African American Language (AAL) may be one of the most misunderstood languages and often is dismissed as slang, improper, or incorrect.
In order to bring a better understanding to this language, Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures Ph.D. Candidate Shenika Hankerson is working to dispel some of the misconceptions associated with AAL.
Focusing on the sociocultural, historical, and political dimensions of AAL, Hankerson’s research explores the intersections among race, class, language, writing, and equity, particularly as these relate to urban African American adolescents and young adults.
“My research focuses on the theoretical and pedagogical dimensions of a more humanizing education for African American students who use features of AAL to communicate,” Hankerson said. “What I really focus on is how urban African American students use language within oral and written contexts and how educators can affirm and build upon these contexts.”