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ERIC Number: EJ817087
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 18
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 184
ISSN: ISSN-0034-0553
"The Blues Playingest Dog You Ever Heard Of": (Re)positioning Literacy through African American Blues Rhetoric
Kynard, Carmen
Reading Research Quarterly, v43 n4 p356-373 Oct-Dec 2008
Building on scholarship in African American rhetorics and African American language, an analysis of Walter Dean Myers's (2000) "The Blues of Flats Brown" is presented as a methodology for (re)imagining educational issues and research related to voice, agency, reading, and literacy in the face of racial oppression and subjugation. In the analysis, blues music is viewed as an articulation of the reciprocal relationship between the political, economic, historical, and social struggles of African American masses and a unique cultural expression. The analysis also foregrounds the constructs of crossroads theory (Meacham, 2000, 2001a, 2001b) and code meshing (Canagarajah, 2006) as heuristics for understanding how literacy and language function in multiracial contexts for people who confront discrimination and subjugation. Several discourse strategies are highlighted in the analysis of the text: the use of the Great Migration and fugitive slave narratives, the use of linguistic markings to represent 20th-century white supremacy and the maintenance of southern and northern Jim Crow policies, the use of the South as a literary symbol of black home/motherland, the use of the blues and spirituals as a lyrical blueprint for narrative writing, and the use of the psychic and historical politics of the trickster as central to textual organization and characterization. The analysis of "The Blues of Flats Brown" is used to argue for an approach to reading in classrooms that centers students' cultural rhetorics. (Contains 6 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A