That'll Teach!: Black Women's Poetic Transgressions and the Pedagogical Possible

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2026-06-06

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2024

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Abstract

“That’ll Teach!” contributes to a body of scholarship responding to Barbara Christian’s “The Race for Theory” by arguing that Black women’s necessarily interdisciplinary literary practices model meaningful forms of theorizing and teaching through poetry. Through Black feminist critical close readings of Claudia Rankine’s layering of multimedia techniques, Jayne Cortez’s collaborative mobilization of funk with her band, and June Jordan’s expansion of the traditional university workshop space, I demonstrate how Black women poets have always understood their creative work as extending beyond the boundaries of the genre and its historically attendant readings. The creation, circulation, and applications of their projects complicate an over-reliance on the narrative content of Black poetry alone to activate urgency and response especially to issues of social justice. Acknowledging the increasing challenges of humanities teaching and applying the interdisciplinary modality of these poet-scholar-teachers, I ultimately offer an adaptable framework for elementary through post-secondary teachers who want to incorporate the reading and writing of poetry into their curricula to facilitate resonant student engagement in a range of content areas.

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Higgins, Nicole D (2024). That'll Teach!: Black Women's Poetic Transgressions and the Pedagogical Possible. Dissertation, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/30803.

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