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Black Greek-letter Organizations in the Twenty-First Century Cover

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Black Greek-letter Organizations in the Twenty-First Century

Our Fight Has Just Begun

Gregory Parks

During the twentieth century, black Greek-Letter organizations (BGLOs) united college students dedicated to excellence, fostered kinship, and uplifted African Americans. Members of these organizations include remarkable and influential individuals such as Martin Luther King Jr., Congresswoman Barbara Jordan, novelist Toni Morrison, and Wall Street pioneer Reginald F. Lewis. Despite the profound influence of these groups, many now question the continuing relevance of BGLOs, arguing that their golden age has passed. Partly because of their perceived link to hip-hop culture, black fraternities and sororities have been unfairly reduced to a media stereotype—a world of hazing without any real substance. The general public knows very little about BGLOs, and surprisingly the members themselves often do not have a thorough understanding of their history and culture or of the issues currently facing their organizations. To foster a greater engagement with the history and contributions of BGLOs, Black Greek-Letter Organizations in the Twenty-first Century: Our Fight Has Just Begun brings together an impressive group of authors to explore the contributions and continuing possibilities of BGLOs and their members. Editor Gregory S. Parks and the contributing authors provide historical context for the development of BGLOs, exploring their service activities as well as their relationships with other prominent African American institutions. The book examines BGLOs’ responses to a number of contemporary issues, including non-black membership, homosexuality within BGLOs, and the perception of BGLOs as educated gangs. As illustrated by the organized response of BGLO members to the racial injustice they observed in Jena, Louisiana, these organizations still have a vital mission. Both internally and externally, BGLOs struggle to forge a relevant identity for the new century. Internally, these groups wrestle with many issues, including hazing, homophobia, petty intergroup competition, and the difficulty of bridging the divide between college and alumni members. Externally, BGLOs face the challenge of rededicating themselves to their communities and leading an aggressive campaign against modern forms of racism, sexism, and other types of fear-driven behavior. By embracing the history of these organizations and exploring their continuing viability and relevance, Black Greek-Letter Organizations in the Twenty-first Century demonstrates that BGLOs can create a positive and enduring future and that their most important work lies ahead.

The Black Man and his Visa Cover

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The Black Man and his Visa

Tardif is the son of a medical practitioner, an herbalist and a spiritual healer in northwestern Cameroun. When his father eventually gives up his practice, his mother struggles to put him and four of his sisters through high school. But financing university is a challenge. Tardif works for seven years in the farms and as a school teacher and seeks help from all quarters of the globe to try to raise money for university in his home country. Then one day he finds himself in China ñ studying Chinese medicine ñ and hoping for a better life than the one he had in Cameroon. The predicaments are as challenging as they are profoundly instructive. Tardif poses as a Dutchman and as an American to get jobs teaching English and survive in his host country. He ends up earning the respect of his students and employers, but not without everyday encounters with precarity. Just as one problem is resolved, another always seems to be brewing on the horizon. Tardif autobiographically opens his adventures, his transformations and his musings on Chinese and African ways of thinking and living to those interested in intercultural mobility and learning about life. His story reads like a dairy and keeps one wondering what will happen next.

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Blow Up the Humanities

Toby Miller

A short, sharp, and provocative book, Blow Up the Humanities has esteemed scholar Toby Miller declaring that there are two humanities in the United States. One is the venerable, powerful humanities of private universities; the other is the humanities of state schools, which focus mainly on job prospects. There is a class division between the two—both in terms of faculty research and student background—and it must end.

Miller critically lays waste to the system. He examines scholarly publishing as well as media and cultural studies to show how to restructure the humanities by studying popular cultural phenomena, like video games. Miller ultimately insists that these two humanities must merge in order to survive and succeed in producing an aware and concerned citizenry.

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Both Sides Now

The Story of School Desegregation’s Graduates

Amy Wells

This is the untold story of a generation that experienced one of the most extraordinary chapters in our nation's history—school desegregation. Many have attempted to define desegregation, which peaked in the late 1970s, as either a success or a failure; surprisingly few have examined the experiences of the students who lived though it. Featuring the voices of blacks, whites, and Latinos who graduated in 1980 from racially diverse schools, Both Sides Now offers a powerful firsthand account of how desegregation affected students—during high school and later in life. Their stories, set in a rich social and historical context, underscore the manifold benefits of school desegregation while providing an essential perspective on the current backlash against it.

The Boy Problem Cover

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The Boy Problem

Educating Boys in Urban America, 1870–1970

Julia Grant

Contemporary debates about the tendency toward poor academic performance among boys of color point to inadequate and punitive schools, poverty, and cultural conflicts. Julia Grant offers a historical perspective on the "boy problem," revealing it as an issue that has vexed educators for more than a century. Since compulsory schooling was enforced, immigrant, poor, and boys of color have constituted the most school-averse population with which educators have had to contend. Public schools developed vocational education, organized athletics, technical schools, and evening continuation schools—contributing to a culture of masculinity that devalued academic success in school. Urban educators sought ways to deal with the many "bad boys"—almost exclusively poor, immigrant, or migrant—who skipped school, behaved badly when they attended, and sometimes landed in special education classes and reformatory institutions. The problems these boys posed led to sustained innovations in public education and juvenile justice. This historical perspective sheds light on contemporary concerns over the academic performance of boys of color who now flounder in school or languish in the juvenile justice system. Grant's cogent analysis will interest education policymakers and educators, as well as scholars of the history of education, childhood, gender studies, American studies, and urban history.

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Brave New Digital Classroom

Technology and Foreign Language Learning

Brave New Digital Classroom deftly interweaves results of pedagogical research and descriptions of the most successful computer-assisted language learning (CALL) projects to explore how technology can best be employed in the foreign-language curriculum to assist the second language acquisition process. Directed to all language teachersùwhether at the school or the postsecondary level, with or without prior experienceùthis book focuses on how to use new technologies effectively. Blake urges teachers to move beyond a simple functional competence of knowing how to use the tools toward first a critical competenceùrealizing what the various tools are good forùand ultimately a rhetorical competence of knowing how the tools will help transform the learning environment. This book examines the effective use of a range of technologies, from Internet sites through computer-mediated communication such as synchronous chatting and blogs, to distance learning. At the end of each chapter questions and activities demonstrate the interactionist, learner-centered pedagogy Blake espouses. An invaluable reference for experienced researchers and CALL developers as well as those of limited experience, Brave New Digital Classroom is also ideal for graduate-level courses on second language pedagogy. It will also be of interest to department chairs and administrators seeking to develop and evaluate their own CALL programs.

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Brave New Words

How Literature Will Save the Planet

The activist tradition in American literature has long testified to the power of words to change people and the power of people to change the world, yet in recent years many professional humanists have chosen to distract themselves with a postmodern fundamentalism of indeterminacy and instability rather than engage with social and political issues. Throughout her bold and provocative call to action, Elizabeth Ammons argues that the responsibility now facing humanists is urgent: inside and outside academic settings, they need to revive the liberal arts as a progressive cultural force that offers workable ideas and inspiration in the real-world struggle to achieve social and environmental justice.
      Brave New Words challenges present and future literary scholars and teachers to look beyond mere literary critique toward the concrete issue of social change and how to achieve it. Calling for a profound realignment of thought and spirit in the service of positive social change, Ammons argues for the continued importance of multiculturalism in the twenty-first century despite attacks on the concept from both right and left. Concentrating on activist U.S. writers—from ecocritics to feminists to those dedicated to exposing race and class biases, from Jim Wallis and Cornel West to Winona LaDuke and Paula Moya and many others—she calls for all humanists to link their work to the progressive literature of the last half century, to insist on activism in the service of positive change as part of their mission, and to teach the power of hope and action to their students.
      As Ammons clearly demonstrates, much of American literature was written to expose injustice and motivate readers to work for social transformation. She challenges today’s academic humanists to address the issues of hope and purpose by creating a practical activist pedagogy that gives students the knowledge to connect their theoretical learning to the outside world. By relying on the transformative power of literature and replacing nihilism and powerlessness with conviction and faith, the liberal arts can offer practical, useful inspiration to everyone seeking to create a better world.

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Brookings Papers on Education Policy

2000 - 2007

Published annually, Brookings Papers on Education Policy (BPEP) analyzes policies intended to improve student performance. In each volume, analysts review the current situation in education and consider programs for reform.

Brown's Battleground Cover

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Brown's Battleground

Students, Segregationists, and the Struggle for Justice in Prince Edward County, Virginia

Jill Ogline Titus

In 1959, Prince Edward County, Virginia, abolished its public school system in opposition to the landmark decision against school segregation, Brown v. Board of Education. It took five years and another Supreme Court decision for the county to reopen public school doors. Titus explores the background of the crisis, the period in which the schools were closed, and the repercussions of this educational tragedy. She focuses on the years between 1951 (when black students walked out of the decrepit Moton High School) and 1969 (when black students staged a second strike), but also carries the story up to the present to demonstrate the consequences of the county's years of massive resistance to desegregation. Titus show that the Prince Edward County story is a vital chapter of America's civil rights story. While there have been journalistic, autobiographical, and fictional stories about the educational crisis, there has been no scholarly treatment of the subject. In 1965 the Press published journalist Bob Smith's They Closed Their Schools: Prince Edward County, Virginia, 1951-1964. However, Titus has a wealth of new archival material to draw upon and takes a broader perspective.

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Brushing History Against the Grain

Reading the Chinese New Historical Fiction (1986-1999)

Qingxin Lin

This book explores some essential features of the Chinese new historical fiction (NHF) and its socio-cultural implications. It argues that the NHF constitutes an oppositional discourse that rejects, both the grand narrative of linear (revolutionary) history, which dominates Chinese official historiography, and naïve confidence in ‘Chinese modernity.’

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