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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Means of Conveyance: Spoken Word Pedagogy, Hip Hop Literacies, and the Challenges of Fostering Poetry Spaces
by Henze, Adam D., Ph.D., Indiana University, 2020, 402; 27999906
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation examined the relationships between teachers, students, and “teaching artists” (Graham, 2009) who use poetry as a vehicle for literacy learning. One popular practice is the use of “spoken word,” (Somers-Willett, 2009) a fiery brand of performative poetry popularized by artists from the hip hop music scene (Hill, 2009) and the competitive poetry slam circuit (Woods, 2008). A wealth of qualitative studies extol the virtues of “spoken word pedagogy,” (Kim, 2013; Low, 2011; Weinstein, 2010) noting its power when used as a vehicle for writers to construct literate identities (Fisher, 2007) and form critiques of socio-political issues (Jocson, 2008). To best understand how these dialogic communities operate in precarious times, this study explored the numerous, overlapping spaces where spoken word is used as a pedagogy for multiliteracies. This dissertation employed a practice that Prendergast (2009) called “poetic inquiry,” a creative approach to qualitative inquiry where the researcher adopts the tools a poet uses to search for truth in the world. To explore critical issues in the global spoken word community, a new, hip-hop-infused version of poetic inquiry was created for this study, called “(re)mixed methods.” The findings of this four year study reveal that collaborative teams of poets often face concrete challenges sustaining educational poetry programs, which threaten the relationships necessary to hearten such communities. Findings also highlight that many participants use poetry to name these barriers that repress them, authoring striking narratives about issues such as economic inequality, the need for school reform, structural racism, gender discrimination, the school-to-prison pipeline, and the unmet mental health needs of students. The implications of these findings challenge stakeholders to consider how spoken word pedagogy serves as a conduit for intergenerational dialogue, and could be used to help collaborative learning communities envision a future beyond the challenges they face.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Damico, James, Lester, Jessica
Commitee: Medina, Carmen, Carspecken, Phil, Matejka, Adrian
School: Indiana University
Department: School of Education
School Location: United States -- Indiana
Source: DAI-A 81/12(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Creative writing, Language arts, Pedagogy
Keywords: Creative analytic practices, Hip hop literacies, Poetic inquiry, Poetry, Spoken word pedagogy, Youth culture
Publication Number: 27999906
ISBN: 9798662316713
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