Elise Robinson on Educating for Democracy
Here’s the episode at a glance:
>> 1:25. Capella University brings me and Elise together.
>> 4:46. If you can’t get Heather Cox Richardson, call ELISE ROBINSON!
>> 6:44. Elise shares her escapades as she moved from Minnesota back to Athens GA, where she studies and teaches feminism, activism, and the British women’s suffrage movement, both women’s studies and theatre & performance.
>> 10:09 Coming from the west — where states are big and state lines are straight — I confess to having little understanding of the US South. Elise helps out by busting some stereotyped misconceptions about the south (not to mention the Deep South), and describes how students make their way to UGA and what they bring to a women’s studies classroom.
>> 17:42. What does Elise think of theatre and women’s studies students at UGA? “My students self-select for being awesome.” 👊
>> 20:15. Elise’s students see activism in their studies, experience it through Elise’s teaching, and practice it in their daily lives. Elise helps her students ways of being in the world that promote active, participatory citizenship.
>> 23:52. “Perspectacles” — a phrase coined from Glennon Doyle — is one of the ways Elise helps her students understand alternative ways of looking at the world. Using perspectacles prompts the understanding that feminism is optimistic: if you didn’t think things could change for the better, you wouldn’t bother doing anything about it.
>> 25:22. Activism is a real-world, bodily manifestation of that fundamental optimism that the world can be better than it is, and that you have both the privilege and the obligation to do whatever you can to manifest that better world. And this is what brings joy to Elise’s activism.
>> 26:20. “Teaching is my activism.” It is joyful and revelatory to connect with students on this level.
>> 28.10 I share with Elise how much I was influenced by the students who survived the shooting in Parkland Florida: how passionate and fiery and vocal they have been. In turn, Elise shares stories about what her students have done as activists. This includes teaching and getting to know Delaney Tarr, as well as a powerful story about a curricular change one of her students made after studying Sojourner Truth.
>> 37:20. Elise’s pleas to educators as we approach elections: Talk about elections. Remind students about voting registration deadlines. Let them know when early voting starts. If possible, cancel class on voting Tuesday so students have time to vote. More broadly: give students the space, and the practice, to articulate their positions, learn to defend them, and complicate their thinking and responses to daily, political issues. This practice can be used in any discipline, and can take the form of quick, short conversations or assignments that are threaded through the syllabus and curriculum.
>> 42:15. Should all women in leadership positions on college campuses be feminists? Elise’s quick and dirty answer is YES! She advocates for “more”: more women, more people of color, more people from marginalized communities — the more we embrace visibility and participation from all groups, the better.
>> 45:50. Elise wants everybody to read Peggy McIntosh’s White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack. “You can’t be an effective leader if you don’t understand how [power] works.”
Extra readings and information:
Peggy McIntosh’s article: White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack. chrome-extension://efaidnbmnnnibpcajpcglclefindmkaj/https://psychology.umbc.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/57/2016/10/White-Privilege_McIntosh-1989.pdf
Early voting information: https://www.vote.org/early-voting-calendar/
Same-day voting registration: https://www.ncsl.org/research/elections-and-campaigns/same-day-registration.aspx
League of Women Voters Resources: https://www.lwv.org/
AP News: 2022 Elections. https://apnews.com/hub/2022-midterm-elections
Your Voice, Your Vote, @NAICU: https://www.naicu.edu/your-vote-your-voice-2020
All-in Campus Democracy Challenge: https://allinchallenge.org/
AIGA: Design for Democracy. (Download and share your favorite voting posters!) https://www.aiga.org/membership-community/design-for-democracy
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