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Location: ML 232A

COMMUNICATION. EDUCATION. ENGLISH. THEATRE.  VERSHAWN ASHANTI YOUNG (Dr. Vay) is a trans-disciplinary scholar and teacher. He often integrates his training in multiple areas of arts and humanities into his published work and instruction. He has been writing about his sociolinguistic concept code-meshing, about African American English, about intercultural communication, about performances of masculinity, and about representations of race in art, film, and literature. He frequently collaborates with his colleagues and students, and has authored or co-authored seven books. 

He has served as a high school drama/English/speech teacher, an elementary school principal, a supervisor of itinerant theater teachers in Los Angeles, and a school board administrator.

He is a solo performance artist and actor. In 2010, he won “best performance in a play” in Cedar Rapids, IA, for his portrayal of the brain-damaged Gabriel in August Wilson’s Fences. He also regularly tours his one-man show, Your Average Nigga, based on his first book of the same name.

As an anti-racism consultant to schools and organizations, dr. vay works on issues related to diversity and cultural competency, and conducts trainings and workshops in these areas, often with his colleague, Frankie Condon.

Before joining the department of Communication Arts at the University of Waterloo, he was most recently on faculty at the University of Kentucky.  

Dr. vay describes himself as serious but friendly and welcomes opportunities to chat over coffee with new and old students, friends, and colleagues.

Recent Work

Recent Articles:

“Straight Black Queer: Obama, Code Switching, and the Gender Anxiety of African American Men,” PMLA, Vol. 129.3, May 2014

Recent Books:

The Routledge Reader of African American Rhetoric: The Longue Duree of Black Voices. Routledge, 2018. Edited by Vershawn Ashanti Young, Michelle Bachelor Robinson.

From Uncle Tom’s Cabin to The Help: Critical Perspectives of White Authored Narratives of Black Life. Palgrave McMillon, 2014. Eds, Claire Oberon Garcia, Vershawn Ashanti Young and Charise Pimental,

Other People's English: Code-meshing, Code-switching, and African American Literacy. Teachers College Press, 2014. Vershawn Ashanti, Young, Rusty Barrett, and Kim Brian Lovejoy, Y’shanda Rivera

University of Waterloo

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