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The anti-racist writing workshop: A panel discussion on creating more inclusive writing programs

Felicia Rose Chavez
February 18, 2021 - 3:30pm

CLAS Theme Year: Racial and Social Justice in the Arts

The anti-racist writing workshop: A panel discussion on creating more inclusive writing programs

Thursday, Feburary 18th at 3:30 pm

Panelists: Felicia Rose Chavez, NWP alumna and author; Matthew Kelley, Provost Visiting Writer, Department of English and graduate of the UI Writers’ Workshop; Luis Muñoz, Professor and Director of the Spanish MFA Program in Creative Writing; and Deborah Elizabeth Whaley, Professor and CLAS Administrative Fellow, Office of the Dean. Moderator: Meenakshi Gigi Durham, Director, UI Nonfiction Writing Program.

Creative writing, like all artforms, involves deep personal engagement in both the process and the product. “Write what you know” is a cliché, and yet certain experiences, knowledges, perspectives and feelings have been marginalized, discounted, or outright excluded from writing programs. Writing course curricula neglect the impact of writers of color; writing classrooms have centered and celebrated works that haven’t addressed the realities, histories, or cultures of communities of color and other minoritized and marginalized peoples. On this panel, faculty members from the University of Iowa’s writing programs will engage in a discussion with Felicia Rose Chavez, the author of The Anti-Racist Writing Workshop. This new book is a call to create healthy, sustainable, and empowering classroom communities. It’s more urgent than ever that we consciously work against traditions of dominance in the classroom, but what specific actions can we take to achieve authentically inclusive communities? Together, we will address how to:

· Deconstruct our biases to achieve a cultural shift in perspective.

· Design a democratic teaching model to create safe spaces for creative concentration.

· Recruit, nourish, and fortify students of color to best empower them to exercise voice.

· Embolden our students to self-advocate as responsible citizens in a globalized community.

 For more information about The Anti-Racist Writing Workshop, and to access a multi-genre compilation of contemporary writers of color and progressive online publishing platforms, please visit