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Dido's DaughtersLiteracy, Gender, and Empire in Early Modern England and France$
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Margaret W. Ferguson

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780226243115

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: February 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226243184.001.0001

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Competing Concepts of Literacy in Imperial Contexts

Competing Concepts of Literacy in Imperial Contexts

Definitions, Debates, Interpretive Models

(p.31) 1 Competing Concepts of Literacy in Imperial Contexts
Dido's Daughters
University of Chicago Press

This chapter analyzes past and present definitions of literacy and the debates about its social value often embedded in those definitions. It explores some of the ways in which our views of early modern empires and their literacies are not only shaped by our own historical position but also deformed by inadequate reflection on some of the investments in empire that we share with some of our educated forebears. This chapter validates the hypothesis that literacy becomes an urgent definitional and political problem in geo-temporal contexts we can describe as imperial.

Keywords:   literacy, social value, early modern empires, definitional problems, political problems

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