Decolonizing by Design: Black Feminist Scholarship, Critical Applied Linguistics, and a Pedagogy of Multiliteracies in Beginning and Intermediate German-Language Instruction
Bryant, Andrea Dawn
Cunningham, Darren J
Spurred by interests as divergent as national security, increased language proficiency, an elite education, and the futurity of a profession, documented diversity discourses have been a recognized and salient aspect of conversations about German-language teaching in the United States since the late sixties. Yet curricula and contexts still exhibit exclusion and whiteness bias. This dissertation responds to these inequities by investigating the reciprocal nature between discourses of diversity and anti-Black racism(s) in a specific disciplinary context, namely German-language teaching and German Studies in the United States, through a transdisciplinary lens of critical applied linguistics, language pedagogy, and Black feminist thought. Combining the four knowledge processes of Cope and Kalantzis’s (2015) learning by design with Nenno’s (2019) conceptualization of intracultural incompetence, this dissertation aims to query whiteness bias as it manifests in German-language contexts. In the first knowledge process, experiencing, a corpus-based, diachronic discourse analytic study of how the word ‘diversity’ functions for German-language instructors between 1968 and 2019 is conducted at the large-scale, sub-scale, and individual text levels. In the second knowledge process, conceptualizing, texts featuring May Ayim and Stefanie-Lahya Aukongo are closely read through a collective lens that critically examines discourses of exclusion against concepts like “Others-from-Without” (Wright, 2003), quotidian intellectualism (Florvil, 2020), quietude (Campt, 2017), and silence as an act of speech (Watkins, 2019). The third knowledge process, analyzing, names and theorizes how the ideational, interpersonal, and textual metafunctions of my chosen primary texts enhance critical aspects of belonging and nationality regarding the role intracultural incompetence has as a linguistic phenomenon. Multiliteracies approaches merge with querying, critical race, and intersectional frameworks in the last main chapter, applying, to begin transforming mainstream curricula. In this final stage, I attempt to apply insights gained from the study by didacticizing a series of materials for beginning and intermediate German-language instruction. It is my intention to contribute to awareness concerning the perils educational discourses of diversity pose to German-language teaching environments in the United States.
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