Profs publish book on pushing 'social justice' in class

Toni Airaksinen
New York Campus Correspondent

  • The anthology includes chapters on using learning to “engage with social justice,” the link between “ethics and social justice,” and using personal narratives to “fight for social justice in the classroom,” among others.
  • Most contributors to the anthology are college professors.
  • Two professors just published an entire anthology dedicated to teaching educators how to infuse their curriculum with “social justice concerns.”

    The book, Promoting Social Justice Through the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, published by Indiana University Press, was spearheaded by Georgia Southern Professor Delores Liston, and Regina Rahimi, who teaches at Armstrong State University.

    "[T]eachers must recognize their role as one as one of mentor, even peer, on the journey towards greater justice in society."   

    Teachers should use both “critical pedagogy” and “transformative practice” in their classes to promote social justice, Rahimi and Lison argue in the book’s introduction.

    Critical pedagogy, they say, refers to “a variety of perspectives that encourage learners to think critically,” including “multiculturalism, postmodernism, deconstructionism, constructivism, black feminist thought, critical race theory, and critical race feminism.”

    These theories must then be implemented through “transformative education” or “transgressive practice,” both of which refer to the “use of critical pedagogy to engage students in the ‘practice of freedom,’” Rahimi and Liston note.

    Central to uplifting students is the recognition of students’ “lived experience.” The oppressed, the professors say, “know their own social locations,” and therefore have “epistemic privilege” that gives them access to unique forms of information.

    Therefore, teachers should not assume students know nothing.

    “The role of the teacher is not to deposit bits and bytes of knowledge into students. Rather, teachers must recognize their role as one as one of mentor, even peer, on the journey towards greater justice in society,” the pair write.

    The anthology includes chapters on using learning to “engage with social justice,” the link between “ethics and social justice,” and using personal narratives to “fight for social justice in the classroom,” among others. The majority of contributors are college professors.

    According to her CV, Liston, the lead co-editor, takes a feminist approach to teaching.

    “I have studied the problematic forces of conservatism, capitalism and racism, and have found that integrating feminism with spiritual and poetic language can generate practical solutions,” she writes.

    “My goal is to participate as a teacher-educator in re-forming the American cultural consciousness through teaching courses in philosophy, ethics and feminism,” Liston added.

    Campus Reform reached out to Rahimi and Liston for comment, but neither responded in time for publication.

    Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Toni_Airaksinen





    Toni Airaksinen

    Toni Airaksinen

    New York Campus Correspondent
    Toni Airaksinen is a New York Campus Correspondent, where she reports on free speech issues and social justice research. She is a senior at Barnard College, majoring in Urban Studies and Environmental Science. She is also a columnist for PJ Media, and formerly held a post with USA TODAY College, The Columbia Spectator, and Quillette.
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