Dreaming of Otherwise Worlds and Alternate Nows: Unsettling Colonialisms and Racism in the Social Foundations of Education
Following a year promising change and racial “reckoning,” 2021 was a year of settler colonial retrenchment, the assertion of white political dominance, and conservative backlash. The seemingly never-ending health pandemic continued with ongoing surges related to Coronavirus variants and higher numbers of infection, especially of children. Across the country, school board meetings became sites of physical altercations and shouting matches as conservative parents and advocacy groups threatened school board members over mask mandates, vaccination requirements, and online learning. Conservative Pundits and politicians turned classrooms into political battle grounds over how race is taught in schools, tightening their grip over the settler grammars of schooling (Calderón, 2014). A majority of states implemented or are in the process of legislating laws that dictate how teachers can discuss current events and the United States’ history of racism. Such laws prohibit students from earning credits for civic activities, including the right to protest, and aim to directly or indirectly ban what they believe to be Critical Race Theory as teachers work to teach about the racist history of the United States. Curricula like Nikole Hannah-Jones’ New York Times 1619 project, and Indigenous affirmations such as In Lak’Ech and Ashé in Ethnic Studies were banned. Meanwhile, laws that constrict the ability of Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) voters to participate in elections, attacks on Affirmative Action, and bomb threats at HBCUs have proliferated. As these events unfolded, vast numbers of teachers, exhausted from wavering Covid-19 guidelines, shifting between online and face-to-face instruction modes, and challenges from district administrators and parents, have exited the teaching profession. BIPOC communities continued to face racial discrimination, microaggressions, anti-Blackness, and murder as features of normalcy. BIPOC men and boys are regularly criminalized and murdered by police, such as 13-year old Adam Toledo in Chicago, while Black womxn continue to be marginalized in conversations and advocacy surrounding police brutality. Meanwhile wars have been waged against Trans* and gender non-binary, gender expansive children and youth through racist misogyny and feminicide as evident by the number of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Womxn, Girls and Two Spirit #MMIWG2S. The murders of six Atlanta area Asian/Asian American women, revealed the Anti-Asian, Pacific Islander and Desi hate and Islamophobia that bring to light the intersections of racism, heteropatriarchy, and sexism. Needless to say, 2021 was a year of unveiling truths about how much settler capitalism relies on extracting labor from teachers and low wage workers. It also unveiled the truths about how much racism and anti-Blackness was an animating force of belonging for so many conservatives, but also for liberals with real shortcomings that allowed only limited space for performative ways to be “allies.”
While we could sink into the bleakness and violence, we lean on one another to rise because 2021 also unveiled the unwavering commitment to social change, solidarity, healing and kinship within BIPOC communities and coconspirators. Knowing the legacy of collective action, community activism, and social movements that honors the survivance of those who came before us, and in a spirit of solidarity, this call for papers pivots away from what could seem like a bleak future. As a counter-stance, this call for the 2022 AESA Conference is a call to meet as communities who learn from each other, to devise anti-colonial strategies and ignite conversations and action-steps for anti-colonial future/presents, alternative elsewheres and nows (Grande, 2015), other-world making, otherwise worlds (King, Navarro, Smith, 2020), and the potentiality of the present. It is a call to embrace the strength in the ways that BIPOC communities and our coconspirators have collectively created empowering alternatives, uplifted each other, held community together, grieved with others, witnessed, and transgressed in the face of such retrenchment and backlash. In continuity with past conference themes, we embrace the survivance and enduring legacies of our ancestors, both academic as well as family, and the saberes of our pueblos in the face of global colonial capitalist dispossession and environmental degradation, racism, and a global pandemic as the lessons and medicines we carry. We dream for our future/present, alternate nows, elsewheres, queering figurations, and potentialities that give us the capacity to share intense love, joy, desire, happiness, creativity, as well as rage and fury. As the late humanist, feminist, public intellectual, social critic, educator, and poet, bell hooks (1994) reminds us, “The moment we choose to love we begin to move towards freedom, to act in ways that liberate ourselves and others” (p. 298). We honor bell hooks’ legacy as she rests in power and celebrate the push to imagine and actualize different worlds, otherwise worlds, as collective projects of hope, love, co-labor, healing and communality to cocreate the classrooms, schools, learning, and curricula we imagine.
As cultural workers, education scholars, teacher educators, teachers and students committed to a critical, anti-colonial social foundations of education, these are the generative themes we encourage to consider for submission:
· Think of our own practice as teacher educators, other than K-12th , what implications do we want to consider for higher education/teacher education/graduate student education?
· What is the historical and contemporary significance of the social foundations of education in anti-colonial and anti- anti-Blackness struggles?
· How is the work of social foundations of education grounded in, and in collaboration with local BIPOC and working poor community needs?
· What are some of the relationalities between social foundations of education and ethnic studies, Native and Indigenous Studies, and Indigenous and Womxn of Color feminisms and geographies?
· How can the American Educational Studies Association push beyond the contrivances of the academy that reproduce liberal thought, politics, and desires?
· What can we learn from our dreams for our future/present, our alternate nows, elsewheres, queering figurations, and potentialities that give us the capacity to share intense love, joy, desire, happiness, creativity, as well as rage and fury in the face of adversity?
· How do we honor our relations as we celebrate the push to imagine and actualize different worlds, otherwise worlds, as collective projects of hope, love, co-labor, healing, and communality to cocreate the classrooms, schools, learning, and curricula we imagine?
The following are also generative themes to consider:
re/pairing, restoring, re/storying, healing, mind-body-spirit, learning from the Land, re/connecting, settler moves to innocence, taking action, embodiment, re/surgence and refusal, collectivities of sovereignty, academic survivance, Black joy, Black love, radical hope, radical love, humanizing education, abolitionist futures, queering education, housing insecurity
Proposals related to educational studies that are not specific to this theme are also welcome.
Luis Urrieta, Jr.