This article explores the course objectives, pedagogy, and texts/assignments of the course “Gender, Race and Activism.” Learning about the historical traditions of social movements is critical for today's students. They need social justice role models in order to understand what has changed as a result of people's organized and individual efforts over time, and to learn from the successes and challenges of past movements in order to know that change is not only possible but that they, too, can be change agents. When students are exposed to the depth and breadth of activist histories - histories of which they have little to no knowledge - they think more critically about their own education in terms of what stories they have been taught and what/who have been left out. They also become inspired by the successes and challenges of past movements and seek more knowledge, including tools to effectively engage in social activism themselves. Indeed, the underlying premise of the course is to have students make connections between history, theory, and praxis. By instructing students to conduct social justice action projects, the course creates a bridge between historical knowledge and informed activism. The students leave the course more historically informed and better equipped to address present-day challenges. “Gender, Race and Activism” is one requirement of the WILL program at the University of Richmond, which combines coursework in women, gender and sexuality studies with community activism and leadership opportunities for women students.
Research Article|October 01 2008
Bridging the Divide: Connecting Feminist Histories and Activism in the Classroom
Radical History Review (2008) 2008 (102): 63-72.