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This book explores the relationship between social justice practices and the Arts in Education. It argues that social justice practices, at their best, should awaken our senses and the ability to imagine alternatives that can sustain the collective work necessary to challenge entrenched patterns and practices. Chapters display a range of arts-based pedagogies for challenging oppressive practices in schools, community centers and other public sites. The examples provided illustrate both the promise and on-going challenge of enacting arts based social justice practices that can transform consciousness and organize action toward justice and social change. They show the power of arts-based pedagogies to engage the imagination, reveal invisible operations of power and privilege, provoke critical reflection, and spark alternative images and possibilities. They also show the importance of on-going critical reflection for this work with attention to both the specificities of place and the obstacles (internal and external) to maintaining a social justice stance in the face of contemporary neoliberal discourses.
This book was originally published as a special issue of Equity & Excellence in Education.
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Lee Anne Bell is Professor and Barbara Silver Horowitz Director of Education at Barnard College, Columbia University, USA. Her most recent book is Storytelling for Social Justice: Connecting Narrative and the Arts in Antiracist Teaching (Routledge, 2010) and she is co-editor of Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice: A Sourcebook (Routledge, 2007). She recently produced a documentary film about integration in Mississippi that powerfully exposes, through the recollections of those who lived through this historic period, the individual and institutional practices and impacts of racism in education (2013).
Dipti Desai is an Associate Professor and Director of the graduate program in art education at New York University, USA. As a scholar and artist-educator she is committed to addressing the formative role of visual representation and its politics in order to affect social change. She has published widely in the area of critical multiculturalism/ critical race theory in art education, contemporary art as a pedagogical site, and critical pedagogy. Her co-authored book History as Art, Art as History: Contemporary Art and Social Studies Education received an Honorable mention for the Curriculum Practice Category by Division B of the American Education and Research Association.
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