Akua Duku Anokye is an associate professor of Africana Language, Literature and Culture; an associate director of the School of Humanity Arts and Cultural Studies (HArCS) and director of New College International Initiatives, office of Interdisciplinary Global Learning and Engagement (IGLE). She earned a bachelor's degree from Michigan State University in audiology and speech science, a master's degree from Federal City College in audiology and speech science and urban linguistics and a master's and doctoral degrees in linguistics from City University of New York Graduate School and University Center.
A sociolinguist, her research focuses on African diaspora orality and literacy practices, folklore, discourse analysis and oral history with a specialization in Ghanaian culture, religion, storytelling and dance. Among her publications are essays “Oral Connections to Literacy” in Journal of Basic Writing, “Private Thoughts, Public Voices: Letters from Zora Neale Hurston” in Women: A Cultural Review, "Centering the Margins: Language and Learning Styles for Composition 2000" in Attending to the Margins, and "Go Back and Fetch It: A Method for Decoding Text" in The Subject is Reading. Other publications include, “Teaching Writing Teachers to Teach Writing” in Teaching Academic Writing (2008); “African American Vernacular English,” in Multicultural America: A Multimedia Encyclopedia SAGE (2013); “Standard Language Ideology and African American Vernacular English,” in The Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics (2012). Her book "Get It Together: Readings About African American Life," published by Longman, is an anthology of interdisciplinary readings that provide historical context for issues in the African American experience.
Anokye is currently working on a book "Nana Esi and Other People’s Children" about a Ghanaian ancestress and deity who serves as archetype for African diaspora women's literature and community mother activism. Anokye has received several grants for her work in Ghana, West Africa, on Nana Esi. Anokye’s work in oral history and on community mothers has led her to produce several documentaries on local African American women activists including Betty and Jean Fairfax and Judge Jean F. Williams, Fatimah Halim and others. She was selected as an Arizona Speaks presenter by the Arizona Humanities lecturing around the state on her larger work on African American pioneers in Arizona, and African and African American storytelling. In the classroom, Anokye uses her ethnographic work to encourage student community activism and engagement.
In 2004, Anokye was elected to a four-year term as chair of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC) “the world's largest professional organization for researching and teaching composition, from writing to new media.” In addition, in 2009, Anokye was invited by College Board and the U.S. State Department to conduct workshops with teachers from the Association of International Schools in Africa (AISA). She is past chair of the College Board’s Advanced Placement English Language and Composition Development Committee.
As director of New College international initiatives, she has collaborated with the social justice and human rights master's degree director to offer Internships on human trafficking and refugees seeking asylum. Students study human trafficking and refugees, volunteer with local agencies working in those two areas, travel to Ghana to intern with an NGO working on child trafficking at the end of the fall semester, and to Greece to work with several agencies working with refugees in the spring. This internship has become a signature program for the SJHR and IGLE collaboration bringing opportunities for social engagement to graduate and undergraduate students working in a variety of fields dealing with social justice. Most recently, Anokye was appointed as chair of the CCCC Task Force on Social Justice and Activism.