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Kynard, Carmen

Associate Professor



Personal Website

PhD  English Ed, New York University
BA  Feminist Studies and Afro-American Studies, Stanford University

Carmen Kynard is an associate professor of English.  She has worked at a variety of institutions, always with a particular commitment to those places and programs that enroll large numbers of first-generation, working class, and/or students of color.  In previous positions, she has worked as director of a first year writing program, associate professor of English/Writing Studies, and assistant professor of Urban Education.  She began her college career as an instructor in the Department of English at Medgar Evers College of the City University of New York, the setting that taught her everything she knows and can do today.

Carmen's commitment to teaching as part of her professional identity and research represents many years of experience which include: founding teacher for one of the Coalition of Essential Schools in Bronx, New York; on-site school consultant and summer institute leader for the New York City Writing Project; curriculum consultant and designer for the African Diaspora Research Institute and Caribbean Cultural Center in New York; composition instructor in the English Department and SEEK program of Medgar Evers College; instructional coordinator for the Center for Black Literature (CBL); facilitator for CBL’s Literature-to-Life and arts programs for Brooklyn high schools; instructional coordinator for pre-college workshops and dual enrollment courses at Medgar Evers College for Brooklyn high school students; curriculum designer and staff developer for a Community Learning Center Grant in Harlem, New York; seminar leader for “Looking Both Ways” (a joint literacy initiative between CUNY composition faculty and NYC Department of Education English teachers); and more.  Each of these experiences has situated her work in literacy education in very different ways and continues to shape her ongoing understandings of the multiple sites of intervention where such work must occur. She, thus, approaches literacy as: 
  • the space for what people do, rather than what they have or do not have; 
  • a set of socio-cultural practices, rather than a set of neutral skills to be acquired according to already given political and social hierarchies; 
  • a deep engagement with political processes (we either construct ourselves as objects or we act as subjects who can change what lies before us); 
  • an issue of context---personal, cultural, geographic, and historical.
Carmen's work sits at the crossroads of composition-rhetoric studies, new/critical literacies studies, and urban education.  She is most interested in interrogating race and the politics of writing/textual instruction in secondary and post-secondary settings and institutions, looking closely at the ways racialized political economies get expressed as literacy praxis. She strives for her research and scholarship to work in tandem with her ideals, beliefs, and passions, not merely as an evil add-on required by university procedures.
She has published in Harvard Educational Review, College Composition and Communication, College English, Computers and Composition, Changing English, Reading Research Quarterly and more. Her first book, Vernacular Insurrections: Race, Black Protest, and the New Century in Composition-Literacy Studies (SUNY Press, 2013) makes Black Freedom a 21st century literacy movement.  Meanwhile, she traces her research and teaching at her website, Education, Liberation, and Black Radical Traditions" (

  Curriculum Vitae

Valerie Allen, Chairperson
524 West 59th Street, Room 7.63.04, New York, NY 10019
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