Shaughnessy Speaker Series
May 4, 2012
David E. Kirkland
Department of Writing, Rhetoric and American Cultures
Michigan State University
The Passions of Change: Critical Thoughts on Linguistic Justice and Transformative Education explores language through the particular voices of urban youth and the critical "meshings" that represent their worldviews. He highlights a set of linguistic third spaces created between classrooms and within youth culture (Kirkland, 2010) that tilt toward fuller linguistic justice. He suggests that language in youth culture complicates the political and pedagogical perspectives of language in schools (e.g., a standard English, English Only, and English as an Official Language) and concludes that the most significant effect of language in youth culture is not pluralist chaos in otherwise stable and static systems of language, but new Englishes that absorb and represent a radical revision in the concept of English itself of which new century teachers should be aware.
David E. Kirkland is a transdisciplinary scholar of language, literacy, and urban education, who explores the intersections among urban youth culture, gender, and language and literacy practices. His work has also explored urban teacher preparation, digital media, and cultural aesthetics of revolutionary justice. He has spent the past five years analyzing culture, language, and texts of urban American youth, and has expertise in critical literary and linguistic and ethnographic research methods. He has received many awards for his work including NAEd/Spencer Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship Award, Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship Award, NCTE Cultivating New Voices Fellowship Award, 2006 AERA Division G Dissertation Award, among many others. He has published widely. His most recent articles include: "'Books Like Clothes': Engaging Young Black Men with Reading" (Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy), "Listening to Echoes: Teaching Young Black Men Literacy, and the Distraction of ELA Standards" (Language Arts), "'Black Skin, White Masks': Normalizing Whiteness and the Trouble with the Achievement Gap" (TCRecord), "English(es) in urban contexts: Politics, Pluralism, and Possibilities" (English Education), and “We real cool: Examining Black males and literacy” (Reading Research Quarterly). He recently completed his fourth book, A Search Past Silence: A Counter Narrative of Black Males and Literacy, which is part of Teacher College Press‘s Language and Literacy Series. Dr. Kirkland believes that, in their language and literacies, youth take on new meanings beginning with a voice and verb, where words when spoken or written have the power to transform the world inside-out.