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Teaching for Racial Justice Symposium

Spring 2021 Symposium

You are cordially invited to participate in the Spring 2021 Teaching for Racial Justice Symposium, scheduled for May 6 and May 7. Each half-day professional development opportunity will feature keynote addresses, community-building breakout sessions, and a moderated Q&A with leading scholars of antiracist pedagogy.

The TRJ Spring 2021 Symposium will consist of two half-day events:

  • Visioning an Antiracist Writing Program, May 6 from 9:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m.
  • Visioning an Antiracist Writing Center, May 7 from 9:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m.

We invite you to participate in one of two ways:
1) Attend opening sessions and/or moderated roundtables on one or both days as your schedule allows. We especially encourage you to attend our moderated Q&A sessions, which feature excellent guest speakers.

“Directions in Antiracist Writing Pedagogy & Program Design” - May 6 from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
Featuring Aja Martinez (University of North Texas), Louis Maraj (University of Pittsburgh), and Ashanka Kumari (Texas A&M University—Commerce)
Register for the May 6 Symposium

“Directions in Antiracist Writing Center Work” - May 7 from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
Featuring Romeo Garcia (University of Utah), Frankie Condon (University of Waterloo), and Eric C. Camarillo (HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College)
Register for the May 7 Symposium

2) Apply to attend the complete symposium on one or both half-days. Participants at this level are expected to attend the opening session, moderated roundtable, and two breakout sessions (9:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. with two 15-minute breaks). Symposium participants will be compensated for their time by stipends based on role:

  • Breakout leaders $200
  • Breakout participants: $150

Apply to the Symposium

Sessions will run from 9:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. each day, with humanely scheduled 15-minute breaks between major events.

If you plan to attend all events on at least one day of the symposium, we encourage you to apply for a stipend of up to $200 per day. Your participation will help to shape plans for the 2021-22. Teaching for Racial Justice Colloquium, a yearlong series of events, workshops, and other professional development opportunities designed to promote antiracist pedagogy.

View instructions on how to apply for the stipend, a schedule for the symposium, and more details about the larger TRJ Colloquium.

What is the Teaching Racial Justice (TRJ) Initiative?
In 2020, the Office of the Chief Diversity Officer awarded an Early Adopter Teaching Race Across the Curriculum (TRAC) Grant to English for its project “Teaching Racial Justice” (TRJ), which aims to support antiracist teaching and tutoring in the high-impact contexts of the Fordham Writing Program and Writing Center. Key goals of the TRJ initiative are:

  • To provide professional development and training in inclusive, antiracist pedagogical practices that can be adapted across different instructional contexts;
  • To facilitate the (re)design of courses that support productive engagement with racial histories and racial justice in many intersectional forms; and
  • To foster recognition of the ways antiracist commitments are inspiring pedagogical innovation from instructors as well as outstanding work from students.

The centerpiece of this project is the inaugural 2021-22 TRJ Colloquium. The Colloquium will feature monthly workshops that will be open to anyone but that will function as a series to guide a cohort of participants through rigorous examination of their own pedagogical practices and revision of their Comp I, Comp II, and/or Texts and Contexts syllabi with attention to antiracist principles. Other initiatives associated with the TRJ project include workshops on antiracist Writing Center tutoring, an end-of-year showcase for presenting outcomes of the project, and awards that will recognize outstanding faculty teaching and student writing on racial justice. The opening of applications for the AY 2021-22 TRJ Colloquium will be announced in August 2021.

What is the TRJ Spring 2021 Symposium?
Scholars of antiracist pedagogy concur that educating for racial justice requires fundamental disruption of normative teaching and learning paradigms. Authentic antiracist work is based in conscious, self-reflective choices to decenter whiteness and confront challenge white supremacy. Yet antiracism itself is a contested term, and antiracist initiatives must be designed thoughtfully to reject meritocratic myths and other forms of racial bias that sustain systemic inequality. The challenges of developing an authentic antiracist pedagogical practice are marked where the teaching and tutoring of writing is concerned, given how deeply whiteness is embedded in the ways writing is viewed, valued, and evaluated.

To reflect on these issues and strengthen the design of next year’s TRJ initiative, we invite your participation in the 2021 Spring TRJ Symposium. Over two half days on May 6 and May 7, this virtual symposium will invite teachers of first-year Composition and Texts & Contexts, Writing Center leaders and tutors, and guests from inside and outside the Fordham community to come together to share experiences, hear ideas, and invigorate our approach to antiracist instruction in AY 2021-22. In keynote addresses, breakout sessions, and moderated Q&As with scholars of antiracist pedagogy, we will consider big questions, including:

  • How do we define antiracism? What does it mean to be antiracist teacher and tutor?
  • How have our experiences with students amidst the pressures of the Covid -19 pandemic, online teaching, and BLM moment of the past year shaped our understanding of the challenges and opportunities of antiracist practice?
  • How can the TRJ project most vibrantly help our diverse instructor and student populations articulate, refine, and enact their antiracist commitments?

Our hope is that symposium participants will be at the vanguard of antiracist pedagogical work in English, lending their ideas to shape the direction of the TRJ initiative and contribute to its long-term success.