A Communion of Friendship: Literacy, Spiritual Practice, and Women in Recovery / Edition 3

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Overview

Drawing on interviews and an array of scholarly work, Beth Daniell maps out the relations of literacy and spirituality in A Communion of Friendship: Literacy, Spiritual Practice, and Women in Recovery. Daniell tells the story of a group of women in “Mountain City” who use reading and writing in their search for spiritual growth. Diverse in socioeconomic status, the Mountain City women are, or have been, married to alcoholics. In Al-Anon, they use literacy to practice the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous in order to find spiritual solutions to their problems.

In addition, Daniell demonstrates that in the lives of these women, reading, writing, and speaking are intertwined, embedded in one another in rich and complex ways. For the women, private literate practice is of the utmost importance because it aids the development and empowerment of the self. These women engage in literate practices in order to grow spiritually and emotionally, to live more self-aware lives, to attain personal power, to find or make meaning for themselves, and to create community. By looking at the changes in the women’s reading, Daniell shows that Al-Anon doctrine, particularly its oral instruction, serves as an interpretive tool. This discussion points out the subtle but profound transformations in these women’s lives in order to call for an inclusive notion of politics.

Foregrounding the women’s voices, A Communion of Friendship addresses a number of issues important in composition studies and reading instruction. This study examines the meaning of literacy within one specific community, with implications both for pedagogy and for empirical research in composition inside and outside the academy.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“In her ‘little narrative’ Beth Daniell makes a big claim, saying that it’s time for composition studies to consider spiritual power alongside its economic, political, intellectual, and social forms. Her detailed and sensitive examination of how spirituality inflects the literacy practices of a group of women in Al-Anon provides the warrant for her claim and adds a new and needed dimension to our understanding of literacy.”—Anne Ruggles Gere, author of Intimate Practices: Literacy and Cultural Work in U.S. Women’s Clubs, 1880–1920

“The connections that Beth Daniell makes between these two elements—literacy and spirituality—are particularly important in a time when people are expected to demonstrate their literate abilities and are electing to speak out about the spiritual nature of their private and social lives.”—Juan C. Guerra, author of Close to Home: Oral and Literate Practices in a Transnational Mexicano Community

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780809324873
  • Publisher: Southern Illinois University Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/2003
  • Series: Studies in Writing and Rhetoric Series
  • Edition description: 1st Edition
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Beth Daniell is an associate professor of English at Clemson University, where she has served as the director for both composition studies and undergraduate studies.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments: The Social Nature of (My Own) Literacy
Introduction: Women's Stories Have Not Been Told 1
1 A Dais for My Words 19
2 Composing (as) Power 37
3 Reading as a Matter of Life 77
4 Power as Positive and Available 126
5 Literacy Lessons 149
App. A The Twelve Steps of Al-Anon 171
App. B An Essay on Research and Telling the Truth 173
References 185
Index 193
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