In Conversations on Queer/Trans- Affirming Language Education, We Must Resist Cultural and Religious Essentialism (by Dr. Ashley R. Moore)

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 QuarterlyThe Modern Language JournalELT 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

Inside the Education City Stadium at the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar for the Korea vs Uruguay game on November 24, 2022. (Photo by Korean Culture and Information Service, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.)
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Raising Olamina: Emergent Parenting in the Time of the Parables (by Dr. Ayana Jamieson)

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. 

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Seeing in colour (by Kahawíhson Horne)

This week’s guest blogger is Kahawíhson Horne. She is Kanien’kehá:ka from Kahnawà:ke who is currently enrolled in the Ratihwennahní:rat’s Adult Immersion Program. She is a recent graduate of Concordia University with a BA in First People’s Studies as well as a background in media, food sovereignty, and language revitalization. She is an avid gardener who enjoys sushi and a good bottle of wine.

Speaking Kanien’kéha is like watching television in colour,” is an oft repeated anecdote passed down from my grandmother by way of an unknown elder. “English,” she continued “is television in black and white.”

Iroquois cradle board
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Reflections on invoking Sankofa in African language policy and planning (by Aisha Barise)

My journey on researching African languages began with my Master’s thesis work (Barise, 2021) on Somali linguistics––an East African Cushitic language. Currently in my PhD, as I revisit the contentious and age-old question of the language and the nation in Africa, I find myself being inspired by East African writers like Ngũgĩ wa Thiongʼo (1986) and seeking refuge in East African languages such as Kiswahili, Somali, and Amharic beyond research work. As a Somali speaker, who cannot speak Kiswahili or Amharic, I find myself growing in awe of these languages as majestic sounds and symbols in which Africa sheds tears and laughs in joy. Tears and laughter need no translation. Through them, I hear myself lost yet found, whether it is through Kiswahili calling me by the name Maisha, the nostalgic songs of Tizita in Ethiopia (wa Ngũgĩ, 2021), or the uplifting dances of Dhaanto in Somalia.

African Student Association UW Seattle. (2019). [Video of Somali students preforming Dhaanto]
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Season’s greetings: From our BILD/LIDA family to yours!

“See” you all in 2023!

Dear BILD readers, Mela (who is now traveling in India) asked me to step in for her to write this year-end message. It has been an honour to be involved in the BILD community since 2017, where I have the privilege to read people’s thoughts and musings about issues of belonging, identity, language, and diversity. I know as a regular blogger myself, each time when we write, we take risks. We make ourselves vulnerable by inviting people into our world of inner thoughts and feelings. We don’t know who will be reading it, how it is going to be received, and whether the topic we discuss or the experience we describe will have an impact on the reader as it did on us. But when it does and when a reader tells you how their experience reverberates yours, we feel an indescribable connection, a shared human experience that makes us whole. 

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