Black Atlantic Identity Research Project

Intellectual Significance

The intellectual significance of this work lies in its attempt to center language as a sort of time capsule to examine culture that was created throughout the colonial and antebellum U.S. Although in the 21st century, linguists and English scholars understand AAVE, there is still much work being done in creating regional specificities beyond the broad umbrella of AAVE. I am particularly curious if it is possible to capture what I am broadly calling Black Atlantic Linguistics – phonology, syntax, nomenclature and terminology that find their roots in the Black Atlantic as it relates to the Southern United states. Then, I want to trace its movement through the two Great Migrations which I believe to be a defining moment or shift which affected the shibboleth of Black Atlantic linguistic features.

I am working under the assumption that language and speechways were indeed lost, but there are still retentions which can make significant connection not just to the South, but to a very particular mode of identity making that occurred in The Black Atlantic.

Because this is a multi-modal project, consisting of both a literature review or written portion (some of which is began below throughout this proposal) and an interactive map comprised of information collected from volunteers, I believe it has multiple audiences, both academic and mainstream.

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