BOOK: Wah Dih Story Seh? – By Buxtonian, Dr. Pauline Baird

BOOK: Wah Dih Story Seh?

Buxtonian, Dr. Pauline Baird is a cultural rhetorician whose work includes her 2016 dissertation project, “Towards a Cultural Rrhetorics Approach to Caribbean Rhetoric: African- Guyanese Women from the Village of Buxton Transforming Oral Histories.”

In 9 letters to Young Buxtonians and members of Composition and Rhetorics scholarly community, she explores the lived experiences of 5 African Buxton women drawn from Buxton, New York, Bahamas, in their own words and on their own terms. Dr. Baird employs linguistic practices of the village including Dem Seh and Wah Dih Story Seh as land-based frameworks useful for exploring community, land, and practices.      

Since 2016, she has been engaging in reciprocity by addressing the attendees of the 175 anniversary of the purchase of Buxton. She has continues to share her research widely in a monthly column “Wah Dih Story Seh? in the Buxton-Friendship Express news magazine. Doing so, she shares the knowledge she gained and made from the women. She returns it to the people so that it does not remain solely in the academy.  

Dr. Baird’s perspectives on social issues, cultural experiences, has prompted Guyanese and the global readership to write favorable responses to the editor. Sometimes they have made requests for her to write about topics of interest to them.

On July 8th 2018, Dr. Baird published her first book, sharing her dissertation message to families. This work is important because it promotes cultural conversational rhetorics between generations. Her express mission is to preserve, sustain, and teach Guyanese culture, one conversation at a time.

In the book Wah Dih Story Seh, she takes an African centered approach to connect people and practices beyond borders; thus, the characters range from ages 9 to 75. They are from the diaspora in New York and Antigua, from the continent of Africa, and the village of Buxton. She even includes the ubiquitous Water Frog to connect to the environment’s and provide prompts for reflection, research, and conversation.

Dr. Baird argues that when our children do not see and hear themselves, their people, and their language represented in text and other places, they may come to think that they and their people are not important. This book includes code-switching and instructions in and about speaking creolese. She provides readers with insight into orality and codes of conduct in village speech events. Speech acts and events are networks that undergird communities and African cultural continuities. To allay the fears of the “old people” who say that the young people don’t want to learn the culture, the traditions are fading, and the children “tune you out,” Dr. Baird responds. To the children in the diaspora who want learn Guyanese culture and do homework due the next day, she meets them where they are and can be! She provides a book available and a column in print and in digital spaces in accessible language. 

Digital images are done by Guyanese at IntellectStormin Georgetown.  Art work is by Buxtonian Lyndon Barton.  

Finally, everybody, and every “body” has story—our very greeting attests to that. Thus, Dr. Baird employs storytelling that can reach generations, long after our bodies depart after our lives have ended. 

Books can be purchased at Amazon, Kindle, and CreateSpace.

Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: