Dissertation Defense: Andrea Bryant
Candidate Name: Andrea Bryant
Advisor: Joe Cunningham, Ph.D.
Title: On anti-Black racisms in German-language contexts: Four meditations of a white settler woman
Spurred by interests as divergent as national security, increased language proficiency, an elite education, and the futurity of a profession, documented diversity discourses have been a recognized and salient aspect of conversations about German-language teaching in the United States since the late sixties. Yet curricula and contexts still exhibit exclusion and whiteness bias.
In this dissertation I investigate the reciprocal nature between discourses of diversity and anti-Black racism(s) in a specific disciplinary context, namely German-language teaching and German Studies in the United States. I, a white instructor of German, engage with the four dimensions of knowing (experiencing; conceptualizing; analyzing; applying) as outlined by Kalantzis and Cope (2005) throughout the project.
In the first knowledge process, experiencing, a corpus-based, diachronic discourse analytic study of how the word ‘diversity’ functions for German-language instructors between 1968 and 2019 is conducted at the large-scale, sub-scale, and individual text levels using a corpus. I encounter both known and familiar realms through investigating how this plays out at the macro- (large-scale), the meso- (sub-scale), and the micro- (individual text) levels over a period of five decades. In the second knowledge process, conceptualizing, texts featuring May Ayim and Stefanie-Lahya Aukongo are closely read through a collective lens that critically examines discourses of exclusion alongside the concepts of “Others-from-Without” (Wright, 2003), quotidian intellectualism (Florvil, 2020), quietude (Campt, 2017), and silence as generative (Watkins, 2019). The third knowledge process, analyzing, names and theorizes how the ideational, interpersonal, and textual metafunctions of my chosen primary texts enhance critical aspects of belonging and nationality regarding everyday discursive acts of exclusion and resistance to them. Multiliteracies approaches merge with intersectional frameworks in the last main chapter, applying, to begin transforming mainstream curricula. In this final stage, I attempt to apply insights gained from the study by presenting a series of materials for beginning and intermediate German-language instruction.
It is my intention to contribute to awareness concerning the perils educational discourses of diversity pose to German-language teaching environments in the United States.