Episode 96: Bringing Storytelling to Academia through Afrofuturism with Stephanie Toliver

In this episode Stephanie Toliver, Assistant Professor of Literacy and and Secondary Humanities at University of Colorado Boulder and lifelong sci-fi nerd chats with Henry and Colin about her experience writing her hybrid PhD dissertation. As part of her PhD, Stephanie got the opportunity to work with the DEEP Center’s Block to Block Program teaching middle-school age black girls how to write science fiction. Her now published dissertation combines the stories written by those girls with theory and methodology to outline how Stephanie centers Black girls in her academic research. In this conversation they discuss how Stephanie’s leading style during the workshop was informed by the girls’ own interests and their storytelling instincts rather than the typical teacher-student model. As a group they engaged with afrofuturist stories from Black authors like Octavia Butler, Sherri L. Smith, Tracie Baptiste, and Nnedi Okorafor and used those stories to inform their own work. In detailing her own process, she explores with the hosts how academia should encourage storytelling, especially for scholars of color, rather than enforcing that they write in a more standard voice and tone. As a professor she encourages educators to use young adult literature to bridge the gap between learning and storytelling and more information about that can be found on her blog readingblackfutures.com

A full transcript of this episode will be available soon!

Here are some of the references from this episode, for those who want to dig a little deeper:

Documentary on the DEEP Center’s Block by Block Program: Block by Block’s Guide to Resilience 21-22

USC Annenberg’s Civic Media Fellowship

Henry’s Civic Imagination Project

On Spiritual Strivings, Cynthia Dillard’s Book that inspired Toliver’s teaching methods

Stephanie’s Blog Post Defining Afrofuturism
Afrofuturism Defined Elsewhere:
Afrofuturism: From the Past to the Living Present | UCLA
A Beginner’s Guide To Afrofuturism: 7 Titles To Watch And Read (Essence)
How Afrofuturism Can Help the World Mend | WIRED
Afrofuturism: From Books to Blockbusters | It’s Lit! (PBS)

Afrofuturist Texts Mentioned in the Episode: 
Orleans by Sherri L. Smith 
Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler 
The Jumbies by Tracie Baptiste 
Octavia’s Brood edited by Adrienne Maree Brown and Walidah Imarisha 
“Sera” by Nicola Yoon from Because You Love to Hate Me edited by Amerie 

For more visit Stephanie’s blog here: https://readingblackfutures.com/black-girl-sffh/, https://readingblackfutures.com/black-boy-sffh/, https://readingblackfutures.com/black-sffh-anthologies/ 

Raymond Williams, “Culture is Ordinary

Share your thoughts via Twitter with Henry, Colin and the How Do You Like It So Far? account! You can also email us at [email protected].
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