Harvard Educational Review
  1. Winter 2016 Issue »

    Brown Bodies and Xenophobic Bullying in US Schools

    Critical Analysis and Strategies for Action

    In this essay, Monisha Bajaj, Ameena Ghaffar-Kucher, and Karishma Desai pre­sent an evidence-based action project that seeks to interrupt and transform bullying behaviors directed at South Asian American youth in schools in the United States. In the context of this essay and project, they argue that larger macro-level forces which promote misinformation about youth who inhabit brown bodies have given rise to bullying and, in some cases, harassment and hate crimes in schools. Conventional literature on bullying offers inadequate frames for how the forces of Islamophobia—which affect all those perceived to be Muslim—and bullying come together to shape realities for South Asian American youth in schools. The authors advance new frameworks and strategies for understanding xenophobic and bias-based bullying and explore schools as sites of possibility to interrupt Islamophobia and misinformation about South Asian Americans. 

    Click here to access this article. 
    Monisha Bajaj is an associate professor of international and multicultural education at the University of San Francisco, where she directs the MA program in Human Rights Education. She is also a visiting professor and research fellow at the Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice at the University of the Free State, South Africa. Bajaj is the editor and author of six books, including Schooling for Social Change: The Rise and Impact of Human Rights Education in India (Bloomsbury, 2012), which won the 2012 Jackie Kirk Outstanding Book Award of the Comparative and International Education Society, as well as numerous articles. She has also developed curricula—particularly related to peace education, human rights, antibullying efforts, and sustainability—for nonprofit organizations and intergovernmental organizations, such as UNICEF and UNESCO. She is the recipient of a National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation postdoctoral fellowship (2009), the Teachers College, Columbia University Distinguished Alumni Early Career Award (2015), and the Ella Baker/Septima Clark Human Rights Award (2015) from Division B of the American Educational Research Association. Most recently, Bajaj coauthored an addendum on transformative human rights education to the 2016 report of the Global Citizenship Commission, chaired by former British prime minister and UN Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown. 

    Ameena Ghaffar-Kucher is a senior lecturer in the Literacy, Culture, and International Education Division at the University of Pennsylvania, where she is also the associate director of the International Educational Development Program. Her research has focused on the socialization, academic engagement, and civic commitments of migrant children and youth, especially those from Muslim communities in the United States. Her practitioner work has been around teacher education and curriculum development in the United States and abroad through local and international nongovernmental
    organizations, USAID, and UNESCO. Ghaffar-Kucher is a coeditor with Lesley Bartlett of the award-winning volume Refugees, Immigrants and Education in the Global South: Lives in Motion (Routledge, 2013), the winner of the 2013 Jackie Kirk Outstanding Book Award of the Comparative and International Education Society. Her work has been published in the American Education Research Journal, Race Ethnicity and Education, and International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education. She is on the advisory board of MTV’s antibias “Look Different” public awareness campaign and was in the inaugural cohort of the American Anthropological Society’s Council of Education’s Concha Delgado Gaitan Early Career Presidential Fellows. 

    Karishma Desai is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Curriculum and Teaching at Teachers College, Columbia University. Her dissertation is a multi-sited ethnography that investigates how girlhoods are produced in transnational girls’ education campaigns and nongovernmental programs in New Delhi and New York City. She has more than a decade of experience as a K–12 teacher, school administrator, and professional development consultant in both US and international contexts. 
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    Winter 2016 Issue


    Brown Bodies and Xenophobic Bullying in US Schools
    Critical Analysis and Strategies for Action
    The Origins of Classroom Deliberation
    Education in the Shadow of Totalitarianism, 1938–1960
    Hip-Hop Citizens
    Arts-Based, Culturally Sustaining Civic Engagement Pedagogy
    Teaching Mathematics for Spatial Justice
    Beyond a Victory Narrative
    Grade Repetition and Primary School Dropout in Uganda

    Book Notes

    Data Literacy for Educators
    Ellen B. Mandinach and Edith S. Gummer

    Transforming the Academy
    Edited by Sarah Willie-LeBreton

    Call 1-800-513-0763 to order this issue.