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A Culture of Refusal

The Lives and Literacies of Out-of-School Adolescents

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Brett Elizabeth Blake

A Culture of Refusal is a unique attempt at representing a set of what William Ayers calls «multiply-marginalized» adolescents, situating the voices of migrant and incarcerated youth within out-of-school contexts – in the fields and the streets, and ultimately, in the jails – where these youth live and develop their own cultures of refusal. By exploring and analyzing these environments, this book searches for the ways in which a pragmatic, pro-active response to societal and institutional racism and violence may be nurtured through the adolescents’ own lives and literacies.
The Author: Brett Elizabeth Blake is Associate Chair of the Department of Early Childhood, Childhood and Adolescent Education at St. John’s University in New York City. She holds an M.A. in linguistics from Northwestern University and a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Dr. Blake has written extensively about the challenges urban adolescents face in their literacy learning, including two books: She Say, He Say: Urban Girls Write Their Lives (1997) and Literacy Learning: A Reference Handbook (2002) with her father, Robert W. Blake, Professor Emeritus, State University of New York. Brett Blake continues to work in the public schools as a consultant with the Educational Alliance at Brown University’s field office in New York City, where she works with teachers and students to seek ways in which literacy learning can be rewarding, successful, and equitable for all.