This article proposes the concept "distributed literacy" in order to move beyond the still common preoccupation in educational history and sociology with literacy as a technical capacity and attribute of individuals. Invoking the concept involves an appeal to a conceptual move and an analytic strategy that are well established in other branches of enquiry. The article begins by introducing the concept and then provides a sketch of its application in the case of the British North American colony of Lower Canada (the southern part of the current Canadian Province of Quebec) in the first decades of the nineteenth century. Its empirical materials are found in the correspondence files of the main state information agency, the Civil Secretary's Office, with a focus on issues of schooling and local government in the 1820s and 1830s.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Distributed literacy, Lower Canada, State papers
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1080/00309230701865645
Journal Paedagogica Historica
Citation
Curtis, B. (2008). On distributed literacy: Textually mediated politics in colonial Canada. In Paedagogica Historica (Vol. 44, pp. 233–244). doi:10.1080/00309230701865645