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Activist Art in Social Justice Pedagogy

Engaging Students in Glocal Issues Through the Arts, Revised Edition

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Barbara Beyerbach, R. Deborah Davis and Tania Ramalho

Artists have always had a role in imagining a more socially just, inclusive world—many have devoted their lives to realizing this possibility. In a culture ever more embedded in performance and the visual, examining the role of arts in multicultural teaching for social justice is a timely focus. In Activist Art in Social Justice Pedagogy approaches to using activist art to teach a multicultural curriculum are examined and critiqued. Examples of activist artists and their strategies illustrate how study of and engagement in activist art processes glocally—connecting local and global issues—can deepen critical literacy and commitment to social justice. This book is relevant to those (1) interested in teaching more about artist/activist social movements around the globe, (2) preparing pre-service teachers to teach for social justice, (3) concerned about learning how to engage diverse learners through the arts, (4) teaching courses related to arts-based multicultural education, critical literacy, and culturally relevant teaching. As we think more broadly we address the question "why does a ‘social justice through the arts in education’ approach make sense"; describe examples of preservice teacher assignments examining artists’ roles in activist movements, promoting multicultural understanding and social justice; and share approaches to and examples of using the arts in the United States and abroad to deepen multicultural comprehension and teaching for social justice.

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About the author

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BARBARA BEYERBACH, Ph.D., is a professor at SUNY at Oswego. She also serves as a co-director of Project SMART, a teacher professional development program aimed at creating urban/rural partnerships in K–16. Beyerbach is co-editor (with R. Deborah Davis) of “How Do We Know They Know?”: A Conversation About Pre-Service Teachers Learning About Culture and Social Justice (2009). R.DEBORAH DAVIS, Ph.D., is a professor emerita at SUNY at Oswego and a co-director of the Teacher Opportunity Grant. Davis is the author of Black Students’ Perceptions: Persistence to Graduation in an American University (2007). TANIA RAMALHO, Ph.D., a Brazilian American, is professor at SUNY at Oswego. She teaches critical literacy and pedagogy in the Curriculum and Instruction Department. She serves as a board member of the International Journal of Development Education and Global Learning, associated with the University of London’s Institute of Education and the London Development Center.

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