Stephanie Toliver

Stephanie Toliver
University of Colorado Boulder | CUB · School of Education

Doctor of Philosophy | Language and Literacy Education
Assistant Professor of Literacy and Secondary Humanities at the University of Colorado Boulder

About

29
Publications
8,515
Reads
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48
Citations
Introduction
S.R. Toliver is an assistant professor of literacy and secondary humanities at the University of Colorado Boulder. Her current research focuses on representations of and responses to people of color in speculative fiction texts to discuss the implications of erasing youth of color from futuristic and imaginative contexts. Toliver’s research interests include speculative fiction, social justice, and Black literacy education.
Additional affiliations
August 2020 - present
University of Colorado Boulder
Position
  • Professor (Assistant)
August 2018 - present
University of Georgia
Position
  • Graduate Teaching Assistant
Description
  • I teach a fall seminar course for pre-service English educators that focuses on social justice in the ELA classroom.
August 2015 - June 2016
Miller Grove High School
Position
  • English Teacher
Education
August 2016 - May 2020
University of Georgia
Field of study
  • Language and Literacy Education
January 2013 - April 2015
Florida State University
Field of study
  • Curriculum & Instruction
August 2006 - April 2011
Florida A&M University
Field of study
  • English Education

Publications

Publications (29)
Article
Full-text available
Popular culture aids in the conditioning of U.S. society, assisting in the determination of who is esteemed as literate and who is disgraced with illiteracy. Unfortunately, pop culture depictions of black male literacy often reify the stereotype that black males are less literate than their peers. Although a real issue presents itself in the opport...
Article
Full-text available
In this article, the author conducts a meta-analysis of 12 studies in which researchers analyze Black girl representations in fiction literature. The studies are used to investigate which fiction books scholars use in their research with Black girls and what influences the researchers to make their book selections. The author uses information glean...
Article
The science fiction concept of alterity is the author’s attempt to depict a level of difference that expands the reader’s spheres of knowledge. An ironic example of this concept is represented in Suzanne Collins’ depiction of Rue in the first Hunger Games novel, where Rue, a young Black girl, is characterized as innocent and childlike, a depiction...
Article
Full-text available
In this article, I provide preliminary findings from my survey study about Black women's reading histories of science fiction. The article is in the Black Caucus of the American Library Association, Inc. Summer Newsletter.
Article
The rampant murder of Black women and girls in the United States proves that this place is not safe for them. In fact, it is questionable whether any space currently known can be safe when antiblackness and misogynoir are interwoven into the fabric of our world. For this reason, researchers must explore the unbound landscapes Black girls create for...
Article
Constructing school spaces where Black girls feel comfortable enough to be their full selves is essential in a system that consistently shows them that they do not matter. Cultivating these spaces, however, requires educators to understand that Black girls’ identities are multiple and varied, that Black girls can be anything. Still, some identity p...
Article
This paper uses an assignment given to the authors' preservice teachers to address and push back against common arguments used to uphold canonical text selection in secondary ELA classrooms. Using the metaphor of canon defense as empire building first made by Toni Morrison in the canon debates of the 1980s, the authors examine the weaknesses in arg...
Article
Janelle Monae's, Dirty Computer, tackles issues like feminism, racism, sexuality, Black womanhood, self-assurance, and growth. Each song on the album is presented from a first-person point of view, offering a unique insight into a story that shares an intimate portrait of what it means to embrace authentic Black womanhood. Monae's lyrical storytell...
Article
All activism is science fiction, for envisioning a world without oppression requires the active creation of socially just societies formed from innovative ideas and visionary possibilities. Black girls have historically engaged in science fiction by using their voices and written words to construct socially just worlds in hopes that their dreams of...
Article
Purpose – This paper aims to identify how white preservice teachers’ inability to imagine an equitable space for Black and Brown children contributes to the ubiquity of whiteness in English education. Further, the authors contend that the preservice teachers’ responses mirror how the larger field of English education fails to imagine Black and Brow...
Article
Full-text available
Afrofuturism often acts as an experiential portal that guides readers to reflect on the current state of the world, to hypothesize about the trajectory of society, and to challenge any possible future that continues the subjugation of Black people. As a genre that is concerned with the elevation and liberation of Black people, Afrofuturism aligns w...
Article
The genre of science fiction has often been hostile to readers who are not white, middle class, heterosexual men. Though the genre has historically ignored Dark Others; however, they are never completely omitted from the story, as they are often characterized as the creature, the alien, or the monster. In this way, the futuristic windows and mirror...
Article
Drawing on Black feminist/womanist storytelling and the three-dimensional narrative inquiry space, this article showcases how one Black girl uses speculative fiction as testimony and counterstory, calling for readers to bear witness to her experiences and inviting witnesses to respond to the negative experiences she faces as a Black girl in the Uni...
Article
In this article, I discuss how a group of Black girls and I built community I’m an after school book club through communal read alouds.
Chapter
In this chapter I aim to unsettle the hypercanon by introducing various YADF texts with young women of color featured as the protagonists. Specifically, I conduct a comparative analysis of books that represent young women who are Asian, biracial, Black, Indigenous, and Latinx. Yet, instead of focusing solely on the differences inherent in these tex...
Article
In this article, I explore the topic of speculative antiblackness through interviews with two respected authors and colleagues—Ebony Thomas, author of the recent book The Dark Fantastic: Race and Imagination from Harry Potter to the Hunger Games, and Zetta Elliott, author of Dragons in a Bag and Ship of Souls.
Article
Much of the language at academic conferences is purely metaphorical, so it is important to understand the cultural–historical significance of the metaphors used in constructing organizational gatherings, especially the metaphor invoked by the town hall meeting. Town halls/meetings were spaces where members gathered for democratic rule in a particul...
Conference Paper
Both Afrofuturism and the carnivalesque are on the same plane of thought that challenges dominance and advocates for the mental, physical, and emotional freedom of society. While the carnivalesque creates the space for imaginative freedom, Afrofuturism uses that space to ruminate on the possibilities of Black cultural futures and representations. T...
Article
CaShawn Thompson's hashtag, #BlackGirlMagic, has transformed into a movement over the past five years. The hashtag focuses on celebrating the beauty, influence, and strength of Black women and girls. However, Thompson's term sits in a space of tension, where contradictory interpretations create boundaries around what Black girl celebration means as...
Article
When a student in a community-based writing program asked to write science fiction, rather than a personal essay, he prompted the staff to expand the scope of the program’s curriculum.
Conference Paper
Many scholars focusing their literacy research on young Black girls analyze the ways young adult literature (YAL) affects adolescent identity construction (Sutherland, 2005; Baxley & Boston, 2010; Gibson, 2016; Greene, 2016; Muhammad & Haddix 2016). The books used in their research address problems such as teen pregnancy, colorism, body image, or o...
Conference Paper
Heroine role models in dystopian/science fiction are unique individuals who embrace their differences and question society to create a more egalitarian world for all people. The heroines in these stories try to change the monolithic view of culture and/or femininity within their worlds; a task that many young women of color face daily. If educators...

Questions

Question (1)
Question
I am interested in using Boyatzis' thematic analysis, but I have not seen any research that uses thematic analysis or other specific qual methods on surveys.
For clarification, I have 310 survey responses from Black women about their reading of a specific genre of literature. I don't believe the data can be reduced only to numbers.

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Projects

Projects (4)
Project
Black girls are constantly searching for accurate and nuanced portrayals of Black girlhood in the books they read, so it is necessary to ensure they have access to stories presenting various perspectives of Black girlhood. However, the literature used in research with Black girls and the books receiving accolades for the representation of Black girl protagonists are often confined to realistic fiction, nonfiction, historical fiction, and poetry. Of course, stories centering reality and history are important as they assist readers in understanding the significant place of Black people in history and modern society, but Black children, generally, and Black girls, specifically, need a balance of stories that highlight their pasts, presents, and possible futures. In this project, then, we will work with Black girls to broaden the meta-narratives used to define them. Specifically, this project will work to honor Black girl voices as they use time-honored (Coretta Scott King Award) criteria to examine speculative fiction texts by Black authors; expand the texts available for Black girlhood by finding and recommending speculative fiction books; provide guidelines for literacy stakeholders and parents seeking to select books that acknowledge the imaginative; and offer concrete strategies for including the speculative within a Black girl literacies framework (Muhammad & Haddix, 2016).