An Educational Model for Black Linguistic & Cultural Reparations

An invited talk

Anne H. Charity Hudley

Associate Dean of Educational Affairs and Professor of Education, Stanford University

3:00-4:00 pm central time, Thursday, February 2, 2023

About the talk

This current time of pandemics and protests is a visceral and constant reminder that the racial and economic legacies of slavery were not only unresolved but continue to determine the course of our daily lives. Few universities have attempted to address these past and present injustices through direct and explicit reparations. Charity Hudley expands on Labov (1972) and Rickford (1987). She reformulates the principle of debt incurred and the unequal partnership between linguistics and the African American speech community into a model for linguistic reparations.

As part of the model for linguistic reparations, Charity Hudley presents work from the Talking College project, a Black student and Black studies-centered way to learn more about the particular linguistic choices of Black students while empowering them to be proud of their cultural and linguistic heritage. Students took introductory educational linguistics courses that examined the role of language in the Black college experience and collected information from college students through both interviews and ethnography. The Talking College project has supported faculty, postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, and undergraduate students. Students have conducted over 100 interviews with Black students at several Minority-Serving Institutions, Historically Black College, and Predominantly White Universities. Talking College participants also conducted multi-student ethnographies on over ten college campuses, and Charity Hudley herself lived as a faculty in residence at the University of California Santa Barbara for two years of the project began.

One key question of the Talking College project is: how does the acquisition of different varieties of Black language and culture overlap with identity development, particularly intersectional racial identity development? These findings are helping us create an equity-based model for what linguistic information Black students need to be successful in higher education as it is now and gives us information so that we can work in pursuit of a future version of higher education that is more inclusive of the Black experience. As such, Talking College collects explicit feedback on how faculty can help establish opportunities for students to access content about language, culture, and education within the undergraduate and graduate curriculum. Charity Hudley addresses the work we need to do as educators and linguists to provide more Black college students with information that empowers them and respects their developing identity choices.

Labov, William. (1982). Objectivity and Commitment in Linguistic Science: The Case of the Black English Trial in Ann Arbor. Language in Society, 11(2), 165-201. Retrieved September 24, 2020, from

Rickford, John. (1997). Unequal Partnership: Sociolinguistics and the African American Speech Community. Language in Society, 26(2), 161-197. Retrieved September 24, 2020, from

About the speaker

Dr. Anne H. Charity Hudley (she/her/hers) is Associate Dean of Educational Affairs and Professor of Education at Stanford University. She is Professor of African-American Studies and Linguistics by courtesy. Her research and publications address the relationship between language variation and educational practices and policies from preschool through graduate school. She has a particular emphasis on creating high-impact practices for underrepresented students in higher education. Charity Hudley is the co-author of four books, most recently The Indispensable Guide to Undergraduate Research and Talking College: Making Spaces for Black Language Practices in Higher Education. Charity Hudley is a fellow of the Linguistic Society of America and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Her contributions to the study of language and education have been recognized with a Public Engagement Award from the Society for Linguistic Anthropology and a Linguistics, Language, and the Public Award from the Linguistic Society of America, as well as a best paper in Language award.

Sponsors: Language Institute, with the Second Language Acquisition PhD Program, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, and Language Sciences. Funding is from the Anonymous Fund.

Contact: Jana Martin

The UW-Madison Language Institute is committed to inclusive and accessible programming. To request an accommodation for this event, please contact Language Institute associate director Jana Martin three business days in advance.