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Beacon Press: Race, Education, and Democracy

Race, Education, and Democracy: A Simmons College / Beacon Press Lecture and Book Series

In the spring of 2006, Beacon Press and Simmons College inaugurated a lecture and book series that we hope will reinvigorate a crucial national public conversation on race, education, and democracy. Each year, the series will bring to Boston prominent public figures to deliver a series of lectures that will become the basis of a new trade book published by Beacon.

Frederick Douglass, who famously lectured in Boston around the time Beacon Press was founded, called education the “pathway from slavery to freedom.” This new series aims to reestablish in the public imagination that historically felt connection between public education and the possibility of a robust democracy, against the backdrop of the realities of race today in America. We are delighted to have Beverly Daniel Tatum launch the series. We look forward to publishing many equally important books in the seasons to come. —Helene Atwan, director of Beacon Press

2014 Lecture Schedule | About the Series Lecturer | On the Same Track | Another Kind of Public Education | Can We Talk About Race? | More Information

2014 Lectures: "Hip-Hop and the Remix of Science Education: Which Way Forward?"


Series Lecturer: Dr. Chris Emdin

Christopher Emdin is Associate Professor in the Department of Mathematics, Science and Technology at Teachers College, Columbia University and Director of Secondary School Initiatives at the university’s Urban Science Education Center. Dr. Emdin is a 2013-2014 Caperton and Hip-Hop Archive Fellow at Harvard University’s Du Bois Institute and the author of Urban Science Education for the Hip-Hop Generation.

In 2008, Dr. Emdin received the award from the Association for Science Teacher Education (ASTE) for the “Best Paper for Innovation in Teaching.” In 2008, Arrive Magazine named him a “groundbreaking educator.” In 2008 he received the Phi Delta Kappa’s International Outstanding Dissertation Award and Phi Delta Kappa’s 2008-2009 Emerging Leader Award.

Dr. Emdin has co-authored proposals to start New York City Public Schools, taught mathematics and general science in middle school, physics and chemistry in high school and been a researcher on National Science Foundation funded-research projects.

Dr. Emdin’s research focuses on issues of race, class, and diversity in urban science classrooms, the use of new theoretical frameworks to transform education and urban school reform. He researches, consults and lectures on a variety of topics, including (STEM) education, urban education, school and classroom climate, and student engagement.

Dr. Emdin has distinguished himself as a scholar who effectively engages diverse audiences (academics, public school teachers, urban youth, hip hop artists, and scientists) using different platforms, from the traditional lecture to blogs, Twitter, YouTube and TED Talks. He has published articles in peer reviewed journals, made presentations at professional conferences and contributed chapters to edited books.

Professor Emdin is a columnist for the Huffington Post, where he writes the “Emdin 5” Series. He is founder and leader of the #HipHopEd hashtag on Twitter, a movement to engage the public on the intersections of Hip-hop and Education. He hosts a weekly conversation under this hashtag. Dr. Emdin’s commentaries on issues of race, culture, inequality and education have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Forbes, and Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Dr. Emdin is an accomplished young educational scholar, who seeks to address the underrepresentation of urban youth in the STEM disciplines. He graduated from a New York City public high school, enrolled in a New York City college, where his completed three science majors.

Dr. Emdin is open about his love of hip-hop, describing himself as member of the hiphop generation. He embraces identities that are too often viewed as incompatible, that of a science nerd and a member of the hip-hop generation.

He is committed to a science pedagogy that makes science accessible and compelling to urban youth. He is interested in expanding the image and ideas about who can be a scientist—to making the definition of a scientist compatible and coincident with hip-hop culture.

Professor Emdin seeks to popularize the notion that the genius of hip-hop is compatible with science genius. In partnership with GZA (Gary Grice), a member of the Wu-Tang Clan, whose love of science is well known, he developed the Science Genius B.A.T.T.L.E.S. In a pilot project, involving one science class in ten New York City schools, students wrote rap songs that captured the complexity of the science and lyricism of hip-hop. In a final competition at Columbia University, students’ performances of these rap songs were judged by a panel of scientists and hip hop artists.


2014 Lecture Schedule

March 29: From Rap Battles to Science B.A.T.T.L.E.S: Toward a Grounded Theory of Practice for Science Hip-Hop Education
10:00 am-12:00 pm., Cambridge Public Library, The Lecture Hall, 449 Broadway, Cambridge, MA

March 29: Hip-Hop and STEM Education: Possibilities, Problematics and Research
1:00 pm-3:00 pm., Cambridge Public Library, The Lecture Hall, 449 Broadway, Cambridge, MA

April 01: Reality Pedagogy: Teaching & Learning from the Student’s Standpoint
4:30-6:30 pm., Simmons College, Kotzen Center, 300 The Fenway, Boston, MA

All lectures are free and open to the public. The lectures are funded in part by the Lowell Institute. Please note that the first two lectures will be held on Saturday, March 29, 2014. The last lecture will be held on Tuesday, April 01, 2014 in the Kotzen Center.

For Directions to the College via car and public transportation, please click here.

To attend this lecture series, sign up today.


On the Same Track: How Schools Can Join the Twenty-First-Century Struggle against Re-segregation by Carol Corbett Burris

On the Same Track by Carol Corbett Burris

In On the Same Track, award-winning high school principal Carol Corbett Burris traces the origins of tracking, from its beginnings in the early twentieth century to today. Drawing on the latest research, Burris argues that the practice perpetuates de facto segregation in integrated districts, including those that were ordered by the courts to desegregate, and cautions that even some present-day reforms may in fact result in further racial and socioeconomic segregation.

“An important book that should be required reading for educators, parents and school boards.”
Kirkus Reviews (More)


Another Kind of Public Education: Race, Schools, the Media, and Democratic Possibilities by Patricia Hill Collins

Another Kind of Public Education: Race, Schools, the Media, and Democratic Possibilities by Patricia Hill Collins

One of America's most distinguished scholars of race shows us how public education needs to be seen in the light of the influence of “color-blind racism as a system of power.” Drawing examples from schools, media, and the workplace, Collins gives us a book of social analysis that is also an energizing handbook for change.

“In Another Kind of Public Education, Patricia Hill Collins skillfully melds high theory with everyday practice. . . . This book is both a treat and a treasure.”
—Gloria Ladson-Billings, author of The Dreamkeepers: Successful Teachers of African American Children (More)


Can We Talk About Race?: And Other Conversations in an Era of School Resegregation by Beverly Daniel Tatum, Ph.D.

Can We Talk About Race?: And Other Conversations in an Era of School Resegregation by Beverly Daniel Tatum, Ph.D.

Beverly Daniel Tatum emerged as a major commentator on race in America in 1997 with “Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?,” a book that changed the way many people think about racial identity and about the conversation about race in schools. Can We Talk About Race? is an accessible and engaging analysis of some of the most resonant issues in American education and race relations.

“Another thoughtful, personal and provocative book that will encourage discussion about many of the difficult issues still surrounding race in America-in and out of the classroom.” —Marian Wright Edelman, president, Children's Defense Fund (More)


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