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This research assignment invites students in a first-year writing preparation course to explore topics of social justice through protest art. The course is taught at a small, private liberal arts college in a course for â€œemerging writers.â€ I have taught this assignment at a predominantly White institution (PWI), in a course where the majority of students are Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC). Students choose a work of protest art from the campus library special collections, frame the social justice issue it addresses in a local context using local sources, and then write an essay that puts that research in conversation with their own story. Finally, linking public history to civic engagement, students create their own protest art as a community call to action. The multimodal, local, and personal nature of this writing assignment creates opportunities for students to see the connections between their emerging identities as writers and civic actors. This assignment can create space for students to use their multilingual identities to speak back to the structural inequality within our institution, developing confidence in their own voices to call for meaningful change.
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