Writing Race, Language & Identity

Discovery Core Experience: I&S Course


60-Second Syllabus: Writing Race, Language & IdentityIndividuals and Societies Icon

About This Course: 

How does language frame our perception of race and identity? In addition to introducing students to college resources, this course will explore interdisciplinary perspectives on the ways language shapes our understanding of race and identity. More specifically, we will consider how language contributes to the biological illusion of racial categories and the socio-political reality of racial injury, and explore multiple ways people use written language to redress that reality. Specific topics covered will include the biological fallacy of race, the history of racial categories, the relationship between culture and race, the complexities of mixed-race identities, as well as the historical relationship between language, social justice, and race.

Overview of Coursework: 

The majority of the readings will be by BIPOC authors from diverse linguistic, racial, and cultural backgrounds. From Gloria Anzaldua’s “How to Tame a Wild Tongue,” to Cathy Park Hong’s “Broken English,” to selections from April Baker-Bell’s Linguistic Justice: Black Language, Literacy, Identity, and Pedagogy, to Scott Richard Lyons’ “There’s no Translation for it: The Rhetorical Sovereignty of Indigenous Languages,” we’ll dive into a mix of research articles, memoirs, poetry/spoken word, and creative nonfiction, as well as blogs addressing mixed-race identities and the politics of accents in BIPOC communities. Assignments will include: open letters, reading responses, discussion boards, narratives, and autoethnographies. Expect lively in-class discussions, lots of writing and multiple revisions, peer feedback, and small-group conferencing. Our hope is that over the course of the quarter you’ll expand your writing toolkit to navigate and articulate the relationship(s) of race, language, and identity.


Associate Teaching Professor Mira Shimabukuro (She/Her/Hers)

Headshot of Mira Shimabukuro

About Professor Shimabukuro: 

BA, Liberal Studies, Evergreen State College
MFA, Creative Writing, UW Seattle
PhD, Composition and Rhetoric, University of Wisconsin Madison








Assistant Professor Ashley J. Velázquez (She/Her/Hers)

About Professor Velázquez: 

Ph.D., Second Language Studies, Purdue University