Computer-Mediated Communication Magazine / Volume 2, Number 3 / March 1, 1995 / Page 3


Politexts, Hypertexts, and Other Cultural Formations in the Late Age of Print

by Nancy Kaplan (

This article is a hypertextualized and extended version of the keynote address delivered at the Second Domains of Literacy Conference at The University of London, 1-3 September 1994.

I have twisted the language to contrive the title of this essay because I want to interrogate the future of literacy, both its electronic formations (if indeed these differ from its pre-electronic ones) and its social origins and effects. Hence: I am using the unpronounceable locution e-literacies in two different ways:

There are a number of ways to read this essay, none of which will exactly replicate the text of the talk I gave. Take chances with your choices.

One note: a significant feature of hypertext environments is their capacity for inclusion, their construction of a vast and necessarily unfinished collage of documents striving to represent the knowledge (and the agon) of a discipline. As yet, no boundless writing space exists, so I have had to try to create my own simulacrum of a textual domain. I have tried to exploit hypertext's capaciousness by offering extended passages from some of authors I cite. The current state of copyright law, however, precludes posting works in their entirety (and frankly, scanning or typing that much stuff would have been too tedious and time-consuming anyway). I have, therefore, included less than 10% of any given work to comply with the "fair use" provisions of the law.

Sometimes, all you will want is a standard bibliographical reference -- just enough to enable you can to get the book or article and read it in its entirety, without my noisome interjections, distracting comments, and distorting editorial decisions. Simple references to page numbers will occur in the text and the full bibliographic information will occur on the list of works cited (a link should take you directly from an author's name to the bibliography). An extended passage from the cited work is available whenever a citation is associated with this symbol -- Context.

There are approximately 35 nodes and 180 links in this hypertext essay.

A Ways to Go:

The Academic Dispute | What's At Stake | Way In / Way Out | Definitions of Strange Locutions

Nancy Kaplan is Associate Professor in the School of Communications Design at the University of Baltimore.

Copyright © 1995 by Nancy Kaplan. All Rights Reserved.

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