Theoretically, my approach can be called Afrocentric, or more specifically, African American-centered. In the context of this work, African Americancentered means that I cull ideas, knowledge, data, strategies, and experiences from the epistemologies found in analyses of African American rhetorical, cultural, and literacy traditions (some of which I presented in Chapter 2). I use these as a basis for teaching rhetoric and composition. As an African Americancentered teacher-researcher, my task is to connect students to these discourses, rhetorics, and literacies developed by African Americans, to describe historic and transformational literacies from the viewpoints of Black

experiences, to interpret data from these subject positions. Fox’s (1992) position theory influenced my thinking on incorporating the social, historical, institutional, cultural, and gender considerations in writing instruction. Further, scholars such as Giroux (1991) who’ve constantly underscored the politics of literacy and difference have helped to shape my understanding of literacy as politically and socially constructed (also found in the work of critical literacy theorists-Freire, 1990; Macedo, 1994; Gee, 1996; Shor, 1996, and others). The theme that connects their arguments to mine is the importance of understanding how societies define and exploit literacy for political, social, economic, and cultural needs. Of course for African Americans the mere act of reading and writing has historically and literally been a political act. In this African American-centered approach the political and critical cultural legacy of writing and reading “men and nations” (Sojourner Truth) is emphasized to African American students as they are heirs to these traditions. Also critical in shaping my thoughts on pedagogy have been the works of Gloria Ladson-Billings (1995) and Mary Hoover (1982). Their works underscore the need for culturally relevant and multicultural literacy practices in the teaching of African American (and all) students. Furthermore, African American discourse and rhetoric scholars such as Gates (1988), Baker (1984), and Smitherman (1977/1986) have steered my thinking in the direction of the theory of African American Signification. It is in the written and oral tradition that authors of African descent repeat and revise themes of the Black experience to create an intertextual chain referring to shared experience/cultural identity. Within these Black oral-literate and post-literate traditions, rhetors revise forms, modes, and strategies-twisting the chain, whiledoing they own thang, in a word “playin’ with the patterns” (Gilyard, 1996: 126).