Indigenous American societies pose serious problems for traditional theories of orality, literacy, and writing. This article attempts to deconstruct the orality-literacy dichotomy that has traditionally informed anthropological thought (whether it be of anthropologists, historians, literary critics, or others). Using indigenous American media such as the Andean khipu, Moche fine-line painting, and Mesoamerican iconography as a starting and ending point, it proposes a dialogic model of literacy and subsequently a dialogic model of media that constitutes a revision of the traditional anthropological and historical theory relating to the role of writing/media, its relationship to the development of socioeconomic and political complexity, and its cognitive effects.

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