Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Writing at the Master’s Table

Teri McMurtry-Chubb, a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Educational Controversy, has published an article in a recent law review that we believe our readers will want to check out. Teri uses Critical Race Theory and Critical Race Feminism to examine possible causes, problems and solutions concerning the low numbers of women of color among legal writing professors, a field that is dominated by women. As a lawyer and law professor, Teri has brought an important legal perspective to our editorial board that reviews papers coming from all disciplinary areas. She provides a brief summary of the article below.

By Teri A. McMurtry-Chubb

"Writing at the Master's Table: Reflections on Theft, Criminality and Otherness in the Legal Writing Profession" by Teri A. McMurtry-Chubb is now available in the online version of the Drexel Law Review (Fall 2009). You may access the article using the following link: http://www.drexel.edu/law/lawreview/current.aspx

This article considers the convergence of race and gender marginalizations in the legal writing profession, a profession comprised almost entirely of women. Prior to its publication, scholarship on the marginalization of women in legal writing was written only about and from the perspective of white women. The content of this article seeks to deepen the discussion introduced by KimberlĂ© Crenshaw in her seminal work on race and gender intersections, which argues that a single-axis framework of analysis that examines race and gender discrimination separately is insufficient to deal with the overlapping oppressions women of color face. Thus far, the literature on how legal writing programs discriminate against women lacks this intersectional dimension. The article draws on the narrative traditions of Critical Race Theory and Critical Race Feminism to examine issues of race, gender, and status three-dimensionally within the racialized, gendered, and elitist structure that is the legal academy. The theoretical framework is provided by Adrien K. Wing’s multiplicative theory and praxis of being, in which Wing describes women of color as indivisible persons with multiple race and gender consciousnesses. The author examines the multiple race, gender, and status consciousnesses of women of color who are legal writing professionals.

Part I of the article highlights the precarious position of women of color in the legal academy and in the legal writing profession. Part II examines the characteristics of LRW programs that deter women of color from seriously considering legal writing instruction as a profession. Part III explores how the low number of LRW faculty of color affects how all law students are taught legal writing and reasoning skills. Finally, Part IV proposes some solutions.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Philosophy for Adolescents : the Teachers College Philosophy Outreach Program

Author David Hansen, whose article, A Response to a New Book about Maxine Greene’s Philosophy, appears in our current issue of journal, writes to tell us about a new project between the Philosophy and Education Program at Teachers College and the Department of Philosophy at Columbia University that is engaging young adolescents in the wonderful world of philosophy. David points out that most high school students throughout Latin America and Europe study philosophy . One wonders why such an important discipline is largely missing in U.S. schools. David describes the project below:

Philosophy Outreach Program
Teachers College and Columbia University
New York City

By David Hansen

The Philosophy Outreach Program is an after-school project designed to engage middle and high school students in philosophical discourse. A collaboration between the Philosophy and Education Program at Teachers College and the Department of Philosophy at Columbia University, the Program currently involves eight high schools in New York City. Its faculty sponsors are Professors David Hansen and Megan Laverty at TC, and Professors Philip Kitcher and Achille Varzi at Columbia. The Outreach Program’s teachers visit the schools in pairs, one student each from TC and Columbia, in order to engage middle and high school students in philosophical inquiry. Tim Ignaffo and Guillermo Marini, who are Philosophy and Education Ph.D. students and co-founders of the program, say that the collaboration between TC and Columbia has proved to be an exceptional opportunity for benefiting school communities.

In justifying the program, Guillermo points out that most high school students throughout Latin America and Europe study philosophy. These experiences have inspired many international students in TC’s Program of Philosophy and Education to pursue the field as a career. He wonders if this opportunity “happened to American students, what might it lead them to?”

The Philosophy Outreach Program believes that adolescents are in a wonderful place to begin studying philosophy, as the decisions many of them make at that age about life, self, work and college are closely related to universal questions addressed by philosophy. Tim Ignaffo, who is currently the coordinator of the Outreach Program, suggests that young people ask themselves difficult questions about life’s meaning and purpose. Providing students arguments and the vocabulary to discuss these questions can be very empowering. He also notes that at a certain point in these discussions a realization dawns that “the questions that are popping up in my head have been engaged by every generation.” Students’ testimonials about their enjoyment of philosophy have increased participation in the Program at every school. The Outreach Program’s teachers have also been invited to be guest lecturers in some of the high school classrooms, speaking, for example, to science and English classes.

The Program is supported by recurring grants from The Squire Foundation, as well as from the Teaching Center at Columbia and the Arts and Humanities Department at TC. The Squire Foundation’s long-term goal is for U.S. schools to follow the European and Latin American example, making philosophy part of the core curriculum in all high schools. Though Guillermo and Tim appreciate that this goal is “extremely ambitious,” they note the recent adoption of philosophy as a required course in Ontario, Canada. To further their aims, the students in the Outreach Program are organizing a conference for this coming October, 2010, on teaching philosophy in schools.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Maxine Greene Tribute Now Online

The Journal of Educational Controversy is pleased to announce that the winter 2010 issue on “Art, Social Imagination and Democratic Education” is now online. This issue is dedicated to the life and work of Maxine Greene.

We would like to draw the readers’ attention to an innovation that we introduced in this issue. In place of one of the printed articles, we are providing the reader a slide show of a child’s artistic drawings, with the author’s voice describing to the readers the significance of what they are viewing in the child’s work. The author traces the motifs found consistently in the child’s drawing over the course of several years so the reader/viewer can gain insight into the child’s imaginative communities, values, and dreams.

We invite readers to contribute formal refereed responses to our Rejoinder Section or more spontaneous responses on our journal’s blog.

Next Issue: The Role of Professionals in the Public Square

Future Issues:
The Education our Children Deserve
The Modern University in Turbulent Times
The School to Prison Pipeline
The Effect of Cultural Diversity on the Schools across the Globe: A Comparative Look