“The Rise of Writing: What happens when people write more than they read?” with Deborah Brandt


"Writing is powerful," says Deb Brandt, professor of english, who has studied the importance of writing literacy in education and business. Here, Brandt writes and revises the text of the article accompanying this photograph by writing it out on a piece of glass.© UW-Madison University Communications 608-262-0067Photo by: Michael Forster RothbartDate: 9/05 File#: D100 digital camera frame 11485

Episode 77

Originally broadcast March 8, 2015.
Prerecorded March 6, 2015



Have you noticed how much you’ve been writing lately? How many emails, texts, and Facebook posts you compose on any given day? Have you realized how much more you write than you read? Deb Brandt has and she wants us to all understand that we are experiencing a mass-writing revolution that will change our culture forever. On this episode we discuss the shift of focus from reading to writing and look at how it has changed both the workplace and the ways in which people express themselves.

Deborah Brandt is professor emerita of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is the author most recently of The Rise of Writing: Redefining Mass Literacy(Cambridge University Press, 2015). For nearly 30 years at UW-Madison she taught undergraduate writing at all levels, as well as graduate courses in literacy studies, contemporary writing theory, and research methodology. Her research has been supported by the American Council of Learned Societies, the Guggenheim Foundation, National Endowment for the Humanities, the Spencer Foundation, and the U.S. Department of Education, among other sources. In 2003 she was awarded the Grawemeyer Award in Education for her book Literacy in American Lives (Cambridge University Press, 2001).

This is Deb’s second appearance on Why? Radio, listen to the first, “Is Ghostwriting Ethical” by clicking here.

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