Robust Imaginaries
Informed Practice

Welcome to the Praxis Center, an online resource center for scholars, activists and artists hosted by the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership at Kalamazoo College. From action research and radical scholarship to engaged teaching and grassroots activism to community and cultural organizing, and revelatory art practice, we make visible imperative social justice work being done today.

Praxis is
the synergy between
theory and practice,
knowledge and relevance,
ideas, images, and the real.

Subscribe for



Morgan Mahdavi
Program Coordinator
Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership

Remembering Grace Lee Boggs-The Evolution of American Revolutionary

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

By Grace Lee

Grace Lee Boggs died Monday at the age of 100. She captured the hearts, minds, and imaginations of people from all walks of life. “We have to change ourselves in order to change the world,” Grace said, and that is what she did. She lived the life she believed in and her vision of justice and human connection, her life of struggle, and her revolutionary thinking served as an example and inspiration for many of us.

Last year Grace Lee, the filmmaker of the Peabody award-winning documentary American Revolutionary, wrote this piece for Praxis Center about the making of the film and how “Grace’s presence – in Detroit, in the world, and in my imagination – has helped transform my own thinking.” We share these words now as a tribute to Grace Lee Boggs, beloved American Revolutionary. Continue reading →

Socialist Politicians In A Capitalist World

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

by William C. Anderson, Race, Class and Immigration, Contributing Editor

When President Obama was running for office to secure his first term in the White House, an age-old claim used to smear politicians, activists, and celebrities in the U.S. appeared about him. He was labeled a socialist. As far back as McCarthyism and even before that, people have been blacklisted, imprisoned, and even killed for being described as such.

President Obama denies the “charge” of socialism, but the term itself was favorable with 36% of people across the country around the time. Socialism was still overwhelmingly viewed as negative by conservatives, but not with liberals.  A more recent poll found that 43% of millennials favor socialism as opposed to capitalism. Though much more will be needed than good approval ratings from millennials, a steadily progressing acceptance might be aiding the slow growth of openness around this political identity. Still, despite the excitement created by candidates and politicians who identify as socialist, we should reserve praise for their delivery of socialist policy and not just for the title. Continue reading →

Black on Black Pride: In Celebration of Olivia, Annalise, and Cookie

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

By Stephanie Shonekan, Art, Music and Pop Culture Contributing Editor

I never watch the Emmy Awards. Never! But last night I settled down in front of the television because several incredible black actresses were nominated. To be perfectly honest, I subjected myself to what felt like ten hours of bad jokes and annoying ads because of these gifted black actresses, and it was completely worth it.  As a black woman, I was excited and proud to see them all gain recognition from the mainstream media machine, and when Regina King, Uzo Aduba, and Viola Davis were announced as winners, I was ecstatic.  That moment when presenter Taraji P. Henson gave Regina King an extra-long sistah-hug on stage, in front of millions of viewers, captured the essence of black pride I felt last night.

Viola Davis - image by Hollywood Take

There has never been a time when there have been this many primetime mainstream lead roles for black women, among them, Viola Davis as Annalise Keating on How to Get Away with Murder (HTGAWM), Taraji P. Henson as Cookie Lyon on Empire, and Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope on Scandal. It is significant that these shows are not on BET or TVOne (or the defunct UPN network) where major black audiences have easy access to them. Instead, these shows have inserted themselves and their stories into the consciousness of mainstream America. As I tell my students every year, you cannot underestimate the power of pop culture.  When friends and acquaintances of varying ethnicities talk excitedly about these characters, I feel myself nodding as if these women are my sisters. And, I will freely admit, there is something that happens deep in my spirit when I watch my daughters and son watch these shows. I feel a sense of pride that they are able to see these beautiful complex characters played by strong black women who lead their respective shows with such talent and brilliance. Continue reading →

1 2 3 30