March 20, 2015
Abstract: In this talk I demonstrate how a combined research and community partnership program in California addresses educational and linguistic problems by promoting sociolinguistic justice (Bucholtz et al. forthcoming). SKILLS (School Kids Investigating Language in Life and Society) prepares low-income Latina/o high school students for college by guiding them to undertake original research and activist projects on language, identity, and power in their lives. The goal of SKILLS is not to “empower” youth but to recognize their already considerable agency to challenge sociolinguistic injustice. I consider two different student-activist projects within the program that illustrate youth agency in countering linguistic racism. The SKILLS program provides one example of how universities can work with local youth to foster linguistic diversity and educational equity.
Mary Bucholtz is Professor of Linguistics and Director of the Center for California Languages and Cultures at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her current research focuses on language and expertise among youth.