I’m Teresa Dobson, one of the authors and instructors of this course. You’ll find some information about me in the Instructor Bio and Author sections of the “Prefatory Materials.” I look forward to working with you in the context of this course!
A couple of years ago I traveled to Ethiopia with one of the research teams to which I belong, the Ethiopia-Canada Educational Research Collaborative (ECERC; http://blogs.ubc.ca/ecerc). My colleague Jeff Miller, the other instructor of this course, was a member of the team at the time as well. During that trip I wrote a weblog documenting our activities. I’ve uploaded one of the images from the blog, a picture of a scribe writing on a vellum roll with a bamboo stylus outside one of the rock-hewn churches in Lalibala. In reflecting on the image at the time I wrote the following, which in retrospect seems particularly relevant to the topic of this course: “It seems the history of technologies for writing and literacy development is somehow encapsulated in this beautiful, ancient nation. Papyrus grows thick on the shores of Lake Tana. In the churches and monasteries incunabula and other early examples of the book on vellum are still consulted and used in services. Scribes write with bamboo styli on scrolls of vellum outside the the churches of Lalibela. Books of every type are in demand — rare and expensive. The cost of publication is high. Perhaps here we have an example of what Graff (e.g., The Labyrinths of Literacy) would call a ‘newly literate’ population” (Dobson, 2010). You may find the complete entry at the URL listed in the citation below.
Dobson, T.M. (2010). A last day in Lalibala. [Weblog posting.] Available: http://blogs.ubc.ca/ecerc/2010/03/17/a-last-day-in-lalibala/