“What are we supposed to do?”: Critical Literacies & Empire

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Lancaster Literacy Research Centre are delighted to welcome Navan Govender to discuss Critical Literacies & Empire.

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This Lancaster Literacy Research Centre event will be a talk from Dr Navan Govender, titled “What are we supposed to do?”: Critical Literacies & Empire.


In response to recent renewed calls to decolonise the curriculum, the PGDE English programme has opted to re-evaluate a deceptively simple question: What does it mean to teach English in an increasingly diverse context? Scotland represents those tensions between coloniality and decoloniality: as both a beneficiary of colonialism and the British empire, as well as a victim of coloniality’s approach to monolingualism and monoculturalism. In order to confront these issues in tangible ways that relate to their emerging identities as teachers of English, our student teachers participate in an outdoor learning project that asks them to analyse an everyday artifact in Glasgow (the Doulton Fountain). Through a series of activities that draw on multimodal critical discourse analysis, the student teachers analyse, collect, and produce a range of texts. These texts reveal interesting ways of using language and literacy to speak back to, and sometimes defend, power. In this presentation, I provide an outline of the series of activities as well as consider some of the texts students were able to produce, before reflecting on the implications for classroom practice.

Event Schedule:

13:00pm - Welcomes & introductions (please enter the meeting with your 'real' name as your display name, and your camera switched on, to allow us to all put faces to each others' names)

13:05 - Presentation from Navan Govender (please turn your camera off and mute your microphone during the presentation)

13:40 - Discussion (please use the raise hand feature on Teams to indicate you would like to have a turn speaking and once asked to speak by an event facilitator, please un-mute your microphone and turn your camera on)

Presenter bio:

Dr Navan Govender - University of Strathclyde, Glasgow

Navan is a lecturer in Applied Language and Literacy Education with a research focus in critical literacies, as it intersects with (a)gender and (a)sexual diversity, multimodality and transmodality, as well as other issues of power, identity, access, and ideology. That is, the relationship between language, literacy, and power in education. Navan explores how language and literacy education, particularly in teacher education, can be used to engage in social justice and culturally sustainable work: from curriculum and educational materials design, to the formulation of pedagogies and research methodologies.

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