Recap: Teaching as Social Justice

On Thursday, April 14th, the Futures Initiative hosted “Teaching as Social Justice: Equity, Diversity, Race” at the Graduate Center, CUNY. This was the capstone event of our “The University Worth Fighting For” series of events of the 2015-2016 academic year. Learn more about the series here.

During this workshop, we discussed how teaching can address the unequal distribution of resources, wealth, privilege, and opportunity along axes of race, gender, sexual orientation, and ability. The event, preceded by a Twitter chat, was held in room 9204-9205 at the Graduate Center from 1-2pm EDT, and was livestreamed.

Resources and Further Reading:


Anne Balsalmo, Prithi Kanakamedala, Ruth Wilson Gilmore


There was a lot of activity on the two Twitter hashtags used that day, #fight4edu and #teach4justice.
#teach4justice #fight4edu Twitter stats

#teach4justice #fight4edu Twitter users

The live event was preceded by a Twitter chat from 12-1pm EDT, moderated by Simone Browne, Associate Professor of African and African Diaspora Studies at the University of Texas at Austin and author of Dark Matters: On the Surveillance of Blackness, which examines surveillance with a focus on biometrics, airports and borders, slavery, black mobilities and creative texts.

Map of #teach4justice #fight4edu reach


  • Prithi Kanakamedala, Assistant Professor of History at Bronx Community College, CUNY. Prithi’s work as a Public Historian includes the major exhibit Brooklyn Abolitionists which examines anti-slavery activism in early Brooklyn. She has worked with the Brooklyn Historical Society, City Lore, Brooklyn Historical Society, Weeksville Heritage Center, and the Museum of the City of New York.
  • Anne Balsamo, Dean of the School of Media Studies and Professor of Media Studies at the New School, and co-founder of FemTechNet. Dr. Balsamo’s work includes projects like The Aids Memorial Quilt, a memorial designed to foster healing, raise awareness, and inspire action around HIV/AIDS.
  • Ruth Wilson Gilmore, Director of the Center for Place, Culture, and Politics and Professor of Geography and Earth and Environmental Sciences at The Graduate Center, CUNY. Dr. Gilmore’s work traverses a wide range of social justice topics, from racial and gender inequality to the environment and the criminal justice system.

Invited Respondent:

  • Allison Guess, Futures Initiative Fellow and PhD student in Earth and Environmental Sciences. Allison’s research and community development interests include deliberate Black land constructions, Black people’s relationships to those lands and places, specifically as they relate to (voluntary reverse) migration, racial capitalism, anti-Black racism and collective liberation.


  • Danica Savonick, Futures Initiative Fellow and PhD candidate in English. Danica’s research focuses on aesthetic education and intersectional feminist pedagogy, especially in relation to the fights for free public higher education in the U.S, in order to explore how pedagogical praxis can help materialize social justice.


The Futures Initiative
The Graduate Center, CUNY
365 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10016-4309