Lauren Kelly, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Urban Social Justice Teacher Education, focuses her research and teaching on youth identity, culture, and social justice in ways that empower young people to shape their worlds rather than simply find a place in it. These themes are centered in the development of culturally relevant curriculum and pedagogy for pre-service teachers. Dr. Kelly strives to create a path towards equity and social justice through education and strongly believes that understanding the interaction between language and power is an important component of this work.
Dr. Kelly taught high school English for ten years in New York where she also developed courses in Hip Hop Literature and Culture, Spoken Word poetry, and Theatre Arts. Driven by her engagement with hip-hop culture and community since childhood, she often brought music into the high school classroom when teaching to cultivate classroom community and critical consciousness. Kelly received her bachelor’s degree in English with a particular focus on African American literature and Black feminist theory; her master’s in Adolescent Education; and her Ph.D. in English Education. Kelly was also the recipient of a Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at Boston University, studying the development of critical consciousness amongst high school students. Kelly’s current research focuses on adolescent critical literacy development, Black feminist theory, Hip Hop pedagogy, critical consciousness, and the development of critical, culturally sustaining pedagogies.
In addition to her teaching responsibilities, Dr. Kelly is a member of professional educational organizations, including the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), the Literacy Research Association (LRA), and the American Educational Research Association (AERA), through which she also serves as co-chair of the Hip Hop Theories, Praxis, and Pedagogies special interest group. She also directs the Hip Hop Youth Research and Activism (HHYRA) program, which brings together youth from across the northeast to share research, art, and ideas in an intergenerational teaching and learning community rooted in Hip Hop culture and youth activism.
• B.A. in English, Wesleyan University (2004)
• M.S. in Adolescent Education, St. John’s University (2008)
• Ph.D. in English Education, Teachers College, Columbia University (2016)
• American Educational Research Association (AERA), Member
• National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), Member
• International Literacy Association (ILA), Member
• Conference on English Education (CEE), Member
• Literacy Research Association (LRA), Member
Expertise & Research Interest
Critical media literacies
Critical consciousness development
Critical hip-hop literacies
Culturally responsive pedagogy
Black feminist theory
Recent & Selected Publications
Seider, S., Clark, S., Graves, D., Kelly, L. L., Soutter, M., El-Amin, A., & Jennett, P. (2019). Black and Latinx adolescents’ developing beliefs about poverty and associations with their awareness of racism. Developmental Psychology, 55(3), 509.
Kelly, L. L. (2018). A snapchat story: how black girls develop strategies for critical resistance in school. Learning, Media and Technology, 1-16.
Seider, S., Kelly, L.L., Clark, S., Jennett, P., El-Amin, A., Graves, D., … & Cabral, M. (2018). Fostering the Sociopolitical Development of African American and Latinx Adolescents to Analyze and Challenge Racial and Economic Inequality. Youth & Society.
Kelly, L. L. (2018). In search of power and identity: A Hip-hop autobiography. In C. Emdin & E. Adjapong (Eds.), #HipHopEd: The Compilation on Hip-hop Education. New Milford, CT: Sense/Brill Publishers.
Kelly, L.L. (2019). Lessons from a Black feminist critical scholar. In B. Love, V. Evans-Winters, & B. Waters (Eds.), The Lauryn Hill Reader. New York, NY: Peter Lang.
Kelly, L.L. (2017). Digitally documenting oral histories. In L. Christenbury & K. Lindblom, Continuing the journey. Urbana, IL: National Council for Teachers of English.
Kelly, L.L. (2018). Hip Hop Based Education Movement. In T. Riggs (Ed.), St. James Encyclopedia of Hip Hop Culture. Detroit, MI: St. James Press.
Honors & Awards
Boston University School of Education, Postdoctoral Research Fellowship
St. John’s University New York City Teaching Fellowship
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