Mon, 16 May


Online event

Talking Literacy with Prof. Bongi Bangeni

Prof. Bongi Bangeni (University of Cape Town) will be presenting a talk entitled, “Reading as ‘talking back’: Reflecting on black students’ reading practices at the University of Cape Town”. Register at:

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Talking Literacy with Prof. Bongi Bangeni

Time & Location

16 May, 14:00 – 15:00 SAST

Online event

About the event


The notion of ‘talking back’ is utilised in feminist theory to signal a disruption of hegemonic practices that serve the further entrenchment of patriarchal and racialized systems. Taking this notion into the field of academic literacies where critical approaches to literacy frame reading as a communicative act located within contexts of inequality and power, I offer a snapshot of the experiences of black students with reading what Allan Luke terms ‘genres of power’ at the University of Cape Town’s Law faculty. In doing so I consider the extent to which language as legal discourse and L2 (dis)enables ‘talking back’ and how language, race and schooling intersect to inform students’ success with engaging with a genre of power within the faculty. I illustrate how the arduous process of acquiring ways of reading within this context is further compounded by students’ attempts to ‘read’ the faculty and its institutional culture and their place within it as they grapple with the contested notions of ‘disadvantaged student’ on the one hand, and ‘agent of change’, on the other. I conclude by presenting a set of questions which emerge from the data, which I suggest are important for academic literacies practitioners to consider as they empower students to engage with key disciplinary literacy practices in transformative and agentic ways.

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