My commitment to teaching as part of my professional identity and research represents many years of experience which include: founding teacher for one of the Coalition of Essential Schools in Bronx, New York; on-site school consultant and summer institute leader for the New York City Writing Project; curriculum consultant and designer for the African Diaspora Research Institute and Caribbean Cultural Center in New York; composition instructor in the English Department and SEEK program of Medgar Evers College; instructional coordinator for the Center for Black Literature (CBL); facilitator for CBL’s Literature-to-Life and arts programs for Brooklyn high schools; instructional coordinator for pre-college workshops and dual enrollment courses at Medgar Evers College aimed at area Brooklyn high school students; curriculum designer and staff developer for a Community Learning Center Grant in Harlem, New York; seminar leader for “Looking Both Ways” (a joint literacy initiative between CUNY composition faculty and NYC Department of Education English teachers); and more. Each of these experiences has situated my work in literacy education in very different ways and continues to shape my ongoing understandings of the multiple sites of intervention where such work must occur.
I am currently an associate professor of English at John Jay College of Criminal Justice at the City University of New York (CUNY). I have worked at a variety of institutions now, but always with a particular commitment to those places and programs that enroll large numbers of first-generation, working class students of color. In my previous positions, I have worked as the director of a first year writing program and English professor at St. John’s University. Before that, I worked in the Department of Urban Education at Rutgers-Newark University. I began my work as a college professor in the Department of English at Medgar Evers College of the City University of New York, the setting that taught me everything I know and can do today.
Each semester, each space, and each institution present both struggles and opportunities to create a space for literacy work that questions and enriches my social environment rather than reify dominant relationships between institutions of power and racially-economically subordinated groups. Thus, my teaching, in both content and form, for both processes and products, engages an approach nested with New Literacies Studies (Street; Barton, Hamilton, and Ivanic; Gee). This means that I approach literacy as: the space for what people do, rather than what they have or do not have; a set of socio-cultural practices, rather than a set of neutral skills to be acquired according to already given political and social hierarchies; a deep engagement with political processes (we either construct ourselves as objects or we act as subjects who can change what lies before us); and an issue of context---personal, cultural, geographic, and historical.
My work today sits at the crossroads of composition-rhetoric studies, new literacies studies, and urban education. I am most interested in interrogating race and the politics of writing instruction in secondary and post-secondary settings and institutions, looking closely at the ways racialized political economies get expressed as literacy praxis. I strive to bring to my research, teaching, and service a commitment to educational change where the humanities, writing studies, and critical pedagogy (in theory and in practice) work in conjunction.
I strive for my my research and scholarship to work in tandem with my ideals, beliefs, and passions, not merely as an evil add-on required by university procedures. I have published in Harvard Educational Review, Changing English, College Composition and Communication, College English, Computers and Composition, Changing English, Reading Research Quarterly and more. My first book, Vernacular Insurrections: Race, Black Protest, and the New Century in Composition-Literacy Studies (SUNY Press, 2013) makes Black Freedom a 21st century literacy movement. Meanwhile, I trace and challenge my ideas and ideals about research and teaching at my website, “Education, Liberation, and the Black Radical Tradition” (http://carmenkynard.org).
If the conversation is truly about multiple literacies, political access/action, justice for racially subordinated communities, and critical pedagogy, I am all in!
|Introduction to One of My Writing Classes|