Brian Street was a leading figure in New Literacy Studies. He drew upon his anthropological background to introduce the idea of literacy as a social practice rather than an autonomous, technical skill. Throughout his life he worked tirelessly both to promote anthropology, through his role as Chief Examiner for the IB Anthropology, and as an intellectual activist, driven by a strong commitment to social justice and widening participation in public education. His work always sought to uncover power relations, from his analysis of representations of ‘otherness in early ‘ethnographic novels’, to questioning the meaning of academic literacies as ‘appropriate writing’ in institutions such as universities. With this Memorial Issue we hope to celebrate the breadth of Brian’s work, allowing space for friends and colleagues to remember Brian, and hopefully introduce new readers to the enduring relevance of his work for understanding anthropology, literacy and education today.
Image: Brian Street (1943-2017). Photography by Constant Leung, with permisison.