I designed this site— Education, Liberation, and Black Radical Traditions in August of 2012. Its original vision and purpose were to offer a place for my students to more dynamically engage the content of course materials. Newly focused on multimodal texts and pedagogy, I wanted to think/do more about Black visual spaces, from the very first moment that I decided on a favicon and background image. Then I started blogging here by tracing the impact of Sylvia Wynter on me— she is the only reason I ever became an academic/scholar/thinker because of the depth and integrity she brings to that project and way of life. Today, this is the main space that archives all of my digital projects across the internet.
For the most part, this is a website about my teaching and research interests (which I see as inseparable). By “teaching,” I do not mean discussions of lesson plans and learning outcomes, all of which I find to be simplistic, atheoretical, and anti-intellectual. Classrooms, pedagogies, and educational institutions are so much bigger than the professing of isolated, individualized, decontextualized strategies. By teaching, I mean the distinct lenses into the social and political issues that we sustain or rupture in the institutional spaces of classrooms and schools.
Starting in fall of 2012, I housed my syllabi and corresponding classroom activities here. In fall of 2013, my first year writing courses worked as a kind of critical inquiry into Rhetoric, Justice & Public Writing in the 21st Century, issues that I think young people can and must lead the way on. Starting in spring of 2013, my teaching on this website involved undergraduate courses on African American Women’s Rhetoric. Graduate courses related to African American Literacies and Education: The 20th and 21st Centuries also inspired my teaching. Since those opening years, I have focused on courses related to gender studies, digital humanities, Black language, and Black feminisms. Since my classes incorporate more and more online databases, videos, music, and digital archives, I have multiple digital platforms that collect, store, and organize— all of which link back here… as HOME.
Instead of doing these kinds of classes privately, my digital spaces give me a chance to translate my classroom pedagogy to a public pedagogy. I remain excited about the kinds of changes this has and will continue to bring to my thinking, the experiences that I will have with students, and the real, lived connections that I make to research and scholarship. Insomuch as the materials and dialogues on this site can help other critical educators imagine classroom spaces that move towards radical, liberatory pedagogies, I am opening the texts of my classrooms to any who might be interested in witnessing them. I offer my own research and scholarship here as a glimpse into the talk that I am trying to walk each day.
I see myself as a critical educator committed to making real the Black Radical Tradition as a process for how we approach and do curricular content, instructional methods, political beliefs, and aesthetic dispositions for schools and classrooms. I am continually drawn to Cedric Robinson’s emphatic position that culture and consciousness determine social choices and behavior as much as and alongside the materialist reproductions of a society. Race, ethnicity, sexuality, nation, disability, and gender set forth powerful procedures and practices for who can shape knowledge and, therefore, who will represent value and how. Robinson’s insights on the changes in capitalism offer us ways to think about what can come next in terms of building new consciousness: new racial capitalism shows us just how unstable categories of race and globalization have always been; there are new “Folk of Color” alliances that capitalism and power simply have not anticipated that we can explore and explode. Put most simply, I believe the Black Radical Tradition asks us to draw new power from the cultural insights, grounded analyses, and activist commitments of our historical experiences and makes us confident that the questions and answers that we need in order to confront racial oppression are always right there for us.
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My only loyalties are to the morally just world; and my happiest and most stunning opportunity for raising hell with corruption and deceit are with other Black people. I suppose that makes me a part, an expression, of Black Radicalism. ~Cedric Robinson