drawing of African American women

UTSA hosts conference on African American women

By Tanya Hulbert
Student Writer, College of Liberal and Fine Arts

(March 3, 2008)--As part of Women's History Month, UTSA will host the African American Women's Language Conference March 7-8 at the Holiday Inn Riverwalk, 217 N. St. Mary's St. The event is open to the public; registration is $60, $35 for students and K-12 teachers.

The conference will provide a broader, interdisciplinary understanding of language used by women in the African American community, as well as the educational, sociocultural and ecological aspects of African American women's language. The conference will include renowned scholars from across the United States including Charles DeBose (California State University-East Bay); Lisa Green and Tracy Conner (University of Massachusetts-Amherst); H. Samy Alim (UCLA) and Angela Kortenhoven (Calvin College/Stanford University).

Organized by Sonja Lanehart, UTSA professor and holder of the Brackenridge Endowed Chair in Literature and the Humanities, the event will features presenters from across the United States speaking on topics including language and identity, from girls to women, representations in literature and film, female language in the church, talking about and beyond hair, and growing up with two black languages -- Jamaican Creole and African American English.

"The language of African American women is one of the most neglected research areas in sociolinguistics," said Lanehart. "The speakers for the conference are top notch, and this is going to be a great, informative conference for teachers, scholars, students and the public in general."

According to Lanehart, the conference will help scholars of language variation in American English and other languages of the Americas to look at the relationships between language forms and better understand the significance of identity in language, education, community and society.

Sponsors of the conference are UTSA College of Liberal and Fine Arts; UTSA Division of Bicultural-Bilingual Studies; UTSA Department of English, Classics and Philosophy; UTSA Women's Studies Institute; Rita E. Urquijo-Ruiz (Trinity University) and the Trinity University African American Studies program.

For more information, visit the African American Women's Language Conference Web site or call (210) 458-6610.

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