2020 Protest Pedagogy/Black Lives Matter Selected Teaching Resources

Here’s a short list of resources for university instructors and students that have been published or initiated – or have belatedly appeared on my radar – over the past week. It’s purposefully broad in scope, some pedagogical development, some personal development, some general (essential) reading.

For a very thoughtful discussion about the limitations of sharing anti-racist reading lists without further pedagogical guidance, see What Is an Anti-Racist Reading List For? by Lauren Michele Jackson. I think it strikes at the core mission of university instructors to foster new ways of thinking and cultivate new habits, not just deposit facts to those who are poorly prepared to think through them. [NB: There is a selection bias below for the humanities and religious studies.]

Syllabus Content/Readings

1. Institutionalized Racism: A Syllabus [JSTOR Daily]

“The United States has seen escalating protests over the past week, following the death of George Floyd while in custody of the Minneapolis police. Educators everywhere are asking how can we help students understand that this was not an isolated, tragic incident perpetrated by a few bad individuals, but part of a broader pattern of institutionalized racism…The following articles, published over the course of JSTOR Daily’s five years try to provide such context.”

2. 8 Minutes and 46 Seconds: Selections from the Archives of City & Society on Racism, Policing, and Protest [“Virtual issue” of journal City & Society containing free access articles, edited by Julian Brash, Sheri Lynn Gibbings, and Derek Pardue]

“In keeping with our responsibility to cultivate a national and international community of critical scholars of urban life, the editors of City & Society offer this selection of articles, accessible to all, from our archives as a small act of solidarity with all of those outraged and bereaved by the unjust deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade and so many others.”

3. Black History Month Library [Google Drive via Charles Preston]

A sizeable collection of black authors’ works (as pdfs) arranged by genre and author’s name.

Critical/Anti-Racist Pedagogy

1. Naming Resistance and Religion in the Teaching of Race and White Supremacy: A Pedagogy of Counter-Signification for Black Lives Matter [article by Martin Nguyen for Race & Pedagogy Journal, Vol. 4, No. 3]

“The need to bring religion into our teaching of race and white supremacy is critically important, but by simply naming it, we take the first step in inviting our students to understand the how’s and why’s of it. The pedagogy of naming described herein, which is inspired by the #BlackLivesMatter movement, is theoretically grounded in the theory of signification and counter-signification developed by scholars of religion, Charles H. Long and Richard Brent Turner…Specifically, the study draws upon teaching units from my Black Lives Matter course in order to address how a critical analysis of Christian privilege and Christonormativity, Islam, and religious history can figure into critical engagements with race and white supremacy.”

2. Journal of the American Academy of Religion – Roundtable on “Religio-Racial Identity” [Vol. 88, No. 2; six articles plus introduction, need institutional access]

“Religious studies has a race problem. If recognition of a problem is the first step in addressing it, then calling out our race problem should draw our attention to the seemingly self-evident categories, questions, and modes of analysis through which we study ‘religion.'” (Laura McTighe)

3. Scaffolded Antiracism Resources [Google Doc via Anna Stamborski, Nikki Zimmermann, and Bailie Gregory]

“This is a working document for scaffolding anti-racism resources. The goal is to facilitate growth for white folks to become allies, and eventually accomplices for anti-racist work.”

Chart used as part of an “Integration” activity in the above resource. Derived from Dwight Turner’s “‘You Shall Not Replace Us,’ White Supremacy, Psychotherapy, and Decolonization,” British Journal of Medical Psychology 18(1), pp. 1-12.

4. Essential BLM Reading [Google Doc]

A tightly curated and annotated bibliography (with links) to several influential authors, including works on pedagogy (Freire, Fanon, Baldwin, Davis, etc.)

Additional Resources

1. BLM Resources Master Doc [Google Doc]

Massive list of links to websites and other resources regarding potential donations locations, useful organizations, important petitions, protest resources, and general anti-racism resources.

2. How I’ve Implemented an Anti-racist Approach in My Teaching [Alyshia Gálvez, blog post]

One scholar’s practical approach to critically analyzing your syllabus

I have attempted to curate this list with new resources or items that speak directly to the current protest movements arising around the globe. There is a history of excellent research on anti-racist/decolonizing education that I do not attempt – nor would I have the requisite knowledge – to cover here; I suggest searching for phrases such as: “anti-racism syllabus,” “anti-racist pedagogy,” “decolonizing the syllabus,” and “protest as pedagogy,” among others, as a start. Endless gratitude to my friends and colleagues who alerted me to the existence of several of the resources above.

[An earlier post with resources about teaching with equity during the COVID-19 pandemic can be found here: 2020 Pandemic Pedagogy: Selected Resources]

*Frontispiece: Local artists painting plywood boards in downtown San Diego, June 2020. Photo by Peter Romaskiewicz.