Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Took a break from flipping and scanning pages by reading Julie Stone Peter's essay "Orality, Literacy, and Print Revisited" which is published in Dennis L. Weeks and Jane Hoogestraat's collection Time, Memory, and the Verbal Arts: Essays on the Thought of Walter Ong. A good article. In it she writes:

"By combining the study of traditions considered 'Western' and other traditions, Ong brought to more conventional work in literature and culture the recognition that orality/literacy studies need not be regulated to 'peoples without writing.' Indeed, as he recognized, to do so was unconsciously to perpetuate the artificial split between the 'primitive' and the 'civilized' by casting that split anew as the 'oral' and the 'literate.' That division masked the interaction of modes, as Ong demonstrated, for instance, in his analysis of Renaissance copia, of the visualist oral-literate interface in mass media, or the use of formulae in written poetry (whether that of Tudor courtier or that of Xhosa poets). As the theorist of ethnography James Clifford has observed, Ong's work shares with Derrida's 'an overarching rejection of the institutionalized ways one large group of humanity has for millennia constructed its world' (Clifford 10). Cross-cultural work, as Ong showed, could be the basis of resisting the residual bifurcation of the 'savage' and the 'civilized' in the bifurcation of the 'oral' and the 'literate,' the 'Western' and the 'non-Western.' " [forgot to write down page number]

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