Vernacularities: Agency and the Literacies of Difference

By:
Prof. Valorie Thomas
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This workshop interrogates the authority and implications of normative languages such as Standard English by privileging vernacular and popular forms including slang, creoles, cyberlanguage, and other idioms that mark sites of social, cultural and political 'difference'in writing. The group will do a meditative exercise, then write and read, and finally discuss the consequences of resisting 'mastery' and the possibility of democratizing the written word. Participants will also consider the emotional, aesthetic, and potential political consequences of deliberately breaking the rules of standardized expression. While we will workshop by writing in very loosely defined modes of memoir, discussion may extend to other forms of writing and the politics of linguistically defined cultural space, such as essays and pedagogical practices in the classroom.


Keywords: Vernacular, Writing, Literacy, Democratzing, Memoir, Pedagogy
Stream: Literacy
Presentation Type: Workshop Presentation in English
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Prof. Valorie Thomas

Associate Professor, English Department
Black Studies
Gender and Women's Studies, Pomona College

Claremont, California, USA

Specialist in African Diaspora Film. Research interests include Black feminisms, 18th-20th century African American literature, critical pedagogy. Writing interests include screenwriting, fiction, and poetry. Book manuscript, "Black at the Crossroads: Vertigo and Transformative Space in African Diaspora Film," is currently under submission. I am also Coordinator of the Gender and Women's Studies Program and jointly appointed in English and Black Studies. MFA from UCLA Department of Film and Television in Screenwriting, BA,MA,and PhD in English from UC Berkeley. Teaching interests include literature of incarceration, constructions of mixed race identity, Native American culture and contemporary literature, race and the construction of social space.

Ref: B07P0104