Introduction to Engaged Teaching for Transformative Learning in the Humanities and Social Sciences (Spring 2020)

Cathy N. Davidson (The Graduate Center, English and the Futures Initiative)
Eduardo Vianna (LaGuardia Community College, Social Sciences, and The Graduate Center, Psychology)

Day/Time: Thursdays, 2-4pm
Course Number: IDS 81670 (Also cross-listed in English, Psychology, MALS, and Women’s and Gender Studies)

What does it mean to “introduce” a student to a field? This course is intended for any graduate student in the humanities or social sciences who is thinking seriously about the deepest “why” and “how” questions about their discipline and how those apply to their own research and teaching. We will begin with theoretical questions about disciplines, fields, foundations, pedagogy, research, aesthetics, and institutional structures alongside issues of equity, diversity, inclusion, social justice, engagement, and transformation. In each class and in final projects, we will encourage students to transform critique into engaged practice. Students will work collaboratively on analyzing and then designing: (1) a standard anthology or textbook in their field; (2) key articles or critical texts in their field; (3) standard syllabi of introductory or “core” courses in their field; (4) keywords in their field. Students will leave the course with a deeper understanding of the assumptions of their field and new methods for transformative learning that support diversity, inclusion, and a more equitable form of higher education. Our aim is to work toward “research with a transformative activist agenda” and teaching and mentoring as a “collaborative learning community project” that, in the end, contributes to education as a public good and a more just and equitable society.

Readings will be chosen from: Lev Vygotsky, Paulo Freire, bell hooks, Frantz Fanon, Audre Lorde, Anna Stetsenko, Michelle Fine, Ira Shor, Stuart Hall, Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, José Munoz, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Judith Butler, Peter Galison, Sara Ahmed, Alfie Kohn, Christopher Newfield, John Warner, Kandice Chuh, Roderick Ferguson, Kurt Lewin, Lisa Lowe, Tressie McMillan Cottom, Sara Goldrick-Rab, Michael Fabricant, Stephen Brier, Cathy Davidson, Eduardo Vianna, as well as authors included in the crowdsourced “Progressive Pedagogy” bibliography being developed on (


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