Every four years, the Race & Pedagogy National Conference welcomes more than 2,000 local, regional, national, and international participants to engage issues of race and to discuss the impact of race on education. Each conference builds on the success of the last and contributes new perspectives to the conversation.
In asking “What Now?” the conference challenged us to align concepts of education and justice in ways that call for conscience, critique, and change. The conference offerings included critical models of teaching of science and race; reexamination of the criminal justice system including the problem of disparities in discipline in our schools and its connection to a pipeline to prison as part of our nation’s mass incarceration that has been characterized as the “New Jim Crow;” innovations in public education including recruitment and retention of teachers of color, culturally responsive teaching, and other efforts to achieve equity; methods of documenting and researching social struggles; and explorations of institutional change processes.
We assembled an impressive roster of high profile keynote speakers for the conference: civil rights activist, prison abolitionist, and professor Angela Davis; indigenous and environmental rights advocate and former Green Party vice presidential candidate Winona LaDuke; Harvard professor and director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research, Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr.; and sociologist and Duke University professor, Dr. Eduardo Bonilla-Silva.
Presenters and participants took part in dialogue, questioning, redefining, and exploring the following: The critical moments of possibilities and pitfalls in education, the arts, and society; innovations in partnerships for educational justice; and dilemmas and new directions in pedagogy about race.
Speakers included Professor Mark McPhail, University of Wisconsin–Whitewater; Professor Lani Guiner, Harvard Law School; President Freeman Hrabowski III, University of Maryland Baltimore County; Professor Richard Delgado, Seattle University, School of Law; and Professor Jean Stefancic, Seattle University, School of Law.
The first theme of this conference—race, knowledge, and disciplinarity—sought to explore the ways in which specific academic fields or disciplines negotiate the issue of race and the ways in which race enables and constrains the production of knowledge. The second theme, racial dynamics and racial performances in the classroom (and beyond), sought to explore the ways in which students and teachers behave inside and outside the classroom, and how these behaviors embody and perform race. The third theme, race, pedagogy, and community, sought to examine the ways in which students, teachers, administrators, and the educational institutions which they collectively constitute are situated within or in relation to broader communities.
Speakers included Cornel West, philosopher and political activist; Ernesto Martinez, University of Oregon; Hannah Maria Tavares, University of Hawai`i–Manoa; Lucius T. Outlaw Jr., Ph.D., Vanderbilt University; President Beverly Daniel Tatum, Ph.D., Spelman College; Kristin Klaaren, Randolph-Macon College; and Robert Moses, Ph.D., founder and president of Algebra Project Inc.