11 September 2017

Resources for Anti-Racist Pedagogy

As a scholar who "grew up" in anthropology decades after the crisis of representation debates emerged, I am well aware of the colonizing power dynamics in our discipline's past, and how these power relations continue to reverberate through our work today. But, what does it look like to address these kinds of questions in the everyday of our classrooms?

In 2013 I took a teaching course offered through my university's Teaching Commons. It was free for students to complete and was specifically directed at Teaching Assistants, who do the bulk of small-classroom teaching and assessment for larger lectures at my university. It was a really valuable experience, and I learned a lot about things like pedagogy in general and creating and evaluating assessment tools.

During this semester and since, one of the questions that I have kept coming back to has been how to create inclusive classroom spaces for all of my students.

How do I strike the right balance for inclusivisty in my teaching between my intersectional privileges, the diverse identities and experiences of my students, and the course content? 

As anthropologists, we may be used to critiquing the complexities and nuances of power relations and underlying structures in the context of our research -- but are we examining or accounting for our own positionality in the classroom, vis-à-vis our students, our topics, our pedagogical choices...?

Hopefully, yes -- even if it demands an ongoing process of growth, including missteps and teachable moments for ourselves and our students. I'm sure we can all think of a few of these missteps, and what we've learned from them.

It's with these questions and issues in mind that we share some new resources for anti-racist pedagogy, and point up a few more of these kinds of discussions from previous posts and pages:

There Is No Apolitical Classroom: Resources for Teaching in These Times (2017, National Council of Teachers of English)
  • This page contains a wealth of resources on anti-racist pedagogy. These resources are not intended for university-level educators, but offer important points for reflection, strategies, and approaches for thinking about race/ racism and other forms of discrimination in the classroom grouped under headings like: Resources for Working with White Students, Resources for Understanding White Supremacy, Resources for Understanding Bias, and additional articles.
Inquiry into Practice: Reaching Every Student Through Inclusive Curriculum (2011, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto)
  • This edited volume includes discussions of research into a variety of classroom issues, especially in the Canadian context. Again, these chapters are not directed at university-level educators, but are written by academics specializing in education. The end of the document also includes an annotated reading list of further resources that "have been selected for their relevance on issues of inclusion in the Canadian context, their focus on classroom practice and strategies, or their ability to raise awareness of individuals or groups in society" (2011, 124). Resources include texts as well as multi-media sources.
From anthro everywhere! here are a few relevant posts and pages for thinking about anti-racist pedagogy, collegiality, and the role/ perspective of anthropology: