A Path to Literacy: Mapping the Literacy Practices of Young Black Men
David E. Kirkland

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship

Award Year



New York University

Primary Discipline

Literacy and/or English/Language Education
The proposed study seeks to map the literacy practices of young Black men by analyzing original and published data from eleven well-respected interpretive studies and two recent national surveys on Black males and literacy. Using critical discourse and traditional interpretive approaches, I seek to examine the ideologies of Black male language and literacy performance in order to generate a picture of how literacy looks in the lives of Black males both within and outside school borders. In doing so, I will examine data with regards to post-feminist conceptions of complex masculinities, postmodern and pluralistic formulations of Blackness, critical geographic notions of space and human expression, and Foucauldian understandings of language and literacy artifacts as indigenous to particular moments in history. Given these foci, the study aims to update current perspectives on literacy at various developmental points as depicted in the lives of contemporary young Black men and provide helpful insights for future research, teaching, and assessments around the topics of language, literacy, and Black male development.
About David E. Kirkland

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