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Class Acts - Ashley Clemons

Ashley Clemons Cal PolyAshley Clemons / English Department

Specialty Area: African American Literature

What is/has been your favorite class to teach?
I enjoy teaching African American Literature from 1945 to the Present: Black Vernacular and Music. Black speculative and science fiction is also exciting to teach. 

If you were stranded on a desert island and could bring one book, what would it be?
"The Complete Collected Poems of Maya Angelou (1994)" by Maya Angelou.

How/why did you choose to work at Cal Poly?
Cal Poly’s thrust of Learning by Doing aligns with my pedagogical style. From the moment I met my colleagues, I knew that I would join a group of thoughtful and brilliant educators/scholars. I am interested in regional archives, especially the Octavia E. Butler Papers housed in the Huntington Library. The California beaches were quite convincing as well. 

What are your research/scholarly pursuits?
My manuscript focuses on Detroit’s contemporary Black music, media power, literature, and cultural productions. My archival work underscores the legacies of lynchings in former Black towns. 

What is your favorite class/student moment?
I always enjoy student collaboration. One moment that stands out is when my a few of my students created a podcast episode on Black Horror Films and “Driving While Black.” 

Are there any scholars or individuals that have inspired you?
Yes, I am inspired by Melba Joyce Boyd, Toni Morrison, Maya Angelou, jessica Care moore, Dr. April Bell, Dr. Delia Steverson and my parents. 

What is one thing you wish your students knew about you?
I wish my students knew that I was a first-generation college/grad student so that my experiences may motivate them. 

What are your hobbies/extracurricular activities?
I enjoy writing poetry, sketching, painting, and volunteering for the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America. 

Do you have a favorite getaway location?

What is a fact about you that few know?
Few people know that I self-published a book of poetry. 



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