American Studies

Tevel Pele - Poetry and Social Movements

After graduating from UC Berkeley in the Spring of 2022, Tevel moved back to Los Angeles to pursue economic justice and equity work at a non-profit. She hopes to continue that work through librarianship and start her Master’s of Library and Information Science in the Fall of 2024.

Area of Concentration Courses

Africam 164: Spoken word: Oral Tradition
L&S C138: Art and Activism
English 165: 21st Century Poetry
Pubpol 192AC: Social Movements, Organizing, and Policy Change
Complit 100A: The Good Life
Amerstd 102: The Wall: History, Literature. Art, Performance on and about the U.S.-Mexico Border


The People’s Poetry and Social Movements: Lessons from American Poets, Organizers and Non-profit Leaders in Twenty-first Century Movement-Building

The intersection of poetry and social movements explores a historically repressed or lost aspect of American culture. The people’s poetry, that of the non-academically involved and working class, has been a source of intimate healing and creative expression for Americans by occurring on slam poetry nights at local city bars or between a poet and their journal after the latest nationally televised devastation. Tevel’s honors thesis brings attention to the intersection for the practical purpose of inquiring how community organizers could use the people’s poetry as a tool for strategic movement building. The people’s poetry often fails to leave community spaces when it could be equally effective in empathy, message building, and training those being organized in leading social movements.

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