Examining the Definition of Literacy in an Awakened Mexican Pueblo Fantasma and Flourishing Pueblo Mágico: A Case Study

Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Special Education and Literacy Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Maria Selena O. Protacio

Second Advisor

Dr. Matthew Hoge

Third Advisor

Dr. Karen Vocke


Functional literacy, defining literacy, oral literacy, literacy as process, Mexican village

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Abstract Only

Restricted to Campus until



Understanding the facets of literacy through a pluralistic lens is essential in establishing a cross-cultural awareness of the term ‘literacy.’ This paper analyzes an ethnographic qualitative case study which sheds light on how Mexican villagers from an awakened Mexican Pueblo Fantasma (ghost town) and flourishing Pueblo Magico (magical village) define literacy and the implications of their definitions. Through interviews and visual artifacts, namely photographs, the case study demonstrates participants’ definitions and understandings of the term literacy. The photographs utilized support the findings in the participant discourse. They both demonstrate the infrequency and rareness of written text and the functional purposes of reading and writing within the community. Photographs depict a village where oral means of communication supersedes written communication. In the Mexican village of, Mina de Plata, literacy manifests through functional literacy, cultural literacy, and critical literacy.

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