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Socially Responsible Education in an Age of Anti-Blackness: Core Curricula and Black Studies as Strategic Sites for Cultivating Racial Literacy and Antiracist Ethics

Rand, Jawanza Kalonji (2023) Socially Responsible Education in an Age of Anti-Blackness: Core Curricula and Black Studies as Strategic Sites for Cultivating Racial Literacy and Antiracist Ethics. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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For several years now, we are witnessing a glaring uptick in tactical, political, and inimical assaults on student access to information, curricula, pedagogy, personnel, resources, and programs related to cultivating/advancing racial literacy in U.S. public schools. In several “red” and “purple” states across the nation, public schools are no longer preserved spaces that allow or encourage educators and students to investigate historically accurate, socially relevant, and diverse forms of scientific and cultural knowledge. The Coronavirus trifecta—pandemic-quarantine-shutdown—of 2020 brought the nation to the brink of various racial and social crises. This confluence of ill-timed circumstances set the stage for a series of unprecedented events that followed. At the University of Pittsburgh, what unprecedented looked like in June 2020 was (1) Black students’ demands for required coursework in Black Studies for all undergrads being immediately embraced and widely supported by governing bodies; (2) then greenlighted by top administrators in about a week’s time, and (3) then resulting in a required course being implemented within two months. Building on the 20-year evolution of racial literacy in Education research and practice, this study investigates and chronicles the creation of the university course, PITT 0210: Anti-Black Racism: History, Ideology, and Resistance, and then explores and examines student responses and outcomes to this course in Black Studies—designed and instituted as part of the core curricula. The findings suggest that racial literacy and antiracist ethics can be cultivated/advanced in [university] students when core curricula are strategically utilized as sites to offer critical and accurate instruction on racism, antiracism, anti-Blackness, Black Studies, and by extension: social problems, social justice, ethics, equity, (de)colonization, and Ethnic Studies. Ultimately, the systematic cultivation of racial literacy and antiracist ethics through courses like PITT 0210 is implicated as a relevant, responsive, and socially responsible curricular intervention and public education priority.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Rand, Jawanza KalonjiJKR29@pitt.eduJKR290000-0001-9345-5730
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairGunzenhauser, Michael
Committee CoChairThompson Dorsey,
Committee MemberMilner, H.
Committee MemberDelale O'Connor, Lori
Committee MemberTaylor,
Date: 21 September 2023
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 1 June 2023
Approval Date: 21 September 2023
Submission Date: 23 August 2023
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 382
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Administrative and Policy Studies
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Racial Literacy, Antiracist Education, Critical Race Studies, CRT, Social Ethics, Black Studies, Anti-Blackness, Socially Responsible Education, Core Curricula, Public Education Policy
Date Deposited: 21 Sep 2023 20:51
Last Modified: 21 Sep 2023 20:51


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