Who are we?
My name is Renée Blake and I am a prof at New York University in the Department of Linguistics and the Department of Social and Cultural Analysis. I teach several courses on African American English, its linguistic structure, and issues pertaining to its use. I cover issues surrounding education, politics, culture and the origins of African American English.
This blog was created by Niki Hossack, a graduating senior in my African American English class during Spring 2009. For the final project, I asked students to create something that would aid in educating ourselves about issues pertaining to African American English. Niki followed through with the idea of a blog as a mechanism to share knowledge about African American English with the larger community.
I, along with my students, continue to maintain and update the blog. We hope you like it.
A big shout out to Richard Lawson from Gawker who showed us love when we most needed it, and taught us some of the ins-and-outs of blogging. Also a shout out to Cara Shousterman, my trusty graduate student who helped me to get this project off the ground, and continues to edit and write for us on a regular basis. Finally, big up to two of my mentors, John Rickford and Hubert Devonish, who remind us that we should train young minds to be “creators of knowledge,” not just imbibers.
By the way, while we predominantly use the term African American English (AAE), it is used interchangeably with several other terms including: African American Vernacular English (AAVE), Black English (BE), Black English Vernacular (BEV), Ebonics, and Spoken Soul.
Contributors in 2010: Ezekiel Abuhoff, Amy Antar, Ayeska Baez, Louisa Burch, Brittney Gerald, Francesca Himelman, Robert Chris Hoffman, Cara Shousterman, Shipra Srinivasan, Jessica Tauber (we couldn’t have done it without her!).
Contributors in 2011: faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates. Our core 2011 team included Cara Shousterman, Ayeska Baez (a graduating senior at NYU), and Renée Blake.
Currently, our core team includes Cara Shousterman (an advanced graduate student in the Department of Linguistics at NYU), Ayeska Baez, Nicole Holliday (a graduate student in the Department of Linguistics) and Renée Blake.
This blog has been supported by contributions from The Humanities Initiative at New York University.