Vernacularities: Agency and the Literacies of Difference
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
Prof. Valorie Thomas
Associate Professor, English Department