Our age of resurgent white supremacy requires critical pedagogies of race and racialization. As educators, we are positioned to shape the horizon of the politically possible through engaging students. Yet teaching race is tricky. Miseducation in US K-12 classrooms is commonplace, and some students arrive without basic historical knowledge of racial capitalism, forged in the crucible of slavery and theft of Native lands, and persistent in new forms today. The complexity of racialization requires moving beyond the common binary of black and white to include the diverse experiences of other racialized groups, while still recognizing anti-blackness and settler colonialism as core dynamics of US exceptionalism. There are also pragmatic challenges. Students arrive with vastly different lived experiences of race and racialization. White students, or others with racial privilege, may resist learning about whiteness, or other means of turning toward practices of power and privilege. Educators can expect microagressions in the classroom, even as institutional support to gain competency in navigating racially diverse classrooms is often inadequate. Instructors of color and women may experience more push back when teaching critical perspectives on race than white educators and men.
Despite the challenges, teaching race provides a vital frame for students to see the linkages between critical theoretical frameworks--adequate to the complexity of the concrete--and effective, justice oriented action, that is, to engage with praxis. By rooting race and racialization in specific spaces, with deep histories, geography offers an important set of theoretical resources to help students grasp the processes, stakes and political possibilities of our current moment. Indeed, teaching about racialized space--borders, prisons, sacrifice zones, immigrant detention camps, the plantation, suburban enclaves, ghettos, and slums, to name a few—provides important resources to ground theory and engage students.
This panel will discuss coping devices, knowledge production politics, pedagogical practices, and possible forms of academic resistance. We will also discuss real-world instances in which academic freedom was deprived, and how these instances affect teaching race in geography.
Organizers: Brian Jordan Jefferson and