Before joining TCU in 2019, I worked in English, Gender Studies, Urban Education, and Critical Psychology at the City University of New York. I have taught high school with the New York City public schools/Coalition of Essential Schools, served as a writing program administrator, worked as a teacher educator, and led numerous professional development projects on language, literacy, and learning. My award-wining research, teaching, and scholarship interrogate interrogate race, Black feminisms, AfroDigital/African American cultures and languages, and the politics of schooling with an emphasis on composition and literacies studies.
Each semester, each setting, and each institution present both struggles and opportunities to create a space for literacy work that questions and enriches my social environment rather than reify dominant relationships between institutions of power and racially subordinated groups. My teaching, in both content and form, for both processes and products, engages an approach nested with new literacies, critical pedagogies, Black Feminisms, and Black radical traditions. This means that I approach literacy as: the space for what people do, rather than what they have or do not have; a set of socio-cultural practices, rather than a set of neutral skills to be acquired according to already given political, economic and social hierarchies; a deep engagement with political processes (we either construct ourselves as objects or we act as subjects who can change what lies before us); and an issue of context---personal, cultural, geographic, and historical.
I have published in Harvard Educational Review, Changing English, College Composition and Communication,College English, Computers and Composition, Reading Research Quarterly and more. My first book, Vernacular Insurrections: Race, Black Protest, and the New Century in Composition-Literacy Studies (SUNY Press, 2013) makes Black Freedom a 21st century literacy movement. I trace and challenge my ideas and ideals about research and teaching at my website, “Education, Liberation, and Black Radical Traditions” (carmenkynard.org) which has garnered over 2 million hits since its 2012 inception.
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Other Places Where You Can Find Me . . .
and about the art . . .
"Womanist is to feminist as purple is to lavender."
I memorized this expression when I was an undergraduate, first-year college student in 1989. These words come from Alice Walker's 1983 first collection of non-fiction where she first coined the term womanist in In Search of Our Mother's Gardens: Womanist Prose. I read the book and was mesmerized because it was really one of those first moments when I learned about Black women's presence in ways that went deeper than the special Black History announcements and commercials in February.
I remember and re-travel that moment in my college years most clearly by looking at the black and white sketch that I did at the time (the first image in the slideshow above). I intended to turn the original sketch into a purple mono-chromatic schema by layering many, many pieces of torn, lavender tissue paper until I achieved the color purple. I even planned to create a large stained-glass window (I was young and didn't even have a window so where I got this idea is beyond me). Needless to say, the stained glass window never happened but I carried that original sketch around with me for years, 20 years to be exact, until the moment when I began designing digital spaces for my college classes.
This set of images lives out a memory of the moment when I could first see, feel, and know that Black women needed to be central to any story/intellectual tradition/theory of the world. Today, I am simply calling this collage, The Story of Purple (see its unfolding in the video at the top of this section). This 20-year-old sketch got me here. All of the images, graf-styled graphics, collages, and videos on these webspaces are my originals, unless otherwise noted. They are an anchor into my teaching. Click here to retrieve these images from flickr.