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TRUMP TEACH-IN: Teaching Social Justice in Comparative and International Education

Tue, March 7, 10:00 to 11:30am, Sheraton Atlanta, 3, Grand Ballroom D&E (South Tower)

Session Submission Type: Special Session

Description of Session

As comparative and international educators, we are committed to global engagement, social justice, and educational and cultural exchange. Yet in the current political climate, our work is imperiled by attempts to construct walls on the Mexican border, restrict Muslim immigrants, and denigrate the idea of America as a destination for refugees. This historical moment raises many questions for our field that need to be urgently addressed. As educationists what should we do when faced with an administration that denies facts and science? How can CIES scholars and practitioners function in the current atmosphere of suspicion and insecurity created by undermining the truth? How can we teach about human rights and global justice in situations when we have to protect our students and colleagues or face opposition from conservative groups in our classrooms or on our campuses? How can we sustain the energy not to turn a blind eye to what stands in fundamental opposition to what many of us believe to be right and just in a diverse and open society?

Whether you are teaching courses in comparative or domestic education, globalization, post-colonial studies, peace, human rights, politics or education policy, the growing tides of xenophobia, racism, and ethnic violence spurred by Trump’s orders and decrees are relevant to all of us. As a community of scholars we serve an important role in standing in opposition to policies that repudiate climate science, revive discredited theories and models of education, and insight violence and racial hatred through made up stories and alternative truths. Standing up for the truth and democracy — which is, after all, one of the most important roles of higher education — requires thoughtful strategies of intervention and support.

Teaching for social justice - as a form of political engagement with the Trump Administration’s unjust policies and support they have received from conservative groups - requires not only knowledge and passion about these critical issues, but also planning, awareness raising, organizing, support, training, and action. We propose an open forum to share some of our engagement and emerging work in this area and to discuss the role of the academy in this troubling time.
This 90-minute town hall meeting will provide an open forum for co-learning and collaboration. After an open plenary discussion we hope to create small breakout spaces to share various experiences with teaching and organizing approaches for those of us working in the field including, for example:
• the ethical and political dimensions of teaching resistance in light of global issues we face;
• developing resources and support structures for international and undocumented students;
• what it means to take a dialogic approach to facilitating learning in diverse, international contexts;
• what is and how to become a sanctuary campus;
• what are strategies and examples of opportunities to bring together local activists and elected officials to engage with the larger themes and questions we face to our classrooms and campuses?

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