This post is for my new teachers or teachers newly committed to centering black women’s voices in their classroom. As with all things, let me start by telling you a little story.

The day after Donald Trump was elected to lead my country due to our outdated, racist electoral college system I flew to Canada for the annual National Women’s Studies Association conference.

I also forgot my phone, which I did not realize until I was trying to get a car to the conference center from the Montreal airport.

What this meant for me is that, instead of gallivanting about Montreal in an orgy of avoidance I spent the day sitting in the lobby of my hotel because the only way I would know when my roommate got there would be if I was also there.

This was how I ran into Dr. Stephanie A. Allen who, after defending her dissertation, launched BLF Press. (Yes, she’s amazing.) It was so good to see a friend. We had dinner and drinks in the hotel restaurant and Dr. Allen generously gifted me two advance copies of new releases from BLF Press. One of those books was Solace, featured in the cover image of this post.

Solace is a wonderful anthology that feels a bit like an oracle. Every time I open it up I seem to open up to the piece I need to read that day. Just this morning, I dipped into the book before writing this post and wouldn’t you know I opened right up to a short narrative that tied together several quotes from Black Queer scholars that had been rattling around in my head.

Seriously.

Oracle.

BLF Press has many great offerings and I wold encourage you to check out their website for your syllabus. What I love about Solace is that it has something for everyone which means it is extra-fantastic for Intro level classes–the types of classes that PhD candidates are most likely to teach. Below is an assignment from my own Intro to Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies class which you have full permission to copy and paste into your own syllabus or online class module.

Solace Project.

Short Description: Pick an entry from Solace: Writing, Refuge, & LGBTQ Women of Color. You can pick any entry, there is no length requirement, but you are encouraged to pick an entry that resonates with you in some way.

Purpose: This essay project will help us continue to develop our understanding of the theory and praxis of intersectionality while applying our critical thinking and textual analysis skills.  

Method: Textual analysis requires is to consider both the intent and the impact of the author in their larger cultural and historical context. Questions to consider when doing textual analysis include but are not limited too:

  1. What do you know about the author?
  2. Does the piece have an intended audience?
  3. What is the main theme/argument of the piece?
  4. How is the author using logos, pathos, and ethos to make their point?
  5. What is the tone of the piece?
    1. What words does the author use and how does the choice of those words shed light on these five questions?
    2. What about the author’s syntax?
      1. How does it affect the reader?
      2. Does it disrupt the reader’s expectations or met them?
      3. How does the syntax relate to the other five questions?

Assignment Requirements: Using textual analysis for your chosen piece from Solace you will connect that piece with two other course texts. You will make an original argument of some kind in your paper. This argument may be about how the language of metaphor helps us connect with academic theory or how a story from someone’s life helps us see from a different point of view. Question to ask yourself to get started include but are not limited to:

  1. What about this piece resonates with me?
  2. What other course texts does this piece remind me of?
  3. Does this piece echo or expand on a theme we have covered in class?
  4. How does this piece relate to our course objectives?
  5. If I was going to explain this piece and it’s importance to someone what would I say?

Formatting: Two to four (2-4) pages, 12 pt. font, Times New Roman, 1” margins.

Citation: You may use any citation style you like as long as you cite everything that is not your original thought and are consistent. For example, don’t do your in-text citations in APA style and your bibliography in MLA.

Here is a helpful video on how to cite your sources in word: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CnVq_BpwP2E

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