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

dr-lakeyta-bonnetteFriday, September 8
2 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
More than Music: Using Hip Hop to Discuss Social Justice
Speakers : Dr. Lakeyta Bonnette, GSU Department of Political Science, Associate Professor and Stic Man, American Rapper, Activist and Author

In 2017, Hip-Hop culture celebrates its 44th year of existence as a cultural form in America. Since its beginning Hip-Hop has expanded beyond the borders of the United States to serve as a political, social and cultural art form in many nations and among many ethnicities and races throughout the world. Not only has rap experienced an increase in the diversity of its audience and artists, but it has also seen an increase in the political activities rap artists are participating in and an increase in the global impact of rap music on political movements. The music and activities of the Hip-Hop community are critical as a voice for marginalized communities in its ability to disseminate knowledge, facilitate awareness, and promote mobilization and action for many social injustices. This talk will discuss ways in which you can incorporate Hip-Hop culture to discuss issues of social justice domestically and internationally.



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.  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 11
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


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.