Black Matters: A Teach-In on Language, Literature, Rhetoric, Writing, and Verbal Art
June 26, 2020
The Virginia Tech Department of English will host “Black Matters: A Teach-In on Language, Literature, Rhetoric, Writing, and Verbal Art” on Tuesday, June 30, from 6 to 7:15 p.m.
This Zoom webinar aims to demonstrate the interdisciplinary ways that the discipline of English and the subfields contained within the department — creative writing, literature, linguistics, and rhetoric and writing — interpret and engage with the historic and contemporary issues of “Black matters.” The teach-in organizers define “Black matters” as issues regarding identity, language, personhood, citizenship, art, communication, and other dimensions of Black life in and outside the classroom.
The department especially welcomes students, community members, educators, and Virginia Tech alumni in Blacksburg and beyond. This event is free and open to the public, but registration is required. If you find the Zoom webinar room is at capacity when you log in, you can also watch a livestreaming of the event in the frame below or directly on YouTube.
Featured presenters include:
- Nikki Giovanni, University Distinguished Professor of English, Virginia Tech
World-renowned poet, educator, and activist Nikki Giovanni is a University Distinguished Professor in the Department of English at Virginia Tech. Giovanni, recipient of the inaugural Rosa L. Parks Woman of Courage Award, the American Book Award, and the Langston Hughes Award, has long used her literary gifts to raise awareness of social issues, particularly those of gender and race.
- Katie Carmichael, Associate Professor of English, Virginia Tech
Katie Carmichael teaches classes in sociolinguistics and language and ethnicity. Her research examines language variation in post-Katrina New Orleans.
- Sheila Carter-Tod, Associate Professor of English, Virginia Tech
Sheila Carter-Tod teaches classes in African American and cultural rhetorics and served as director of teacher professional development and curricular alignment in the College Access Collaborative. She has also chaired the Racism and Bias Committee of the National Council of Teachers of English, and she has held leadership roles in the executive committees of the Conference on College Composition and Communication and the Council of Writing Program Administrators.
- Silas Moon Cassinelli, Assistant Professor of English, Virginia Tech
Silas Moon Cassinelli teaches classes in Asian American studies, Ethnic American literatures, and gender and women’s studies. His research focuses on the Korean diaspora, transnational adoption studies, and queer kinship.
- Gena Chandler-Smith, Associate Professor of English, Virginia Tech
Gena Chandler-Smith teaches classes in African American literature, postcolonial literature, and theory and directs the Master’s Program in English. Her research focuses on expansions and innovations in African American literature and narrative.
- Alexa Garvoille, Third-Year MFA Student in Poetry, Virginia Tech
Before coming to Blacksburg, Alexa Garvoille worked for nine years in public schools where she taught ninth-grade English and directed the creative writing program at the Durham School of the Arts. Her research interests include brain-based approaches to revision, inclusive models of workshop, and anti-racist education.
- Jennifer Sano-Franchini, Associate Professor of English, Virginia Tech
Jennifer Sano-Franchini is the director of the Professional and Technical Writing Program and a Faculty Fellow for the Asian Cultural Engagement Center. Her research and teaching interests are in the cultural politics of design, cultural and digital rhetorics, Asian American rhetoric, and the rhetorical work of institutions.
- L. Lamar Wilson, Assistant Professor of Creative Writing, Wake Forest University, and Virginia Tech Alumnus (MFA, English ’10)
L. Lamar Wilson’s documentary poetics have been featured in various poetry collections. His most recent work, The Changing Same, a documentary collaboration with Rada Film Group, debuted in PBS’s POV Shorts series. Dr. Wilson’s research interests include formal and experimental poetics, the ethics of race consciousness, and African American beauty aesthetics in literature, visual arts, and film.
Panelists offer suggestions for further exploration in this downloadable PDF.
A series of virtual teach-ins offer historical lenses on the Black Lives Matter movement and inspiration for moving forward.