The border mural in the electronic age: Xican literacy as rhetorical agency

Jose Angel Maldonado, University of Texas at El Paso


The Border Mural in the Electronic Age is a project that responds to blanket statements, not only about a people's literacy (or illiteracy), but to the ways in which we define and measure literacy in the electronic age. In this study, literacy is located on the US-México border, and this specific location serves as the social, political, and economic grounds on which to study the types of literacies used by the local population. A cultural ecology approach is necessary when studying niche literacies, and in today's world, traditional literacies coexist among emergent forms of literacy most likely attributed to technological advances in communication media. A wall is no longer made of mere brick and mortar. A wall is a place in cyberspace where your friends of a new definition converge at your fingertips. To use a cultural ecology approach implies that one is not only to use the first person I when relating to stories encountered--the implication runs deeper. A cultural ecology approach asks the researcher to share the personal reasons that drove him or her to research a given topic. In my personal experience, I had been haunted by Gayatri Spivak's question; can the subaltern speak? While in college as a graduate and undergraduate student, I was well aware that my experience, and therefore also my perspectives, differed from those of some of my classmates. Where, then, can the subaltern speak? I chose to look at the alley walls of my barrio and the findings did not disappoint. ^

Subject Area

Latin American Studies|Aesthetics|Language, Rhetoric and Composition

Recommended Citation

Maldonado, Jose Angel, "The border mural in the electronic age: Xican literacy as rhetorical agency" (2011). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI1494409.