It is not uncommon to find literacy figured as "toxic" in discussions of its power to regulate and discipline social behavior. The author's aim in this article is to move from metaphor to material as he explores the toxicity inherent in the manufacturing processes that make print available for mass consumption. He argues that over the past century, the demand for print in certain regions of the United States, primarily the North and West, spurred the growth of commercial papermaking-and the spread of devastating mill pollution-in the South, where demand for print has historically lagged. He suggests that one result of this pollution has been the weakening of social institutions that typically promote and value normative forms of literate activity. With the industries that enable the mass circulation of print now going global, this pattern of uneven and unjust literacy development may well be repeated.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Literature and Literary Theory