Chapter 4, “Lift Every Voice”: Making Space for Black Language Practices in Academic Environments

This chapter:

  • Explores the use of African-American English in spoken, written, and online spaces relevant to higher education and examines how African-American English is perceived in academic contexts
  • Explores how students can advocate for their own language as they learn to navigate academic expectations across genres, including the role of spoken communication as well as the importance of embodied communication, with an emphasis on rhetoric and embodied verbal performance
  • Delves into how students report using language to describe themselves online and offline, in ways that relate to their self-presentation and self-concept

Key Themes

  • The power of autobiography: Your story matters
  • The power of reflection: Consider your own trajectory, past and present
  • The power of the cohort: The importance of building networks and pursuing diversity and inclusion research as necessary and critically relevant across subject areas and academic disciplines
  • The power of change: Why are current models followed, who do they benefit, and what should be changed?
  • Self-esteem, identity negotiation, self-care, and safe spaces: Navigating the personal and interpersonal tensions that can arise when ideologies about linguistic performance and identity come into conflict as well as the personal, social, and educational issues that can arise when aiming to balance and perform different linguistic identities. The power of the cohort and the importance of safe spaces.

Chapter Links

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