Lise Dobrin’s spring 2019 Literacy and Orality class preserves Alderman Library graffiti

The students in UVa’s Spring 2019 "Literacy and Orality” seminar, led by linguistics program director Lise Dobrin, documented the graffiti in the Alderman Library study carrels that will be lost in the Library renovation. The project culminated in a photo essay that discusses everything from Greek life at UVa to students’ motives for writing graffiti. Of particular note for linguists, the essay discusses the graffiti’s conversational structure such as turn-taking mechanism and indicators of agreement.

The complete photo essay is available at: The class also compiled an extensive graffiti gallery that can be found at:

Go on a fun graffiti scavenger hunt and see the graffiti yourself! Look for the “Alderman Graffiti Hunt” bookmarks at the circulation desk in Alderman’s Memorial Hall.