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Writing for Peace in Colombia: The Youth Poets
April 26 @ 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
Resident Fellow (2020-2021)
Susan J. Cellmer Distinguished Chair in Literacy, Curriculum and Instruction, UW-Madison
Writing for Peace in Colombia is a literacy ethnography based on research I conducted as a 2018-2019 Fulbright scholar in Manizales, Colombia, where I taught, worked, and wrote with community members who were using writing to build peace in the wake of decades of civil war. The in-progress book manuscript seeks to share the work of literary writers, youth poets, and activist writing teachers who are working to transform legacies of violence. In this talk, I tell the story of how youth poets took up testimonio in their poetry for peace and how they claimed authorial space in a community-published writing-for-peace book and board game.
In doing so, I hope to reframe the still urgent, decades-long debate in the field of English/Writing Studies of how to teach writing so people stop killing each other. This book shifts the terms of this debate from “killing” to language used by the Colombian peace theorists and activists with whom I worked, namely “building peace.” “Building peace” brings attention to writing’s potential as a collaborative and constructive project of redress and reconciliation, opening up new and more analytically productive avenues for understanding writing’s relationship to social change.
Kate Vieira is the Susan J. Cellmer Distinguished Chair in Literacy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her monographs include American by Paper: How Documents Matter in Immigrant Literacy (University of Minnesota Press, 2016) and Writing for Love and Money: How Migration Drives Literacy Learning in Transnational Families (Oxford University Press, 2019). Writing for Love and Money won both the 2020 Edward B. Fry Literacy Research Association Award and the 2021 College Composition and Communication Advancement of Knowledge Award. With Jhoana Patiño she co-edited Paz: Escribiendo un Corazón Común (Ojo con la Gota de TINta Press, 2019). She is a recipient of a Fulbright Scholar Award (2018-2019), a Spencer/National Academy of Education Postdoctoral Fellowship (2015-2016), a CCCC Chair’s Research Initiative Grant (2017), and the Donald Murray Prize for Creative Nonfiction (2018).
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