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eJournal of Public Affairs




We examine the concept of “reciprocity” in publicly engaged literacy scholarship. The idea of reciprocity suggests that projects using a publicly engaged research model should be two-way partnerships with an effort given to balancing benefits to the researcher and to community partners. We (the researcher and the community partner) explore this dynamic by considering our own experiences working on a project with groups of youth in Honduras and in the United States. The groups share their cultures and experiences through writing and technology and challenge ideas about security and public space. Given the national, racial, cultural, economic, linguistic, and power dynamics inherent in this publicly engaged scholarship project, reciprocity is a theme we pay close attention to and are in constant discussion about. We answer a series of questions about reciprocity and scholarship, and find we have learned to define both in ways that aren’t traditionally measurable and can’t be mapped out as directional.


The eJournal of Public Affairs is a peer-reviewed, multidisciplinary, open-access journal published by Missouri State University and affiliated with the American Democracy Project.

Copyright 2017 by the authors under a Creative Commons Attribution license.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.