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Clark University Home > Academic Catalog

Clark University    
 
    
 
  Sep 22, 2017
 
2017-2018 Academic Catalog

ID 220 - Critical Pedagogy for Social and Environmental Justice: Liberal Arts Education in Practice


This course is a community-engaged intellectual exploration of ways to make your college education relevant to contemporary struggles concerned with social and environmental justice. We do so in the light of two difficult challenges. First is a far cry for production and dissemination of applied knowledge helpful for students to “Become a leader, collaborator, and creative thinker poised to solve the most daunting challenges of our time.” Such learning needs to be should be connected with the “lived-in” experiences of students while in school and what they students aspire to do after they leave school. Secondly there is a widespread recognition that traditional views of education often entertained the notion that teaching should be apolitical, leaving values outside class room and only focus on disciplinary content. This view does not make a distinction between politics inherent in the disciplinary contents and methods of teaching. So the our learning endeavors will not be vulnerability to reinforcing dominant patterns of power and privilege and is itself therefore, hence inherently political. We need to change our methods of learning in the classroom in ways that blurs the boundaries between the academy and the requirements for students to engage in real world problems.
The course is based on the premise pedagogy is a set of political, economic and cultural relationships that reflect the dominant social arrangements in society. Education is political activity closely interwoven with the economy and culture. Then the issues power and powerlessness have to be a part of the classroom learning experience to uncover these arrangements. This course does not begin with a discussion of politics, but political framings and implications of teaching and learning. That is we will unpack the political economy of teaching and learning in the liberal arts system. Then it explores the pedagogical theories and practices that contribute to social and environmental justice. Issues related to social and environmental justice through an interdisciplinary examination of historical, cultural, social, political, economic and environmental issues in the contemporary world. The goal is to help students to deepen their understanding of social justice issues and develop skills to engage in social justice related issues.
The course will not only contribute to our understanding of social justice and environmental justice as a construct of inquiry will provide empower the students. It is an exploration of the relationships among oppression, power, society, education, and change and examines how history, power, economics, and discrimination shape societal perspectives and schooling practices, and considers ways to transform pedagogical practices. Two unique features of this course are student engagement with the activist organizations and activists conducting panel discussions in the class room. Hopefully during the semester both the instructor and the students will learn new ways to make liberal arts education relevant to issues faced in the modern world.

Capstone eligible seminar.

Anticipated Terms Offered: Fall or Spring