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In this article, I consider the literacy practices that emerged in an in-school elective course centered in the literacy tradition of African American women. Drawing from spatial perspectives (Leander& Sheehy, 2004), I explore what it means to consider this course an “Other space” (Foucault,1986), as a space created without the constraints of a mandated curriculum or standardized test pressures and as a space informed by an understanding of the connections among literacies,lived experiences, and identities. Through the presentation and analysis of five vignettes, I consider how the students shaped the course to their own ends and pursued agentive literacy work resonant with the epistemologies in the literacy tradition of African American women. While I situate these contributions and literacy practices within Black feminist and post positivist realist theories of identities, I contend their full measure cannot be understood without a look at the physical aspects of the space, the travel of texts into and out of it, and its relational and affective dimensions. I conclude with considerations for pursuing literacy pedagogies attentive to social identities and for creating “Other spaces” within a time of standardization and testing.


Publisher Acknowledgment:

This is the Publisher’s PDF of the following article made available by National Council of Teachers of English © 2011: Wissman, K. K. (2011). “Rise up!”: Literacies, lived experiences, and social identities in an in-school “Other space.” Research in the Teaching of English, 45(4), 405-438.



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