Dr. April Baker-Bell is an award-winning transdisciplinary teacher-researcher-activist and associate professor of language, literacy, and English education in the Department of English and Department of African American and African Studies at Michigan State University. Baker-Bell is an international leader in conversations on Black Language education, and her research interrogates the intersections of Black Language and literacies, anti-Black racism, and antiracist pedagogies. Her award-winning book, Linguistic Justice: Black Language, Literacy, Identity, and Pedagogy, brings together theory, research, and practice to dismantle Anti-Black Linguistic Racism (a term Baker-Bell coined) and white linguistic supremacy. Baker-Bell is the recipient of many awards and fellowships, including the 2021 Coalition for Community Writing Outstanding Book Award, the 2021 Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s New Directions Fellowship, the 2021 Michigan State University’s Community Engagement Scholarship Award and the 2021 Distinguished Partnership Award for Community-Engaged Creative Activity, the 2020 NCTE George Orwell Award for Distinguished Contribution to Honesty and Clarity in Public Language, the 2020 Theory Into Practice Article of the Year Award, the 2019 Michigan State University Alumni Award for Innovation & Leadership in Teaching and Learning, and the 2018 AERA Language and Social Processes Early Career Scholar Award.
As keynote speaker, Baker-Bell will discuss how anti-Black linguistic racism and white linguistic supremacy get normalized in teacher attitudes, curriculum and instruction, pedagogical approaches, disciplinary discourses, and research. She will discuss the impact these decisions have on Black students’ language education and their linguistic, racial, and intellectual identities. Dr. Baker-Bell will introduce a new way forward through Antiracist Black Language Pedagogy, a pedagogical approach that intentionally and unapologetically places Black Language at the center to critically interrogate white linguistic hegemony and anti-Black linguistic racism.