I’m an Assistant Professor in the Department of English Language and Literature at University of Missouri – Kansas City, where I teach courses in Black/African American literacies, digital writing, professional and technical communication, and college composition. I study how the legacies of literacy for liberation and humanity carry forward into new technologies and media features, with a tight focus on how racially marginalized people create their own means for transformative access.With a background in English education, I’m also interested in developing writing program curricula that broadens students’ rhetorical awareness of multiple digital and print genres for professional and community activist purposes.

My current book project Between Learning and Opportunity: The Literacy Pivots Black Adults Make to Use Coding Literacy describes the new and unique literacy practices Black adults adopt to access and learn computer programming at a computer code bootcamp for community sustainability and survival.  These strategies play out implicitly and explicitly across different scenarios where Black adults learn and use computer programming: in the classroom, in their homes and communities, and, of course, in the workplace. Their account makes visible how coding literacy practice serves racial and economic ideologies about literacy, despite claims that learning coding can hel lead to social mobility and racial justice. The book develops the concept literacy pivots — methods of clever (conscious and unconscious) unexpected sharp turns in digital literate practices to adapt to certain contexts in order to wield power and autonomy, which may (or may not be) successfully won. What makes literacy pivots possible is that training programs in emerging literacies make Black “technolust” for coding the center of workplace training for economic participation. In addition, structuring work-based coding education as a tool to fulfill this lust helps challenge self-interested racist policies that govern how workplace cultures deploy coding literacies and software systems that make up our everyday life.

Please look around my tiny website to learn more about my teaching and research. If you are interested in learning more, looking to collaborate on a project, or might be thinking about inviting me to lead a workshop or give a talk, you can e-mail me at antoniobyrd@umkc.edu