Preliminary Notes NCORE (Day 3-PM-2)



2:45-4:15 (Baltimore 5/Convention Center, Level 2)
75-Minute Concurrent Session

Social Justice Pedagogy Across the Curriculum

Curricular/Pedagogical Models

Lee Anne Bell, PhD, Professor, Director of the Education Program, Barnard College, Columbia University – New York, New York

Glen David Kueker, PhD, Associate Professor, Political Science Department, DePauw University—Greencastle, Indiana

Kamakshi Murti, PhD, Professor of German, Emerita, Middlebury College – Middlebury, Vermont

Rob Root, PhD, Associate Professor, Mathematics Department, Lafayette College—Easton, Pennsylvania

Kathleen Skubikowski, PhD, Associate Professor of English, and Assistant Dean for Instruction, Middlebury College – Middlebury, Vermont

Catharine Wright, Lecturer in Writing, Acting Associate Director of Writing, Middlebury College—Middlebury, Vermont

Kennedy Mugo, Student, Political Science, Middlebury College


•    Kathy: 3rd time coming together, 2005-06, supported by Mellon Foundation; produce collection of essays, second meeting; third time NCRE 23
•    Premise: social just classrooms need socially just academies; faculty are more willing to take pedagogical risks; social justice ed is the responsibility of faculty across the curriculum
•    Social justice education must move beyond a few faculty; has to be thought of a shared endeavor across constituency
•    Institutions have been challenged before; 1970s, writing across the curriculum asked faculty to step out of comfort field; digital technology challenge that has transformed the classroom, committing to spread IT across disciplines
•    Many liberal arts institutions are challenged by developing social justice work
•    We’re being asked to question our courses, perspectives, etc; a call to re-examine our own assumptions, making ourselves objects of inquiry
•    Sharing personal histories and disciplines


•    (Kamakshi): deliberative dialog –enable people to talk about difficult subjects
•    involves reading and thinking together; how to address and take action
•    humanities teacher has a challenge to bring this forth
•    general framework: identify an issue that is of common concern: discover other people’s interests, group in clusters, research, interviewing citizens, recognize tensions, list actions and test; convene community forums
•    (Kueker): conflict analysis began early in career; 2000, involved in Ecuador as an activist, then drawn to academic questions and writing about social movements – lead to an intersection of activism and academic work; 2006, writing about human rights and mining; firewall between activist work and academic work, following letters of protest from mining company; created an organization, non-profit: what happens when activist work runs into conflict with private goals and needs? What do we talk about when we speak about a socially just institution?
•    (Root): loose working group of mathematicians working since 2006 making the connection btwn social justice and mathematics; at least 3 points of contact btwn mathematics and social justice: (1) mathematical theory of social interaction (evolutionary game theory) – how is it we behave in cooperative ways? How do we get to a society that is fair and socially just?  We all care about motive; (2) mathematics as a tool to delineate and understand and work for social justice, such as theories of voting – could we create a voting system that eliminates vote splitting? Wealth and income inequality, seeing the trends, along with scarce resources; (3) using mathematics to rest equitable treatment that insists on competition and self-reliance – we need to first understand what we deserve? – math as social justice
•    for instance, looking at sustainability; or looking, in stats,  at wealth distribution inequality, which has been going on for 30 years; debt and access to credit to use these to understand interest payments
•   (Catharine): slaughter and conquest in standard English, bell hooks; what do we do not to hear the sound of slaughter in students’ writings and in our own; we can vary assignments – citizen scholar; balance emotional and cognitive, personal and academic; using the language of the senses, from all parts of our being; we can learn the language of scholarship, but include our emotional side; studying and observing and taking in our feelings as we study; social justice writing balances reason and emotion; varied writing assignments – formal, informal; how do we validate an informal paper?;  we can also assign personal papers
•    any faculty can read and re-educate; we tend to teach writing as it was taught to us
•   (Bell): artists and teachers and undergraduate to teach about race and racism in the arts; notion of story when interviewing gatekeepers in higher ed (several hundred interviews); people often told stories to get across a point: how can we use stories to get at social justice?; model on a white board: starts with “counter storytelling community”(informed by critical race theory) – how do we challenge stock stories that are told in mainstream curriculum?; “concealed stories” are not hidden, but suppressed and provide a lens for critiquing stock stories; “resistance stories,” that are in our lore about people who have challenged racism and have much to learn from; “emerging transforming stories” – emerge from a historical and social grounding, they have roots that we need to understand and connect to our history and are transforming – all this (hopefully) lead to change or new stock stories; used to frame a course on student teaching – used to look at stock stories about “white privileged” students going into the city to teach; also used to think about curriculum being used in classrooms
•    (Mugo): perspective as poli sci major; braindrain: a better education is always sought elsewhere, not in Kenya; class examples (1) intro to poli philosophy – “learning about our history” – she didn’t look at Mugo; switched off immediately; (2) international political economy: all data from the American political view (Middlebury from one perspective); (3) economics – learned models, concluding that models have not worked in the past because they were based on western economy; African economic development is not a part of the discourse; point of view is created by dominant class; students are not armed to empower the oppressed people: what’s the use of education if the educated can helped the oppressed?  Let’s all fit into the white man’s model; has come to learn what it is to be ‘invisible’

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