Integrated Writing Statement
Integrated Writing Statement
The African American Studies Major, Minor, and courses emphasize writing and literacy skills as part of students’ personal development as ethical human beings and as part of a process of decolonization. Writing and Literacy skills also challenge existing knowledge systems that do not account for multiple literacies and writing practices as a result of strategically ignoring preexisting histories and cultures, in additions to categories of difference. African American Studies’ approach to writing thus enables students to gain skills that will enrich their intellectual and professional lives, as well as their lives as engaged citizens seeking to form a just and equitable society.
In the lower-level course, students will learn and comprehend the historic truths of literacy and writing for Black people in Africa and the Americas. They will produce writing that demonstrates an understanding about the roles of orality, fugitivity, and resistance in the literacy practices of Black people and the roles of orality, literacies, and writing in the process and practice of freedom, fugitivity, and resistance for Black people across the Globe.
In this sense, students in these classes complete assignments that introduce them, without hierarchical ranking or judgment, to the critical and creative crafts of writing and research and its importance to African American survival, intellectual evolution, and future possibilities. They should be able to demonstrate how ethno-linguistic identity, literacies, and multi-lingualism function in all creative (non-fiction, fiction, poetry, drama, cinema, sound, and music), critical forms of writing (new and journalism reporting, research articles, essays, and reports book reviews, policymaking and government documents), and digital forms (code, algorithms, vlogs/blogs, websites, apps, games) by assessing specific knowledge about aesthetic, form, modes of argument, and voice. They should be able to emulate the techniques of forms relevant to their own interests or concerns, as well as blend and blur the boundaries between the creative, critical, and digital when necessary.
Using traditional models of writing such as compare and contrast, persuasive or advocacy writing, summary, and critical reflection, students will be able to 1) write about difference in ways that are critical of “diversity” as an umbrella term 2) illuminate discursive practices that erase whiteness as a racial category 3) demonstrate the ability to combine arguments from multiple disciplines to address topics/themes about African, African American, and/or diverse African diaspora peoples 4) develop a professional and personal commitment to improving writing by accepting the labor of revising and workshopping papers for different audiences and purposes.
With creative forms, students should be able to use aesthetics and techniques from specific forms or genre to imaginatively explore ways to 1) re-conceptualize how to represent race and other differences 2) provide an informed perspective on how ethno-linguistic identity and literacies acknowledge issues of power and racial identity, without becoming subsumed by dominant modes of literacy and writings 3) conceptualize non-hierarchical approaches to difference and foster greater appreciation for difference 4) challenge the dominant conditions under which any writing is produced, distributed, and consumed.
With digital forms, students should be able to write about the ways in which technology has impacted the literacy and intellectual output of Black people across the globe 2) assess and evaluate the continued role of race and other differences in the creation, production, and consumption of digital forms 3) develop technology that challenges white supremacy.
In the upper-level courses, students should be able to do all of the above in assignments that reflect independent and intensive research and thinking on the discourse of race, nation, and difference. This could be a thesis course, capstone course, or design thinking/maker-culture course.
In any of these courses, students should be able to write and research in a manner that intervenes on cultural appropriation and cultural imperialism, as well as contribute to the process of decolonization for Black communities and individuals throughout the globe. They should be able to produce new knowledge about a topic or issue and write about it in ways that demonstrate an evaluation of the field, their topic, and their intervention: With writing assignments from upper-level classes, students should be able to demonstrate skills such as:
Write a research proposal that provides a nuanced understanding of race and difference in any of the above forms of writing.
To produce a multidisciplinary literature review in any of the above forms of writing.
To interpret and analyze arguments about race and difference in policy, discipline, or culture that seems to not explicitly be about race.
To replicate and be critical of citational practices and research methods, as well as their function in development of intellectual property, in any of the above forms of writing.
To locate and analyze primary sources.
The ability to seamlessly integrate secondary sources into own arguments, summaries, or critical reviews in any of the above forms of writing.
Critique existing institutional archives and create new archives.