Bridget O’Rourke

Meanings and practices of literacy in urban settlement communities: Chicago’s Hull House 1890-1940

Bridget Kathleen O’Rourke

  • School: Purdue University (0183)
  • Degree: Ph.D.
  • Date: 1998 pp: 170
  • Advisor: Harkin, Patricia
  • Source: DAI-A 59/12, p. 4420, Jun 1999
  • Subjects: Language, Rhetoric And Composition (0681); Women’s Studies (0453); Education, History Of (0520)
  • ProQuest Document Number: 304450988
  • ISBN: 0-599-13158-6
  • UMI Number: AAT 9914531


    This dissertation analyzes oral and written literacy narratives of immigrant and working-class men and women who resided in the neighborhood served by Chicago’s Hull House settlement during the late nineteenth- and early-twentieth century. Narrative analysis of individual stories about the meanings and uses of English literacy within families and communities is intertwined with an investigation of Hull House as an institutional context for literacy development as well as large-scale economic and political conditions that impacted the settlement and the neighborhood. Together, these strands of inquiry contribute to better understanding of the ways in which literate practices were experienced by individuals and constructed by social and institutional relations and historical codes of class, ethnicity and gender.