Revolution Lullabye

February 12, 2007

Calling Cards Chapters 5 & 6

Filed under: Uncategorized — by revolutionlullabye @ 5:47 pm

Royster, Jacqueline Jones and Ann Marie Mann Simpkins, eds. Calling Cards: Theory and Practice in the Study of Race, Gender, and Culture. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 2005.

Chapter 5
Green, Ann E. Guns, Language, and Beer: Hunting for a Working-Class Language in the Academy. 75-89.

Green uses personal narratives to describe how working-class issues and working-class language are accepted in the academy. She argues that there is a prevailing assumption among academics that everyone either subscribes to middle-class values or aspires to obtain them and that first-year composition is a place where the university cleans up subpar, lower-class language. She believes that the form of academic discourse should be opened to include rhetorical ways of communication that people outside of the middle class rely on, such as telling stories as a teaching tool. Green argues that we need to think of ways of talking about class that bring to light the benefits of being other than the middle class and that allow us to have conversations outside of conventional stereotypes.

Quotable Quotes

“I think that there are ways to write about race, class, and gender that nudge the reader toward empathy, and that empathy is the beginning of change. To do this, I try and undo some of the conventions of academic discourse. While I don’t achieve all these goals all the time, I hope that by using narratives and telling stories to disrupt the flow of linear argument, by holding open the possibility of other readings, and by including self-conscious reflections of my subjet position in relationship to my students, that the hearts and minds of readers can be changed” (88).

“Language and guns are complex, powerful tools that can be used to protect or to harm. Language can convey meanig, but it can also betray you. It can work to represent class and explore class, but only in certain contexts” (85).

“I want language to reflect the people it is written for and about, and this means that workd choices and sentence structures are inflected with a tone and voice I’m trying to create” (85).

“Middle-class, white, assumptions of propriety and politeness dominate academic discourse and the assumptions about what is ‘polite’ to say in an academic context” (76).

Chapter 6
Lee, Valerie. Smarts: A Cautionary Tale. 93-105.

In her chapter, Lee explains how she moved outside conventional, accepted academic discourse and methodologies to approach her inderdisciplinary research about black lay midwives and women healers. She integrated stories told by and of the women with theory, calling this type of positioning “double dutch,” invoking how double dutch jumpers must negotiate between the rhythms of the chants and the beat of the ropes to succeed. She explained that once she became a full professor, she felt free to explore new ways of conducting research that allowed her to marry the “white” academic expectations of her and her heritage as an African-American woman. She argues through looking at African American folklore and literature that African-American students at the university, in order to fit in both worlds – academia and their home community – must ride a fine line between getting an education (or “smarts”) and getting an edumacation. An edumacation, in Lee’s mind, is white, pompous and does not connect back to the community; smarts, on the other hand, allows African-Americans to work in a world controlled by white people but not be taken advantage of by them or separated from their history.

Quotable Quotes

About African-American graduates of college coming back to their home churches: “The graduates have not let their education becoem edumacation [and they plan] to do something transformative with their ‘smarts’ – like put it to everyday use” (104).

“Smarts is resourcefulness. It is what one uses to dodge bullets, lynching mobs, and public policy schemes that have racist effects” (100).

Edumacation is using a critical vocabulary to dazzle one’s audience. Education is understanding that critical vocabulary well enough to choose simpler, common words” (98).

“Just as jumping double-dutch requires the jumpers to listen to the chanting and sound of the ropes, then multiply locate themselves between ropes, I ask my readers to hear the orality of the two sets of texts and multiply locate themselves between my narrative ropes” (95).


Blog at

%d bloggers like this: