English Initiatives

Readings and Lectures

Yale English Initiative on Literature and Racial Justice
This series of readings and lectures highlights questions of race and resistance, and focuses on the ways that creative writers, performers, critics and readers have shaped histories of racial justice and empowerment over the centuries.

Initiative on Literature and Racial Justice: A public conversation with Albert Woodfox, the author of Solitary


The Department will host workshops on ‘Talking About Race’ and ‘Bystander Intervention’ in Fall 2020 (dates tbc), with further workshops in Spring 2021.

Reading Groups

Engaging Racial Justice in Our Classrooms 

Convenors: Rasheed Tazudeen and Sunny Xiang

The broad aims of the group are to provide a space to discuss anti-racist teaching philosophies and practices from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, to think through ways to incorporate anti-racist pedagogy into our course designs and classrooms, and to put the work of critical pedagogy and literary studies in deeper theoretical and practical conversation with racial and social justice movements both locally and globally. We welcome Yale faculty, graduate students, and participants from all departments and disciplines.

Meeting summaries for the Engaging Racial Justice reading group

Spring 2021 Schedule

2/24/21: Engaging Racial Justice in Our Classrooms

Abolitionist Pedagogies: guest speakers Zelda Roland and James Jeter, Yale Prison Education Initiative; Daniel Karpowicz, College in Prison: Reading in an Age of Mass Incarceration (selections)

3/17/21: Engaging Racial Justice in Our Classrooms

Disability, Race, and Pedagogy: Theri Alice Pickens, Blue Blackness, Black Blueness: Making Sense of Blackness and Disability; Jan Doolittle Wilson, Reimagining Disability and Inclusive Education through Universal Design for Learning; Mel Y. Chen, Brain Fog: The Race for Cripistemology

4/8/21: Engaging Racial Justice in Our Classrooms

Race, Pedagogy, and Disciplinarity: Crenshaw, Lipsitz, Hosang, Harris (eds.), Seeing Race Again: Countering Colorblindness Across the Disciplines (selected essays); Blake, Ioanide, Reed (eds.), Anti-Racism, Inc.: Why the Way We Talk About Racial Justice Matters (selected essays)

4/29/21: Engaging Racial Justice in Our Classrooms

Conclusions, Provocations, Continuities: readings TBD

Fall 2020 Schedule

9/16/20: Engaging Racial Justice in Our Classrooms

Planning Meeting

10/1/20: Initiative on Literature and Racial Justice

Francis Conversations with Writers: A public conversation with Albert Woodfox, the author of Solitary

10/8/20: Engaging Racial Justice in Our Classrooms

Racial Justice in the Classroom: Harbin, Thurber, and Bandy, “Teaching Race, Racism, and Racial Justice”; Lauren Michele Jackson, “What is an Anti-racist Reading List For?”; Melissa Phruksachart, “The Literature of White Liberalism”; Responses to Albert Woodfox lecture

10/22/20: Engaging Racial Justice in Our Classrooms

Race, Inequality, and the University: Daniel HoSang and Joseph Lowndes, “Theorizing Race in the Age of Inequality”Laura Smith and Susan Kashubeck-West, Gregory Payton, Eve Adams. 2017. “White Professors Teaching About Racism: Challenges and Rewards” The Counseling Psychologist 45(5): 651-668.; Sue, D. W., Lin, A. I., Torino, G. C., Capodilupo, C. M., & Rivera, D. P. (2009). Racial microaggressions and difficult dialogues on race in the classroom. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 15(2), 183–190.

11/19/20: Engaging Racial Justice in Our Classrooms

Black Feminist Pedagogies: Alexis Pauline Gumbs, “Nobody Mean More: Black Feminist Pedagogy and Solidarity”; Jacqui Alexander, Pedagogies of Crossing (selections); Leibowitz, B., Bozalek, V., Rohleder, P., Carolissen, R., & Swartz, L. (2010). ” ‘Ah, but the Whiteys Love to Talk about themselves’: Discomfort as a Pedagogy for Change.” Race Ethnicity and Education, 13(1), 83-100.

12/3/20: Engaging Racial Justice in Our Classrooms

Poetics, Pedagogy, and Race: Claudia Rankine, Just Us; other readings TBD