October 22, 2016
Macomb Community College, Warren, MI
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2016 KEYNOTE SPEAKER: DR. GENEVA SMITHERMAN
DR. GENEVA SMITHERMAN is University Distinguished Professor Emerita, Department of English, Co-Founder, Core Faculty and former Acting Director, African American and African Studies, and Core Faculty, African Studies Center, at Michigan State University (MSU), in East Lansing, Michigan. She began her life-long commitment to the education and development of Black youth while still a teenager, serving as a high school teacher of English and Latin in the Detroit Public Schools (DPS). Early on, in her work in the academic vineyards of Black Studies, students dubbed her "Dr. G," in recognition of her academic accomplishments-"Dr."-and in celebration of her having remained their girl-"G." She proudly answers to and is nationally and internationally known as both "Dr. G" and "Dr. Smitherman."
Dr. Smitherman is author and editor/co-editor of 15 books and monographs and over 125 articles, essays, and published opinion pieces. In 2006, she published Word from the Mother: Language and African Americans. Her latest work, Articulate While Black: Barack Obama, Language and Race in the U.S., was co-authored with Dr. H. Samy Alim, Professor at Stanford University, whom she mentored as an undergraduate and graduate student dating back to 1997.
Dr. G has had an immeasurable influence on the policies and practices in education and language rights for over 40 years. From her work as an advocate and expert witness during King vs. Ann Arbor--the federal court case that effectively established that it is not Black children's language, but teacher attitudes and improper classification of Black children as learning disabled, that constitute the barrier to educational opportunity for Black children and youth-- to her involvement in protecting language rights for citizens in post-Apartheid South Africa-- Smitherman and her work can be found wherever linguistic injustice is found, preaching and testifying to the validity of so-called non-standard dialects and the ethical responsibilities all users of language have to recognize and advocate for the rights of all members of our communities to speak and be heard.
Click here to read more about Dr. Smitherman’s profound influence on language rights, laws, and policies from Boston to Detroit to Cape Town.
The MiWCA Ideas Exchange conference is held every fall semester at a different institution. It is a day-long event featuring concurrent sessions on various writing center-related topics of interest. The MiWCA strives to keep registration fees minimal and to maintain a tutor focus in which tutors vastly outnumber directors and administrators in attendance and as presenters.
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