This episode features guest interviewer Derek G. Handley speaking with Dr. April Baker-Bell. They discuss Dr. Baker-Bell's book Linguistic Justice: Black Language, Literacy, Identity, and Pedagogy as well as her work on such projects as the Black Language Syllabus and "This Ain't Another Statement! This is a DEMAND for Black Linguistic Justice!"
Dr. April Baker-Bell is a transdisciplinary teacher-researcher-activist and Associate Professor of Language, Literacy, and English Education in the Department of English and Department of African American and African Studies at Michigan State University. A national leader in conversations on Black Language education, her research interrogates the intersections of Black language and literacies, anti-Black racism, and antiracist pedagogies, and is concerned with antiracist writing, critical media literacies, Black feminist-womanist storytelling, and self-preservation for Black women in academia, with an emphasis on early career Black women.
Baker-Bell’s award-winning book, Linguistic Justice: Black Language, Literacy, Identity, and Pedagogy, brings together theory, research, and practice to dismantle Anti-Black Linguistic Racism (a term Baker-Bell coined) and white linguistic supremacy. The book provides ethnographic snapshots of how Black students navigate and negotiate their linguistic and racial identities across multiple contexts, and it captures what Antiracist Black Language Pedagogy looks like in community with Black youth. Linguistic Justice features a range of multimodal examples and practices through instructional maps, charts, artwork, and stories that reflect the urgent need for antiracist language pedagogies in our current social and political climate.
Baker-Bell is the recipient of many awards and fellowships, including the 2021 Andrew W. Mellon Foundation's New Directions Fellowship, the 2021 Michigan State University's Community Engagement Scholarship Award and the 2021 Distinguished Partnership Award for Community-Engaged Creative Activity, the 2020 NCTE George Orwell Award for Distinguished Contribution to Honesty and Clarity in Public Language, the 2019 Michigan State University Alumni Award for Innovation & Leadership in Teaching and Learning, and the 2018 AERA Language and Social Processes Early Career Scholar Award.
Dr. Derek G. Handley is an assistant professor in the English Department at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where he is also affiliate faculty in the Department of African and African Diaspora Studies. He’s currently working on a book project that explores the rhetorical and civic actions taken by African Americans in Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, and St. Paul, Minnesota, during the 1950s and ‘60s as they attempted to protect their communities from urban renewal. He is also collaborating on a digital public humanities project with his UW-Milwaukee colleague Anne Bonds entitled “Mapping Racism and Resistance in Milwaukee County.” That project uses GIS mapping and rhetorical analysis of racial housing covenants and African American resistance to them in Milwaukee County.
This episode contains a clip from Podington Bear's "Detroit."