Education and Autobiography
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Division: The New School for Public Engagement
School: School of Undergraduate Studies
Course Number: NHUM 2010
Course Format: Seminar
Location: NYC campus
Permission Required: No
- Civic Engagement
School is among the most powerful institutions in American culture, reproducing deep inequalities of race, ethnicity, class, gender and sexuality, and more. Still, narrative accounts reveal that education permits great transformations in the lives of individuals and plays a crucial part in movements for social change. We explore these haunting contradictions from the points of view of parents, teachers, and citizens through the lenses of autobiography and memoir, ethnography, and documentary film. Both global developments and local situations inform our thinking. State-run and private, market-driven institutions all rely on standardized testing, depend increasingly on the Internet, and exert vast social and political influence. Guest educators discuss the public schools, elite private schools, and nontraditional teaching settings such as prisons and critical pedagogy projects that build on youth culture. Students are encouraged to engage with diverse communities in New York City and individuals whose backgrounds differ from their own as they analyze their own educational autobiographies.