Power relations and hierarchies as well as spaces for freedom and change are created through language and shared through writing practices. Writing centers are often seen as mechanisms for norming or conventionalizing academic discourse, but are also spaces for transformative dialogue and individual voice. Knowing the simultaneously repressive and liberating nature of our work, we hope to lean into the practices of linguistic justice.
There are three pillars to our focus upon linguistic justice:
1. Antiracism: Rethinking practices that sort minority discourses to the bottom of the linguistic hierarchy and subject them to eradication pedagogy. We are particularly concerned with the stigmatization and oppression of Black language.
2. Translingualism: Integrating multilingual students into the academic community, and creating space for their evolving Englishes and practices that support them in their academic journeys and allow access to the value of their global perspectives.
3. Gender Inclusivity: Creating a linguistic environment that creates more inclusive, safer and affirming communities for gender expansive individuals and continues to loosen the restrictions and limitations of gender normative and binary language conventions.
Through these areas of focus we work to build communities and learning spaces that are comfortable and affirming to all students and provide appropriate, responsive support for their developmental trajectories and the realization of their goals. We ask the campus community, what if each student were able to bring all their linguistic resources to their academic work? We assert that our community as a whole would benefit.
Through welcoming new members, honest dialogue, soliciting feedback, and ongoing research, our goal is to continually improve our ability to make our community work for everyone.
Learn more about our recent antiracism initiative here: its history, our statement, our plan, our events and the resources that have informed our approach. We will continue to focus upon the three pillars of linguistic justice and welcome your feedback along the way!
Our writing center is situated on the land in the territory of the Seneca Nation, a member of the Haudenosaunee Six Nations Confederacy, a region still home to the Haudenosaunee people. We are thankful that our community is situated in this territory and hope to contribute to its wellbeing through the dialogue that occurs here.