DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.



Composition-Rhetoric Studies and the Critical Contexts of Black Language

 Table of eContents


In this theme of my research, teaching, and publishing, I look at the polemics of and research on African American Language (AAL) as representative of a unique political and cultural context. I look at Black Language philosophically as a space that offers radical alternatives of life, freedom, and racial critique. This work first began with book chapters that I published in 2003.  Those texts launched journal articles in English Teaching: Practice and Critique, Reading Research QuarterlyComputers and Composition, and Teaching English at the Two Year College as well as book chapters published by Teachers College Press and Heinemann. I also crafted two local grants connected to urban teacher education.  Overall, this body of work links the racial subordination of young people of color, especially young women of color, with the ways that their multimodality, multilingual literacies, and ethnic rhetorics have been denigrated.


My pedagogical focus on Black Language is now most closely related to the digital projects that I engage with undergraduate students, projects that I design from the vantage points of AfroDigital Humanities, Black feminisms, and Black Digital Vernaculars. I explore these ideas in a digital essay that I have presented around the country called " ‘Make It Do What It Do’--- The Early Makings of My Black Digital Vernacular Pedagogies.”  Courses and workshops that I have offered related to this theme of my research include: Word is Bond--- African American Language and Performance (Undergraduate Course); “Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired”: Black Protest, CompRhet Studies, and the Fannie Lou Hamer Turn (Workshop); SANKOFA: ePortfolio Express Series (Workshop).   In these projects, Black Language is not merely a product or set of morphosyntactic choices of speakers and writers but an ideological system and intellectual approach.


“Stank 2.0 and the Counter-Poetics of Black Language in College Classrooms.” https://teacher-scholar-activist.org/2017/10/09/stank-2-0-and-the-counter-poetics-of-black-language-in-college-classrooms/. October 9, 2017. (Click here)


“ ‘The Blues Playingest Dog You Ever Heard of’:  (Re)positioning Literacy Research Through African American Blues Rhetorics.” Reading Research Quarterly 43.4 (October 2008): 356-373. (Click here)


“Writing While Black: The Colour Line, Black Discourses, and Assessment in the Institutionalization of Writing Instruction.” English Teaching: Practice and Critique 7. 2 (September 2008): 4-34. http://edlinked.soe.



files/2008v7n2art1.pdf (Click here)


“’Wanted: Some Black Long Distance [Writers]’: Blackboard Flava-Flavin and Other Afro-Digitized Experiences in the Classroom.” Computers and Composition 24.3 (September 2007): 329-345. (Click here)


“ ‘Yall Are Killin’ Me Up In Here’: Response Theory from a Newjack Comp Instructor/Sistuhgirl Meeting Her Students on the Page.” Teaching English at the Two-Year College 33.4 (May 2006): 361-387. (Click here)



Book Chapters

“ ‘Trying to Bend The Tree When It Is Already Grown’: Spanning the Spectrum of African Diaspora Englishes in the Writing Classroom.” Teaching English Today: Advocating Change in the Secondary Curriculum. Eds. Barrie R. C. Barell, Roberta Hammett, John S. Mayher, and Gordon M. Pradl.  New York: Teachers College Press, 2004. 92-105. (Click here)


“ ‘New Life in This Dormant Creature’: Notes on Social Consciousness, Language, and Learning in a College Classroom.”  Alt Dis: Alternative Discourses and the Academy.  Eds. Christopher Shroeder, Helen Fox, and Patricia Bizzell.  NH: Heinemann, 2002. 31-44. (Click here)



Digital Project

"Make It Do What It Do"--- The Early Makings of My Black Digital Vernacular Pedagogies (A Digital Essay) https://johnjay.digication.com/eport-story/Welcome/ (Click here)



Reviews and Forewards

“Review of ‘Is This English’:  Race, Language, and Culture in the Classroom by Bob Fecho.” TCRecord.Org: The Voice of Scholarship In Education.  Summer 2004. Teachers College Columbia University.  http://www.tcrecord.org/content.asp?ContentID=11344 [printed in Teacher’s College Record 106.12 (December 2004): 2350-2358] (Click here)


Foreword. tor’cha by Todd Craig.  New York: Swank Books, 2009. (Click here)




COURSE SYLLABUS AND WEBSITE: Word is Bond--- African American Language and Performance (Undergraduate Course) (Click here)


“Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired”: Black Protest, CompRhet Studies, and the Fannie Lou Hamer Turn (Workshop) (Click here)


SANKOFA: ePortfolio Express Series (Workshop) (Click here)


DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.