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L2 Journal

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Introduction to the Special Issue


This special volume on “Living Literacies” is an addendum to an existing body of work in L2 education that has amassed over the past few decades, which makes a collective case that literacy ought to be a central pedagogical objective for language and culture curricula. This has been a particularly predominant discourse in collegiate foreign language teaching, where the calls for a paradigm shift are often directly coupled with critiques of the bifurcated curricular models that have long shaped foreign language departments (e.g., Allen & Paesani, 2010; Kern, 2000, 2003), though interest in L2 literacy over the past couple of decades has also been associated with broader discussions around advanced linguistic development (e.g., Byrnes, 2005; Byrnes, Maxim, & Norris, 2010; Maxim, 2009) and in particular, language learning for specific or academic purposes (Hyland, 2007; Yasuda, 2011).

The articles in this volume contribute to these ongoing discussions by focusing more specifically on the complexity of L2 literacy, not merely as the interpretation and production of material texts, but also as lived experience: as practices that manifest across multiple languages, cultural contexts, and social ecologies; as a means of accessing and of developing identities, for example as a speaker of a new language, a researcher in a new field, or a language teacher working within a particular approach; as constituent of social sites, within which texts and text-based activities unfold.

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