Millions of descendants of the former colonized and enslaved peoples around the world are now classified as poor readers, bad writers, and slow learners. Are they illiterate or silenced people? Are they global citizens or global outcasts? Drawing from case studies of flesh and blood individuals in Mexico and the U.S., this book questions the colonizing images of the "illiterate", and explores the ways in which the long social history of conquest and colonization, plunder and globalization, is inscribed in the personal histories of today's subjugated people. It argues that rather than "limited literacy skills" they face systematic lack of freedom to speak, act, and make decisions about their own lives. Literacy, thus, is understood as a key practice of voice and citizenship.
Gregorio Hernandez-Zamora was born in Mexico City. He holds a PhD in Language, Literacy, and Culture from University of California Berkeley, is a former Fulbright fellow in the U.S., and current independent scholar and professor at the National University of Mexico (UNAM). His research focuses on postcolonialism, symbolic power, and the politics of literacy. He has published essays, chronicles, and book chapters.