is a native of Detroit, Michigan. ?An accomplished writer and teacher, Muhanjihas
won important literary awards for her work, including the Lambda NewFiction award
for her novelHer, and the Before Columbus Book Award forTight Spaces,an
anthology of shortstoriesthat portray life in America forBlack women. ?Sheearned
her Ph.D.in English, anthropology, andAfricanAmerican World Studies from the
University of Iowa. She recentlyretired as afaculty member of Portland University,
Dr. Muhanji argues jazz as metaphor, where this uniquely American artform
represents the democratic ideals wherein the collective--in traditionaljazz thehorn,
drum, bass, and piano--plays together, solos, and thenreturns as acollective. This
democratic ideal inherent in this art form isthat everyone getsto solo and everyone
plays together--to form, if youwill, "a more robust union."
Dr. Muhanji approaches teaching social justice the same as themetaphor ofjazz:
The diverse "dissonant" notes from children's stories,anthropologicaltexts, novels,
plays, scientific victories and blunders, thewar in Iraq, all servenot to bring harmony
to the classroom, but rather tocreate a robust andrigorous sound, in which race,
class, gender, andsexuality are exploded.
one of her recent presentationscan be foundhere.
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