This module will explore literacies, or literacy, across the life-course, examining reading and writing - and whatever else we may consider to be literacies. It will examine different concepts of literacy and their role in our lives. In doing so, it will look at language history, language change, language variety, multilingualism, multimodality and digital literacies, and consider the relationships between ‘in-school’ and ‘out-of-school’ literacies and social fears of ‘illiteracy’. The ways in which reading and writing are conceptualised or defined determines their research, policy and teaching, which in turn influence conceptualisations. This module aims to examine this dynamic as part of understanding the powers, pleasures and perils of literacies across the life-course.