Serafini, F. (2014). Reading the Visual: An Introduction to Teaching Multimodal Literacy. New York: Teachers College Press.
Sipe, L. R. (2001). Peter Rabbit goes downtown. Education Week, January 31, 2001, 39.
Sipe, L. R. (2008). Storytime: Young children’s literary understanding in the classroom. New York: Teachers College Press.

Sipe, L. R., & Pantaleo, S. (2008). Postmodern picturebooks: Play, parody, and self-referentiality. New York: Routledge.

Solorzano, D. G., & Yosso, T. J. (2002). Critical race methodology: Counter-storytelling as an analytical framework of education research. Qualitative Inquiry, 8(23), 23 – 44.

Street, B. V. (1995). Literacy practices and literacy myths. In B.V. Street, Social literacies: Critical approaches to literacy in development, ethnography and education. London: Longman. 160-178.
Tannen, D. (1993). What’s in a frame?: Surface evidence for underlying expectations. In D. Tannen, Ed., Framing in discourse. New York: Oxford University Press, 14-56.
Wolf, M. (2007). Proust & the Squid. New York: Harper Collins.

Wortham, S. (2001). Dialogue, mediation, and emergence in narrative. In S. Wortham, Narratives in action: A strategy for research and analysis. New York: Teachers College Press. 47-75.

107, P. (2003). All city: The book about taking space. Toronto: ECW Press.


Street Art Cited

Banksy. (2004). Balloon Girl. London http://www.witf.org/your_photos/assets_c/2013/03/balloongirl-thumb-1600x1200-5948.jpg

Banksy. (2006). Celebrating the launch of the graffiti removal hotline. London http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lpmbi4UE8B1qiu9iz.jpg

Banksy. (2010). Follow Your Dreams. Chinatown area of Boston http://fc09.deviantart.net/fs70/f/2013/052/c/5/banksy__follow_your_dreams_by_lar888-d5vpsjd.jpg

Banksy. (2004). Mona Lisa. Louvre, Paris. http://cache.desktopnexus.com/thumbnails/610371-bigthumbnail.jpg

Banksy. (2005). Palestine. Palestine http://www.briansewell.com/images/banksy-beachboys.jpg

Banksy. (2004). Napalm. Unknown Location. http://jamaispasdutoutrien.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/nape3.jpg

Banksy. Unknown Date and Location. Sick of Love. http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_mc8bbb4RSi1rerguxo1_500.jpg

Troy Lovegates AKA Other and Labrona. (2012). Untitled. Haverford College. http://blog.vandalog.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/OtherLabrona2-L.jpg

Poster Boy. Unknown Date and Location. Are we dead yet? http://www.brooklynstreetart.com/theblog/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/brooklyn-street-art-poster-boy-jaime-rojo-02-13-web-6.jpg

Powers, S. (2010). Love Letter. West Philadelphia http://payload.cargocollective.com/1/0/633/61700/steve-powers_prepay-is-on_1000.jpg
Unknown Artist. Unknown Date. Shanghai, China http://www.streetartutopia.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Street-Art-by-Vhils-iIn-Shanghai-China-1.jpg

Powers, S. (Unknown Date). New York City http://assets.coolhunting.com/coolhunting/mt_asset_cache/culture/assets/images/youandmepowers.jpg

Postmodern Picturebooks used in study

Banyai, I. (1995). Zoom. New York: Puffin Books.

Browne, A. (2001). Voices in the Park. London: DK Publishing.

Crews, Donald. (1996). Shortcut. New York, NY: New York: Greenwillow Books.

Gravett, Emily. (2006). Wolves. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.

Macaulay, D. (1990). Black and White. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company
Analyze and compare responses to PMPB and street art
(Banksy, 2004)
(Powers, You and Me)
Students made meaning by applying PMPB and response theories to street art

Students drew upon a new vocabulary to talk about meaning-making

Students deepened their understanding of response theory
How did students do this?
Students recognized that interpretations are multiple
Students acknowledged the role context plays in shaping interpretations. The "passerby reader" concept emerged.
Students considered authorial intent
Students pulled less from critical theory than expected, but demonstrated meta-awareness of interpretations
Image by Shantanu Jain and Asif Zaarur, adapted from Anthony Browne's cover art
Full transcript