Teaching for Social Justice & Democracy Speaker Series

Discover ways you can integrate current social issues into your course to better engage your students and help them to develop their social, emotional and expressive capacities. The Teaching For Social Justice & Democracy Series focuses on instructional strategies that Georgia State University faculty have used to successfully incorporate social justice themes into various subject areas and the resulting positive student outcomes.

Fall 2017 Series


Friday, October 13
2 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
The Pedagogical Value of Diversity
Speaker : Dr. Tanya Washington, GSU College of Law, Professor of Law

This summer I was the Director of the 2017 John Lewis Fellowship Program, which is a program created and run by Humanity in Action in Partnership with the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. I was fortunate to participate in the selection of the 30 fellows from across the US and from 7 European countries, who spent the month of July using Atlanta and its civil rights legacy as a classroom. I deliberately created a diverse mix of fellows based on race, faith, ethnicity, sexual orientation, ability, gender, class and geography. My talk will examine the challenges and value of an intentionally heterogeneous learning environment, and the skills I employed to take advantage of the synergy inherent in such a space.


dr-makungu-akinyelaFriday, November 10
2 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Education as an Experience of Freedom: African centered pedagogy and social justice
Speaker: Dr Makungu M. Akinyela, GSU Department of African American Studies, Associate Professor

This talk will explore the principles and practices of liberatory education in the African American tradition as it intersects with critical pedagogy. I will be particularly focused on its application in the historical and current education in the African American community. The talk will examine applications of critical pedagogy in both primary and higher education arenas with a particular focus on what it means to “teach for freedom” and to teach students with an eye on social justice in an asymmetrical social context. I will review applications of critical pedagogy and its focus on cultural and social context of both students and teachers and the relationship of education to social development and social change. I will particularly be interested in discussing pedagogical practices in and outside of the classroom which give students and teachers the experience of democracy as a means of teaching about democracy. This often requires subverting traditional teacher / student relationships in much the same way that social relationships in the broader context must be subverted in order to achieve the goals of social justice.


gholdy-headshotFriday, December 8
2 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Protest, Power and Possibilities: Agitation Literacies of Black Muslim Girls
Speaker: Dr. Gholdy Muhammad, GSU College of Education & Human Development, Middle and Secondary Education

Agitation Literacies are practices of reading, writing, thinking, speaking and performance that is connected to the intention and action to upset, disturb, disquiet and unhinge systemic oppression. These practices are connected to the ways in which Black people have historically used the power of language to bring forth awareness of sociopolitical issues and social change to improve the conditions of Black lives. Continuing this tradition, in this talk, Dr. Muhammad unpacks the need to agitate given the current racial and political violence of people color in the United States. She then explains what this means for reimagining urban education. Examples of Agitation Literacies are provided from an annual collective called, Black Girls WRITE, which featured the writings from Black Muslims girls.

Spring 2017 Series Recordings

Pedagogy for Racial-Social-Justice with Dr. Joyce King and Dr. Brian Williams

Between Malcolm X and 9/11: Islam and Politics in Today’s Political Climate with Dr Abbas Barzegar 

The Pedagogy of Social Justice, Art and Activism 
Speaker : Dehanza Rogers, Cornell University 

Recording in process.
In this lecture, Rogers will discuss ways you can integrate social issues into your course to better engage your students and help them to develop their social, emotional and expressive capacities.Following the lecture attendees will examine how to take seemingly disparate idea and topics and craft meaningful substantive engagement with students.

Fall 2016 Series Recordings

Black Lives Matter as a Pedagogy of Empowerment with Dr. Amani Marshall

Student and Professor Positionality: Talking about Sensitive Racial Topics in a Racially Diverse Classroom with Dr. James Ainsworth

Teaching Black Resistance: Looking Back So We Can Move Forward with Dr. Akinyela Umoja, Chair and Professor of African – American Studies

Related Video

Learning in the Age of Social Media with Dr. Megan Boler

More Resources

In addition to her talk, Dr. Boler prepared these teaching resources and links related to “pedagogies of discomfort” and controversial issues/events. If you’re interested in helping students engage with issues related to race, class, gender, religion, or other justice-related issues, check out these resources.