Harvard Educational Review
  1. Spring 2016 Issue »

    (Re)Imagining Black Boyhood

    Toward a Critical Framework for Educational Research

    Drawing on critical childhood studies, Michael J. Dumas and Joseph Derrick Nelson argue that Black boyhood is socially unimagined and unimaginable, largely due to the devalued position and limited consideration of Black girls and boys within the broader social conception of childhood. In addition, the “crisis” focus of the public discourse on Black males—focused as it is on adult Black men—makes it difficult to authentically see young Black boys as human beings in and of themselves. A critical reimagining of Black boyhood, the authors contend, demands that educators, policy makers, and community advocates pursue pedagogical and policy interventions that create spaces for Black boys to construct and experience robust childhoods. Further, a (re)commitment to critical research on Black boyhood should inspire inquiry that asks young Black boys who they are, what they think, and what they desire in their lives now. 

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    Michael J. Dumas is an assistant professor in the Graduate School of Education and the Department of African American Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. He is primarily interested in how schools become sites of Black material and psychic suffering and anti-Black violence, how disgust with and disdain for Blackness inform defenses of inequitable distribution of educational resources, and ways that anti-Blackness persists in education policy discourses and in broader public discourses on the worth of economic and educational investment in Black children. His recent publications have appeared in such journals as Teachers College Record; Discourse; and Race, Ethnicity and Education; and he was an invited contributor to the Handbook of Critical Race Theory in Ed-ucation (Lynn & Dixon, 2013) and the Handbook of Cultural Politics and Education (Leonardo, 2010). He is lead editor of a forthcoming special issue of Teachers College Record titled “Political Economy, Race and Educational (In)equality: Realizing and Extending the Radical Possibilities of Jean Anyon” and lead editor of the 2016 Yearbook of the Politics of Education Association, which has been published as a special issue of Educational Policy dedicated to the cultural politics of race.

    Joseph Derrick Nelson is a visiting assistant professor of educational studies at Swarthmore College and a senior research fellow with the Center for the Study of Boys’ and Girls’ Lives at the University of Pennsylvania. Nelson is a sociologist of education, a school ethnographer, and a teacher educator who employs interdisciplinary frameworks to examine the interplay of identity, culture, and urban schooling. His scholarship to date has explored how school culture influences Black boys’ identities; fostered their re-sistance to rigid gender norms; and interrogated how schools limit Black boys’ learning and engagement during childhood and early adolescence. These empirical projects led to publications with Teachers College Record; Culture, Society, and Masculinities; the Psychology of Men and Masculinity; and the guest coeditorship of a special issue on boys’ education with the Journal of Boyhood Studies. Nelson is currently on the executive committee for the MacArthur-funded Center for the Study of Men and Masculinity at Stony Brook University and serves as the education liaison for the NoVo-funded Project for the Advancement of Our Common Humanity at New York University. His research has been supported by the National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the International Boys’ School Coalition. In his hometown of Milwaukee, Nelson taught first grade for two years in a single-sex classroom for Black and Latino boys.
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    Spring 2016 Issue


    The Visible Hand
    Markets, Politics, and Regulation in Post-Katrina New Orleans
    (Re)Imagining Black Boyhood
    Toward a Critical Framework for Educational Research
    “Hitting the Streets”
    Youth Street Involvement as Adaptive Well-Being
    College Pride, Native Pride
    A Portrait of a Culturally Grounded Precollege Access Program for American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian Students
    La unión hace la fuerza
    Community Organizing in Adult Education for Immigrants

    Book Notes

    (Un)Learning Disability
    AnnMarie D. Baines

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