#IfTheyGunnedMeDown: Viral Twitter Hashtag Inspires Fairfield Lecture on Gun Violence and Critical Race Counternarratives

#IfTheyGunnedMeDown: Viral Twitter Hashtag Inspires Fairfield Lecture on Gun Violence and Critical Race Counternarratives

On October 25, activist and educator Carmen Kynard, PhD, will discuss the role of literacy and academia in shaping counternarratives about the violence facing today’s youth.

We are so excited to be able to bring [Dr. Kynard] to Fairfield at a time when conversations about gun violence have been such an essential piece of our campus programming.

— Beth Boquet, PhD, English professor and director of the Writing Center

Fresh off the heels of #UNLOAD: Guns in the Hands of Artists, Fairfield University Art Museum's powerful exhibition that used works of art to address the complex issue of gun control, the University’s Writing Center and Core Writing program will present a timely lecture on the topic of gun violence and critical race counternarratives. The lecture will be presented by activist and associate professor of English and gender studies at John Jay College of Criminal Justice at the City University of New York, Carmen Kynard, PhD.

The lecture, entitled "#IfTheyGunnedMeDown What Black Girl Would They See? -- Critical Race Counternarratives on the Violence of Language, Literacy, and Schooling," is free and open to the public and will be held on campus in the DiMenna-Nyselius Library multimedia room on Thursday, October 25, 2018 at 6 p.m. The event is presented in partnership with the Humanities Institute in the College of Arts and Sciences.

“We wanted to co-host an event that brings together the message of #UNLOAD with the purpose of the upcoming National Day on Writing on October 20,” explained Beth Boquet, PhD, professor of English and director of the Writing Center. “We were looking for a speaker who could connect gun violence with social activism and digital literacies, and there’s nobody better than Dr. Kynard. We are so excited to be able to bring her to Fairfield at a time when conversations about gun violence have been such an essential piece of our campus programming.” 

The inspiration for Dr. Kynard’s lectures stems from the viral social media campaign, #IfTheyGunnedMeDown, a Twitter hashtag that sparked a national conversation surrounding the media’s portrayal of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager slain in Ferguson, Missouri in the summer of 2014. Rather than using a photograph that depicted the 18-year-old as the “gentle giant” and college-bound high school graduate his friends and community remembered, many media outlets used a visual that social media users say was influenced by racial stereotypes and portrayed Brown as a “thug” or “troublemaker.”

To raise awareness of the deceptive image, students took to Twitter posting two photographs of themselves. The first was a photo that could be easily misunderstood based on the clothes they were wearing or their physical postures, and the second illustrated a respectable individuial dressed in graduation gowns, business attire, or in family photographs. These two images placed side-by-side were accompanied by the hashtag #IfTheyGunnedMeDown to show the country how something as simple as a choice of photograph can portray misconceptions about the integrity of an individual. 

In her talk, Dr. Kynard will discuss this social media movement and examine the counternarratives about the unique violence that today's young people face. These counternarratives will then shape and incite discussions of the radical changes Kynard believes are needed in classrooms, in language and literacy education, and in schools -- changes that might also serve as new rhetoric, realities, and resistances.

“Common understandings of literacy position it as an ultimate social good, but literacy is also a tool that can be used to bully people and enact symbolic and systemic violences,” explained Dr. Boquet. “We hope attendees leave this event thinking about literacy as a complex set of interconnected social practices intimately connected to power and privilege.”

In addition to her position as an associate professor at CUNY, Dr. Kynard is also a social activist with a focus on interrogating race, black feminism, AfroDigital/African American cultures and languages, and the politics of schooling with an emphasis on composition and literacies studies. She has led numerous professional development projects on language, literacy, and learning, and she has been published in the Harvard Educational Review and Reading Research Quarterly, among other publications. Her first book, Vernacular Insurrections: Race, Black Protest, and the New Century in Composition-Literacy Studies, was awarded the 2015 James Britton Award, and her current projects focus on young Black women in college, Black Feminist/Afrofuturist digital vernaculars, and AfroDigital Humanities learning. For more information, visit carmenkynard.com

#IfTheyGunnedMeDown What Black Girl Would They See? - Critical Race Counternarratives on the Violence of Language, Literacy, and Schooling

Date: Thursday, October 25, 2018
Time: 6 p.m.
Location: DiMenna-Nyselius Libray, Multimedia Room, Fairfield University

Additional Details:

A timely lecture on the topic of gun violence and critical race counternarratives inspired by the viral Twitter campaign #IfTheyGunnedMeDown and presented by activist and educator Carmen Kynard, PhD. This event is sponsored by the Core Writing Program, the Writing Center, and the Humanities Institute in the College of Arts and Sciences and is free and open to the public.

Tags:  Top Stories

Last modified: 10-19-18 8:15 AM

20181019

Your news@fairfield Stories for Friday, April 19, 2019

Fairfield StartUp Announces The 2019 Showcase Investor Panel

Read the Article

Bishop Caggiano Honored by Fairfield University’s Murphy Center for Ignatian Spirituality

Read the Article

Annual Glee Club Pops Concert, “Top 40 Rock Countdown," May 1

Read the Article

Four Student-Athletes Among Inductees into Prestigious Academic Honor Societies

Read the Article

Fairfield Nursing Students Present Research at National Convention in Salt Lake City

Read the Article

From Charleston Low Country, Ranky Tanky Visits Fairfield on May 4

Read the Article

26th Annual Holocaust Remembrance Service, April 24

Read the Article

Search Results