This week’s guest bloggers are Lucrécia Raquel Fuhrmann and Ana Beatriz Ruiz de Melo. Lucrécia is a Ph.D. candidate in Education in Canada. She holds a Master’s degree in education from the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, and a Bachelor of Arts/Letras from the Universidade Luterana do Brasil. She has taught at elementary and high schools, and specialization courses in Brazil. In Canada, Lucrécia has been teaching English as an Additional Language at two elementary schools, which gathers all her studies interests and subjects: language and literacy, education management, and international relations and diplomacy. Ana is a student of English Languages and Literature at the Universidade Estadual de Londrina (UEL) since 2020. Ana holds a scholarship with the project “Ideological and Academic Literacies Juxtaposed”, for which she received Honorable Mention for Scientific Merit for her presentation of this work at the 2021’s Annual Meeting of Scientific Initiation of UEL. Since October 2022, Ana is an Undergraduate Visiting Researcher Student at the University of Regina, under the supervision of Professor Andrea Sterzuk.
“Há um lugar místico em mim / Algo assim bem escondido / Um planeta inexplorado, um horizonte perdido […] / Explorador [a] sem experiência / Marinheiro [a] de primeira viagem / Embarquei de peito aberto / Levando só a coragem”.
These verses are from a song by a Brazilian rock band called Egotrip, entitled “Viagem ao fundo do ego,” which means something similar to “trip to the bottom of the ego” in English. They say there is a hidden spot within oneself, like an unexplored planet, a lost horizon. They talk about the self as an inexperienced explorer who goes on that ego trip, bringing nothing but courage.
“…while always travelling seriously, he was always travelling light.” (Williams, 1971, p. 88)
The serious traveller who always travelled light was George Orwell; writing in 1971, socialist critic Raymond Williams unravels Orwell’s multifaceted history and reveals aspects of his life and work I had not known about, in under 100 informative pages. I took the book along with me to India in mid-December 2022 primarily because it was so tiny. I also was attempting to travel light. I hope I may say, to travel seriously as well.
A village in rural West Bengal, India, where as early as February the temperature goes up to 35 degrees Celsius or so every day, with no prospect of rain until April or May, is about as far from a Montreal winter as one can imagine. It’s where I have just spent four weeks working with several gifted and enthusiastic young women who teach at supplemental schools run by a local NGO, the Institute of Social Work (ISW). Like many NGOs across India and in the developing world, ISW works in the local language (here, Bengali) and draws mostly on local resources. My cousin Nupur Sarkar has been part of ISW since its inception in 1978; I am much indebted to her for having made it possible for me to spend time at ISW’s Birbhum-district schools. After a previous visit in 2019, I wrote about the experience here on the BILD blog, and have dreamed ever since then of coming back and staying awhile.
This week’s guest blogger is Ashley R. Moore, Assistant Professor in the Department of Language and Literacy Education at Boston University, Wheelock College of Education and Human Development. His work on queer/trans-affirming language education has been published in TESOL Quarterly, The Modern Language Journal, ELT Journal, and the Journal of Language, Identity & Education. He thanks Jennifer Altavilla-Giordano, Kaye Hare, Julia Spiegelman, and the students of his Critical Applied Linguistics class for feedback and ideas that improved this blog post.
Despite growing up in England, I’m not a fan of football. But as an activist researcher and teacher educator who is passionate about making language education more inclusive and affirming for queer and trans learners, the recent FIFA World Cup in Qatar got my attention. That’s because, as the event drew closer, the global conversation turned to LGBTQ+ rights. The crux of the issue? Despite FIFA’s assurances that the World Cup in Qatar would be “a celebration of unity and diversity,” Qatar remains one of the most hostile countries on the planet towards LGBTQ+ people.
This week’s guest blogger is Ayana Jamieson, PhD. Dr. Jamieson is an assistant professor of Ethnic Studies at Cal Poly Pomona, a mythologist, and depth psychologist. She is the founder of the Octavia E. Butler Legacy Network, a global community founded in 2011, committed to highlighting Octavia Butler’s life and work while creating new works inspired by Butler’s legacy. Dr. Jamieson’s, “Far Beyond the Stars” appears in the Black Futures anthology. She has also published in The Feminist Wire, 51 Feminist Thinkers, Uneven Futures: Strategies for Community Survival from Speculative Fiction, Public Books, elsewhere and was a featured speaker at the New York Times “A New Climate” on climate change. Follow her @ayanajamieson @oeblegacy on FB and IG or @oeblegacy on Twitter & Tumblr.
A book can start an entire journey. In my case, the books of the late pioneering Black woman speculative fiction writer, Octavia E. Butler changed the trajectory of my entire life. My origin story related to her work has been shared many times, but I want to talk about what it means to be “raising Olamina” after a character in a book the same age as my non-fictional children. In fact, I used my child’s remote schooling desk to record this interview with NPR’s Throughline Podcast, “Octavia Butler: Visionary Fiction” in 2021. Her work explores different ways of being human with diverse and expertly rendered characters.