You are already part of the history of Stanford. Inspired by the University of Michigan’s #BBUM (Being Black at U of M) hashtag, this course invites you to research yourself and our shared institutional home at Stanford in the context of literacy studies, the study of how people read, write, and compose every day. In this course, we will use two central methods—autoethnography, which studies ourselves as participants in cultures; and institutional research, into the archives of Stanford—to theorize ourselves as part of Stanford’s past, present, and future. In this course, students will investigate and analyze culture, history, and language, with ourselves at the center of our research. Together, we will study existing research on language, culture, and education in which the identity and experiences of the researcher are central to the arguments they make. We will use autoethnographic writing prompts to better understand our own identities and experiences as college students. We will visit Stanford’s institutional archives to investigate the histories of specific institutions, events, or practices at Stanford. Ultimately, students will produce a major final project of 20-25 pages, 6-10 minutes, or equivalent that that integrates their autoethnographic findings (about you) with their institutional findings (about Stanford). Students might investigate:
Areas of specialization: humanities, social sciences, creative writing
Genre expertise: personal statements, grant proposals, dissertations
Enjoys coaching organizing and developing arguments
Dr. Tessa Brown, a Lecturer in the Program in Writing and Rhetoric, is a writer, researcher, and educator. Her doctoral dissertation, “SCHOOLED: Hiphop Composition at the Predominantly White University,” considered the contradictions of hiphop culture, writing education, and the fight for language rights in predominantly or historically white institutional contexts. Dr. Brown also researches social media and whiteness and femininity, and uses memoristic and autoethnographic methods in her work.
Tessa’s essays, reviews, and fiction have appeared in Harper’s, Hyperallergic, The Forward, The New Haven Review, The American Reader, and rhetoric journal Kairos. Her peer-reviewed research is forthcoming in Peitho. Her novella Sorry for Partying was honored by the Paris Literary Prize in 2014. She has written a blog, Hiphopocracy, since 2011, and lives in San Francisco.