Early college classrooms provide essential opportunities for students to grapple and contend with the racial geographies that shape their lives. Based on a mixed methods study of students’ writing in a first-year-writing course themed around racial identities and language varieties at St. John’s University, Mapping Racial Literacies shows college student writing that directly confronts lived experiences of segregation—and, overwhelmingly, of resegregation.
This textual ethnography embeds early college students’ writing in deep historical and theoretical contexts and looks for new ways that their writing contributes to and reshapes contemporary understandings of how US and global citizens are thinking about race. The book is a teaching narrative, tracing a teaching journey that considers student writing not only in the moments it is assigned but also in continual revisions of the course, making it a useful tool in helping college-age students see, explore, and articulate the role of race in determining their life experiences and opportunities.
Sophie Bell’s work narrates the experiences of a white teacher making mistakes in teaching about race and moving forward through those mistakes, considering that process valuable and, in fact, necessary. Providing a model for future scholars on how to carve out a pedagogically responsive identity as a teacher, Mapping Racial Literacies contributes to the scholarship on race and writing pedagogy and encourages teachers of early college classes to bring these issues front and center on the page, in the classroom, and on campus.