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praxis

Robust Imaginaries
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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.

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Contact

Karla Aguilar
Program Coordinator
Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership
karla.aguilar@kzoo.edu
269-337-7033

Teaching is a Political Act: The Case of Ayotzinapa

By Lucy Guevara-Vélez

"they were taken alive, we want them back alive"

More than 50 student and workers groups in Mexico called for a Global Day of Action last weekend to mark the nine-month anniversary since 43 students from Ayotzinapa went missing. The main demand was for the government to open up new investigations on the missing students. Here, scholar Lucy Guevara-Vélez reflects on the disappearance of the 43 pre-service teachers in 2014 and the Tlatelolco massacre in 1968.

In 2003, I travelled to Mexico City to complete a Tinker Summer Research Grant at the Universidad Autonoma de México (UNAM). At the time, I was also working on a Master’s degree in Latin American Studies and was deep into understanding the impact of revolutionary ideologies and activism in Mexico. I not only gained critical consciousness and the language to comprehend the hegemonic motives behind United States intervention in Latin America but also recognized that in no way was Latin America only a victim. Latin America had its own history of dirty wars, dictatorships, and human rights abuses.

When I stepped onto the UNAM campus, I thought about what it meant to be a student at that university in 1968 and be witness to protestas (protests) and marchas (marches) led by the Consejo Nacional de Huelga. Representing 70 universities and high schools, this student group organized against police brutality and the repressive nature of Mexico’s authoritarian regime under President Díaz Ordaz and the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI). The government felt so threatened by its youth that it created a batallón Olimpia—a secret police squad that used violent tactics to silence the student movement. Continue reading →

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#Charlestonsyllabus

Prayer Vigil for the Nine Victims of the Charleston Shooting

Praxis Center gives thanks to the educators who conceived of #Charlestonsyllabus, compiled the list of readings, and disseminated this rich inventory of resources. #Charlestonsyllabus is reprinted here with permission.

#Charlestonsyllabus was conceived by Chad Williams (@Dr_ChadWilliams), Associate Professor of African and Afro-American Studies at Brandeis University. With the help of Kidada Williams (@KidadaEWilliams), the hashtag started trending on Twitter on the evening of June 19, 2015. The following list was compiled and organized by AAIHS blogger Keisha N. Blain (@KeishaBlain) with the assistance of  Melissa Morrone (@InfAgit), Ryan P. Randall (@foureyedsoul), and Cecily Walker (@skeskali). Special thanks to everyone who contributed suggestions via Twitter. 

Here is a list of readings that educators can use to broach conversations in the classroom about the horrendous events that unfolded in Charleston, South Carolina on the evening of June 17, 2015. These readings provide valuable information about the history of racial violence in this country and contextualize the history of race relations in South Carolina and the United States in general. They also offer insights on race, racial identities, global white supremacy and black resistance. All readings are arranged by date of publication. This list is not meant to be exhaustive–you will find omissions. Please check out #Charlestonsyllabus and the Goodreads List for additional reading suggestions.

#Charlestonsyllabus is more than a list. It is a community of people committed to critical thinking, truth telling and social transformation.– Chad Williams

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Charleston and American Values

By Denise Miller

“…it is not permissible that the authors of devastation should also be innocent. It is the innocence which constitutes the crime.” ― James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time

It is important for me to be able to write this today. In the wake of this horrific crime in Charleston, to keep the families of these murdered in our hearts and minds, please take this space for a moment of silence. Continue reading →

Comments on Charleston and American Values

Gail Griffin says:

What Denise is saying here is so important: We MUST keep insisting that the slaughter in Charleston (and the other depredations against black people) be seen in context. One way to keep change from happening is to keep on decrying these explosions of racism as individual, isolated events, exceptions to the rule, and therefore inexplicable. What happened at Mother Emanuel was horrific, but not at all inexplicable. I also want to draw attention to the shooter’s mastery of the old trope “raping OUR women.” I’m trying to write something about what white women’s response to that absolutely must be.

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