A posthuman perspective on early literacy: A literature review

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Early literacy, Posthumanism, Materials, Nonhuman entities, Child and childhood


Drawing on research about young children’s literacy development, this review article discusses a recent paradigmatic turn for understanding the child and childhood from human-centerism to posthumanism. Building on the new materialist tradition (e.g., Barad, 2007) and the assemblage theory of Deleuze and Guattari (1987, 1997), the posthuman lens enables researchers and educators to see children as parts of entangled networks of relationships who continuously intra-act with their peers, teachers, materials, and the other nonhuman entities and activities produced constantly by the child-material entanglements. As such, the posthumanist perspective expands the current research on early literacy by offering new possibilities for re-conceptualizing the child, the materials or resources for early literacy, and the meaning of childhood and children’s play. These new ways of seeing the child, the materials, and childhood have also generated new pedagogical practices that are material-oriented, intra-active, and flexible. The review concludes by providing directions for conducting research from a posthuman perspective in the field of early literacy education.


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How to Cite

Lin, Z., & Li, G. (2021). A posthuman perspective on early literacy: A literature review. Journal of Childhood, Education & Society, 2(1), 69–86. https://doi.org/10.37291/2717638X.20212169