Fall 2021 Guidance/COVID-19 Information

Annual Conference Information

5th Annual SUNY Cortland Literacy Department Conference

Cultivating Self-Awareness with Critical Literacies through Anti-Racist and Anti-Oppressive Pedagogies

The SUNY Cortland Literacy Department is pleased to announce that we will be holding our 5th annual conference virtually. Our theme is Cultivating Self-Awareness with Critical Literacies through Anti-Racist andAnti-Oppressive Pedagogies. Details about the conference are below.

Conference Details

  • Date: Saturday, April 3, 2021
  • Time: 9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
  • Platform: Zoom
  • Conference Website

Conference Schedule

  • 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. Keynote Address: Dr. Gholdy Muhammad
  • 10:10 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Breakout Sessions 1
  • 11:10 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Breakout Sessions 2
  • 12:10 pm – 1:00 p.m. Breakout Sessions 3
  • 1:00 pm – 2:00 p.m. Keynote Address: Dr. Jevon Hunter
  • 2:00 p.m. Raffle Drawings immediately following Dr. Hunter’s keynote address

See the different sessions for each session in EventSquid here.

Registered attendees will receive an email the week before the conference so you can choose your breakout sessions. All links (for keynote session and for selected breakout groups) will be sent out on the morning of the event.

Keynote Speakers

Conference Theme

"We want to help cultivate students who will not be neutral on oppression or students who would contribute to more oppression in the world. Instead, we want to cultivate young people who, across the course of their lifetimes, will disrupt, disquiet, or unhinge oppression" (Quote from Gholdy Muhammad, Education Week Interview, January 28, 2020).

The SUNY Cortland Literacy Department invites faculty, students, K-12 teachers, and other educational stakeholders to reflect, share, and grow as we Cultivate Self-Awareness with Critical Literacies through Anti-Racist and Anti-Oppressive Pedagogies. One goal of this year’s conference is to hold space for pre-service, in-service teachers, and administrators to examine their own understandings, beliefs, and biases about literacy teaching and learning. We also hope to introduce teachers to practices and pedagogies which help develop critical literacy practices in their classrooms with their students.   

In this conference, our sessions led by faculty, graduate students, and K-12 teachers strive to answer the following questions:

  • How can we develop knowledge and self-awareness about how power, privilege and oppression manifest in educational spaces as it relates to identities including but not limited to race, ethnicity, class, gender, disability, sexual orientation, and others?  
  • What pedagogies can we use to engage our students in critical literacy practices (e.g., questioning the text and author, identifying bias, gauging credibility, seeking multiple perspectives, using literacy practices to promote social change) in ways that are rooted in their identities, experiences, histories, and funds of knowledge? 
  • How can we take up anti-racist and anti-oppressive stances with respect to teaching methods, curricula, learning standards, and use of culturally relevant texts? 

Types of Sessions

  • Panel: Presenters knowledgeable about a common topic gather for discussion, often moderated by a question-answer format. Panels will be held for 50 minutes.
  • WorkshopPresenters provide a hands-on experience or demonstration relating to a teaching and learning. Audience members may be encouraged to bring their own ideas and materials to “work on” during the workshop. Workshops will be held for 50 minutes.
  • Discussion Group: Presenters prepare a session interacting with audience members for purposes of discussion, self-reflection, and exploration of topics. Discussion groups will be held for 50 minutes.
  • Presentation: Presenters provide a presentation of their research and/or experience answering a question and/or solving a problem with little audience participation. Presentations will be held for 20 minutes and grouped in pairs.

Positionality Statement

The SUNY Cortland Literacy Department recognizes that we are not experts in anti-racism and anti-oppression work, and we are in a continuous state of reflecting and seeking knowledge about power, privilege, and oppression ourselves. We acknowledge the following about our collective:

  • We are uninvited guests who are living, learning, and teaching on the land of the Haudenosaunee people.
  • We disclose that our collective racial makeup is predominantly white, and thus many of us hold unearned white privilege
  • Our gender identities are predominantly female.
  • We recognize that this demographic intersection is one step removed from white patriarchy. We also recognize that the identities of white and female also represents roughly 80% of educators in the U.S., even though our students are increasingly racially diverse.

As a literacy education department, we believe it is our obligation to address and work to dismantle matters of oppression as relating to literacy practices in school spaces. And, as we position ourselves as predominantly white, our goal is to hold space for learning, reflection, and planning for action with respect to anti-racism and anti-oppression related to the teaching of literacy. In doing so, we strive to centralize the scholarship and experiences of Black, Indigenous, scholars of color and anti-racist educators deeply engrained in this work. We are comfortable in the knowledge that when grappling with certain topics, attendees and speakers have an enormous amount to teach us. We welcome these moments as they help to re-distribute the unearned power based on our collective positionalities and aid in continuing to disrupt our biases. 


The 5th Annual SUNY Cortland Literacy Department Conference is sponsored by the following organizations:

  • Auxiliary Service Corporation (ASC)
  • SUNY Cortland School of Education Dean’s Office
  • SUNY Cortland Cortland's Urban Recruitment of Educators (CURE)
  • SUNY Cortland Provost's Office in collaboration with the Cortland College Foundation (through the Faculty Development Center Small Grant)
  • SUNY Cortland Literacy Department
  • SUNY Cortland Campus Arts and Lecture Series Grant (CALS)
  • SUNY Cortland Foundations and Social Advocacy Department
  • SUNY Cortland Childhood and Early Childhood Education Department
  • SUNY Cortland Center for Gender and Intercultural Studies
  • SUNY Cortland English Department
  • SUNY Cortland Field Experiences and School Placements Office