Classrooms and Social Justice: Why Start with Pedagogy?

Join us at the Graduate Center on Sep 13 at 12pm in Segal Theatre for an open, livestreamed workshop led by Cathy N. Davidson, Racquel Gates, Siqi Tu, and Christina Katopodis. The workshop will be livestreamed at RSVP with Eventbrite here.

This workshop is part of the The University Worth Fighting For, a series of workshops that tie student-centered, engaged pedagogical practices to institutional change, race, equality, gender, and social justice.

This panel looks at the relationship between classroom participation and democracy, focusing on active, engaged learning methods that you can use in your classroom today. Panelists will offer student-centered activities that have been successful in their own classrooms, and participants will have the opportunity to try out some activities themselves.

How to Join Us

  • To attend in person, RSVP now!
  • Watch the livestream at (unedited footage will be available after the workshop for a limited time under “Recent Videos”, and we’ll post an edited version soon)
  • Follow the hashtag #fight4edu and tweet your questions/comments
  • During and after the workshop, add your own favorite pedagogical practices to this Google Doc


Cathy N. Davidson is the Founding Director of the Futures Initiative and a Distinguished Professor in the Ph.D. Program in English at the Graduate Center, CUNY. She is also co-director of the CUNY Humanities Alliance, a program in partnership with LaGuardia Community College, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and dedicated to preparing graduate students for careers teaching in community colleges and co-PI of the Teagle Foundation-supported CUNY-wide Undergraduate Peer Leadership and Mentoring Program and cofounder and codirector of HASTAC (Humanities, Arts, Science and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory), the world’s first and oldest academic social network. Her most recent book is The New Education: How to Revolutionize the University To Prepare Students for a World in Flux (Basic Books, 2017).

Racquel Gates is an Assistant Professor at the College of Staten Island, CUNY. Her research focuses on blackness and popular culture, with special attention to discourses of taste and quality. She has written numerous essays on film and media, with some of her work appearing in Film Quarterly, Television & New Media, and The Los Angeles Review of Books. Her book, Double Negative: The Black Image and Popular Culture, will be published by Duke University Press in August 2018.   She is the author of Double Negative: The Black Image and Popular Culture (Duke U Press, 2018). In Spring 2019, Davidson and Gates will co-teach a Futures Initiative graduate course, Mediating Race: Technology, Performance, Politics, and Aesthetics in Popular Culture

Christina Katopodis is a Futures Initiative Fellow, a doctoral candidate in English, and a New Media Lab fellow at the CUNY Graduate Center, and an adjunct at Hunter College. She is writing her dissertation on the influences of sound and sonic vibration on American Transcendentalism and Pragmatism, attending to deep listening in the nonhuman environment of 19th Century America. You can explore the digital component of her dissertation, The Walden Soundscape, and listen to her sound recordings and podcast online. Katopodis uses student-centered learning in her classroom at Hunter and shares lesson plans, syllabi, and ideas for troubleshooting silence in the classroom on her blog.

Siqi Tu is a Futures Initiative Fellow and a doctoral candidate in Sociology at the Graduate Center, CUNY. She earned a BA degree in Sociology from Fudan University (China) and a MA degree in Sociology from Columbia University. Her work focuses on the areas of urban sociology, immigration, education, elites, and contemporary Chinese societies. Her dissertation, “Destination Diploma: How Chinese Upper-Middle Class Families ‘Outsource’ Secondary Education to the United States”, investigates why and how Chinese upper-middle-class families make decisions to send their children to the United States to attend private high schools, some as young as 14 years of age, and it analyzes the actual lived experiences of the students of this “parachute-generation”. She has been teaching sociology at Brooklyn College from 2014 and was a Writing-Across-Curriculum (WAC) Fellow at Kingsborough Community College. You can learn more about her teaching on her website.


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