Radical Pedagogies

Together we will read about the history and geography of schooling in modern Europe and the U.S., learn about different pedagogical approaches and the ways in which pedagogies can be used to challenge or reinforce existing social inequalities. Students will analyze texts and discuss the merits of different pedagogical approaches to dealing with issues related to class, gender, sexuality, and nationality in the classroom. We will also discuss contemporary educational debates about educational funding, grade inflation, and national rankings. (Co-taught with Mary Curran, a Cultural Geographer)


Required Readings

Ira Shor. Empowering Education: Critical Teaching for Social Change. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992.

James W. Loewen. Lies my Teacher Told Me: Everything your American History Textbook Got Wrong. New York: Touchstone, 2007.

Paulo Freire. Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Translated by Myra Bergman Ramos. New York: Herder and Herder, 1970.

bell hooks, Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom. New York: Routledge, 1994.

School of Barbiana. Letter to a Teacher. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1970.

Ivan Illich. Deschooling Society. New York: Harper & Row, 1970.

Esmé Raji Codell. Educating Esmé: Diary of a Teacher’s First Year. Chapel Hill: Algonquin Books, 2009.

Irina Livezeanu. Cultural Politics in Greater Romania: Regionalism, Nation  Building, and Ethnic Struggle, 1918-1930. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2000.

Alessandro Pes. “Becoming Imperialist: Italian Colonies in Italian Fascist Textbooks for Primary Schools.” Journal of Modern Italian Studies. 18/5 (2013): 599-614.

Samuel Bowles and Herbert Gintis. Schooling in Capitalist America: Educational Reform and the Contradictions of Economic Life. New York: Basic Books, 1976.

Martin Carnoy, and Henry M Levin. Schooling and Work in the Democratic State. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1985.

Peter Stearns. Anxious Parents: A History of Modern Childrearing in America. New York: New York University Press, 2004.

Jonathan Kozol. Savage Inequalities: Children in America’s Schools. New York: Harper, 1991.

Diane Ravitch.  Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Public Schools. New York: Vintage, 2014.

Caffilene Allen, “First they Changed my Name,” Ms. (1994): 25-27

Lisa D. Delpit, “Acquisition of Literate Discourse: Bowing Before the Master?” Theory into Practice. 31/4 (1992): 296-302.

J. C. Walker, Louts and Legends: Male Youth Culture in an Inner City School. Sydney: Allen & Unwin, 1988.

Hunter College Women’s Studies Collective, “Women and Education,” in Women’s Realities, Women’s Choices: An Introduction to Women’s Studies. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005, pp. 303-339.

Stephanie Jones, “Relationships Inside School: Teacher as Potential Threat,” in Girls, Social Class, andLiteracy: What Teachers can do to Make a Difference,Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 2006, pp. 101-111.

Deborah P. Britzman, “Queer Pedagogy and its Strange Techniques,” in Meiners, Erica R, and Therese Quinn eds. Sexualities in Education: A Reader. New York: Peter Lang, 2012, pp. 292-308.

Janet Pollak, “Lesbian/Gay Role Models in the Classroom: Where Are They
When You Need Them?” in Linda Garber ed., Tilting the Tower: Lesbians/Teaching/Queer Subjects. New York: Routledge, 1994, pp. 131-134.

Chandra Talpade Mohanty, “Under Western Eyes: Feminist Scholarship and Colonial Discourses,” boundary 2, 12/13 (1984): 333-358.


Class Discussions

Discussion of course themes

Re-writing the syllabus

How to teach the Black Civil Rights Movement

Marxist pedagogy

Feminist pedagogy

Educating peasants

Education without schools

Elementary education

How to teach American heroes

Education and the state

Ideology and the syllabus

Schools as institutions

Reproducing class

Class in the classroom

Film: Blackboard Jungle (1955)

Grade inflation in twentieth century America

Managing inequality

Funding Connecticut schools

Charter schools


Religious education

Educating against ethnicity

Boys and Masculinity

Girls and Education


Stereotyping in the classroom

Teaching Non-Western Others

History Textbooks



You are required to write ten short essays reflecting on readings and discussions for each topic. Each essay should address both the required readings and the class discussions.

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