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Undoing Whiteness in the Classroom


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Table of Contents

Contents: Virginia Lea/Erma Jean Sims: Introduction: Undoing Whiteness in the Classroom: Different Origins, Shared Commitment - Catherine Kroll: Imagining Ourselves into Transcultural Spaces: Decentering Whiteness in the Classroom - Ann Berlak: Challenging the Hegemony of Whiteness by Addressing the Adaptive Unconscious - Erma Jean Sims/Virginia Lea: Transforming Whiteness Through Poetry: Engaging the Emotions and Invoking the Spirit - Rosa Furumoto: Future Teachers and Families Explore Humanization Through Chicana/o/Latina/o Children's Literature - Babatunde Lea/Virginia Lea: Polyrhythms as a Metaphor for Culture - Roberta Ahlquist/Marie Milner: The Lessons We Learn from Crash: Using Hollywood Film in the Classroom - Karen McGarry: Destabilizing Whiteness and Challenging the Myth of Canadian Multiculturalism: The Couple in the Cage and Educulturalism - Denise Hughes-Tafen: Black Women's Theater from the Global South and the Interplay of Whiteness and Americanness in an Appalachian Classroom - Eileen C. Cherry-Chandler: Educultural Performance: Embodiment, Self-Reflection, and Ethical Engagement - Judy Helfand: Inviting an Exploration of Visual Art into a Class on American Cultures - Virginia Lea/Erma Jean Sims: Imaging Whiteness Hegemony in the Classroom: Undoing Oppressive Practice and Inspiring Social Justice Activism - Cathy Bao Bean: Figuring the Cultural Shape We're In - Pauline Bullen: Black Woman "Educultural" Feminist - Carlos Aceves: One is the Sun: Mesoamerican Pedagogy as an Adjunct to Undoing Whiteness in the Classroom - Virginia Lea/Erma Jean Sims: Afterword: Educulturalism in the Service of Social Justice Activism.

About the Author

The Editors: Virginia Lea received her Ph.D. in social and cultural studies in education from the University of California, Berkeley. She sees her research and teaching as a means of developing greater understanding of how whiteness hegemony contributes to global inequities. She lives a commitment to greater socioeconomic, political, and educational equity. Erma Jean Sims received her J.D. in law from the University of California Hastings College of the Law. She uses her classroom as a social justice laboratory, raising the consciousness of pre-service teachers about the complexities of racism and whiteness and empowering them to engage in social justice activism.


"Teacher educators who are working for social justice need to read this book. In this highly readable edited volume, Lea and Sims show how the arts tap powerfully into emotions and unspoken assumptions to disrupt the intellectualism that blocks authentic dialogue about racism and whiteness in so many teacher education courses. 'Undoing Whiteness in the Classroom' unpacks the philosophy and practice of educulturalism - art linked to social activism. Using personal story-telling, authors share well-conceptualized, arts-based approaches that invite teachers to grapple with, question, and begin to challenge whiteness. This book is a terrific resource!" (Christine Sleeter, Author of 'Facing Accountability in Education: Democracy and Equity at Risk') "Lea and Sims embody the best of educational academia because they live the research that is the focus of this book: undoing whiteness in the classroom. I first met these two women, when they with many others, were trying to stop a Eurocentric textbook from becoming the main source of history information for America's schoolchildren. They have taught and struggled around issues concerning social justice and equity inside and outside of the educational system, and their accumulated wisdom and that of the other contributors fills this book." (Kitty Kelly Epstein, Author of 'A Different View of Urban Schools: Civil Rights, Critical Race Theory, and Unexplored Realities') "In 'Undoing Whiteness in the Classroom', Lea and Sims magnificently combine their thirst for social justice, their visionary leadership in dismantling racism, and their passion for art and culture. Lea and Sims ingeniously connect critical multicultural and anti-racist pedagogy with educulturalism, defined as 'an activist learning process' that incorporates music, the visual and performing arts, narrative, oral history, and critical dialogue. They give voice to a group of accomplished scholar activists and the processes they use to engage their students in the creative deconstruction of racism and hegemony. They offer tomorrow's educators practical but critical activities for simultaneously fighting injustice and tapping the cultural capital of marginalized communities, including story quilts, Chicana children's literature, Black women's feminist thought, and pre-Columbian math. The book provides teachers and teacher educators with realistic and meaningful classroom activities aimed at disrupting white privilege in a classroom setting. Lea and Sims acknowledge that challenging whiteness is a difficult process, but one in which white students are more likely to participate 'if they do not feel blamed for embodying it' (Lea and Sims, introduction). By reading this book, those who are committed to educational justice will add to their repertoire of educational theories and pedagogy and engage in the process of undoing whiteness, creatively, artistically, and critically." (Theresa Montano, Associate Professor of Education, Department of Chicana/o Studies, California State University, Northridge)

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