Learning from Teaching about Braddock

by VanessaVaile

The question raised here, “Can the classroom be a site of popular struggle and political initiative, or at least a staging ground for these?” also speaks to #CEW2013, but not relegated to just one week of the year.

Working-Class Perspectives

As an English teacher, I’m interested in the possibilities for active learning through connecting literature, daily life, and historical change.  But I’m a political animal as well as a professor, and these are urgent times.  So I was struck by a quote from the late labor historian David Montgomery.  In an interview with Radical History Review, he said: “In this country, where the talents needed to run a humane society are all around us, what we need is not a single party but many self-activated centers of popular struggle and a variety of political initiatives.  And all those centers of activity need to learn from history.”

Which has me asking myself: Can the classroom be a site of popular struggle and political initiative, or at least a staging ground for these? How can we, students and teachers, learn from history? And what should we be learning?

I regularly teach a course…

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