Journal of English Teaching through Movies and Media 2016;17(2):179-209.
Published online May 31, 2016.
What Happened After 9/11: Teaching Rhetoric, Race, and Gender Through Popular Culture Narratives
Jeanine M. Staples
The terrorist attacks of 9/11 ushered in a particular set of social, cultural, political and ideological shifts and inquiries in the United States of America and in multiple global contexts (Chomsky, 2003; Fine, 2003). New literacies theorists tell us that multi modal actions and literate engagements are responsive to such shifts and must be examined closely in relationship to them (Barton & Hamilton, 2000; Heath, 1982; Staples, 2010; Street, 1993). This article discusses the ways a group of African American women collaborated and developed a type of criticality to understand the socio-cultural transitions they perceived as Black people via popular culture narratives. Methods for inquiry included talk and writing. Systematic reviews of data using critical Black feminist frames, endarkened feminist epistemologies, and critical literacy theory yielded categories, codes, and themes. The participants evocation of fragmented selves, as iterative, representative voices conducting literate imaginings is highlighted in particular. Finally, the article notes implications for qualitative methods, in addition to the conceptualization of new literacy studies, Black feminist epistemologies, and Black social consciousness. This work bears implications for teaching English through media by showing ways native English speakers employed new literacies to make sense of Discourses of race and gender through engagements with popular culture narratives.
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