Reimagining Educational Work for Collective Freedom

illustration of striking workers

A group of faculty at the University of Pittsburgh is convening a series of symposia and a study group entitled "Reimagining Educational Work for Collective Freedom: The Labor Strike as a Portal." The interdisciplinary, globally-focused effort is a partnership between faculty members at the School of Education and the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, and received funding support from the Spencer Foundation.  

The project involves:

  • Engaging in deep study, creating dialogue partnerships, and building potential for activism
  • Convening a symposium series with three gatherings for a public audience and study group participants
  • Conducting a student-focused study group that will meet monthly from May 2022 - December 2022

Symposium Series

The symposia are open to all and are designed for a global audience of anyone interested in organizing for freedom and/or reimagining educational praxes. Please click the links below to register.

Symposium #1 | May 19, 20, 2022

"The longue durée of freedom work: Bridging history and the current moment through the agricultural mass strike”

This symposium series finds its inspiration in the convergence of global uprisings for racial and gender justice and widespread strikes for freedom (Haiti to Mexico to India), and from an aside Robin Kelley made during his “Midnight on the clock of the world” interview in which he called on people to turn analytic attention to work--not just labor, but the work, a life’s work.

We start the months-long symposium series with the labor strike itself, as form and function, and the agricultural worker strike in India in particular. We understand the strike as the agentive assertion of moving from one set of conditions through transformation to a future imagined by workers through a merger of their labor and their life’s work. And although we understand this particular strike as most immediately catalyzed by an agricultural law crafted to deepen global fascist, neofascist, patriarchal and ethnonationalist alliances and devastate an already precarious agricultural workforce, we also understand it as far more than a reactionary mobilization. In this resistance we saw a portal defined by the work--the collective educational work of studying the conditions and theories of life, of educating one another across imposed social and political boundaries, and undertaking the praxis of freedom.

This strike, and the many others that were taken up across the world in the same time period, inspired us to wonder about the strike as a portal meaningful for educational work. What does the strike teach us about how knowledge can be shared--can be taught and learned--for the radical imagining of a new world in which work is a creative expression of the core passions of life?

Day One (Thursday, May 19, 2022)

Day One Order of Events (Thursday, May 19)

2:30-4:00 p.m. Eastern US
Eastern US, Study group

4:30-6:00 p.m. Eastern US
Keynote Dialogue: Sarah Haley & Damien Sojoyner, moderated



7:00 p.m. Eastern US
Study group dinner: Seminar participants with Sarah Haley, facilitated, open only to study group members 

Presenters

Sarah Haley headshotSarah Haley’s work focuses on questions of carceral gendering and the long history of Black women’s ensnarement in U.S. prison regimes and opposition to carceral power.  Her research interests include gender and carceral history, Black feminist history and theory, queer studies, prison abolition, and feminist archival methods.  She is the author of No Mercy Here: Gender, Punishment, and the Making of Jim Crow Modernity, published in 2016.  Her essays and articles have appeared in edited volumes as well as in journals including Signs, The Journal of African American History, GLQ, Souls, and Women & Performance.  She is working on a book titled The Carceral Interior: A Black Feminist Study of American Punishment, 1966-2016.  She is associate professor of gender studies and history at Columbia University and has been active in abolitionist and labor movements and currently organizes with Scholars for Social Justice. 

Damien SojoynerDamien M. Sojoyner is an Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, Irvine.  He researches analyzes the multifaceted connections produced through racial capitalism including the entanglements of public education, prisons, and the construction of Black masculinity in Southern California.  Situating his research within Black communal knowledge production, Damien’s methodological and theoretical framework is centered upon Black liberation struggles that articulate social visions of life immersed in the multiple possibilities of being.  He teaches several courses including Black Political Theory in the United States, Prisons and Public Education, and Black Public Cultures.  His upcoming book, Joy and Pain: A Story of Black Life and Liberation in Five Albums will be published by the University of California Press in the Fall of 2022.
 

 

Oral translators graphic   Oral Language Translators

 

Bruno Almeida headshot(E) Bruno Almeida has been a translator and conference interpreter for over 20 years, with experience in several areas of knowledge. Throughout his career as an interpreter he has had the opportunity to work with governmental bodies and agencies of several countries (UN, UNODC, etc), work with heads of state, mediate important meetings and work in congresses, lectures and courses facilitating communication between participants of these events. As a translator he has several articles published in various areas. He dedicates his spare time to the piano, capoeira, reading and good moments with his kids. Contact: bruno.bcesar@gmail.com

(P) Bruno Almeida é tradutor e intérprete de conferência há mais de 20 anos, com experiência em diversas áreas do conhecimento. Ao longo de sua carreira como intérprete teve a oportunidade de trabalhar com órgãos e agências governamentais de diversos países (ONU, UNODC, etc), trabalhar com chefes de estado, mediar reuniões importantes e atuar em congressos, palestras e cursos facilitando a comunicação entre os participantes desses eventos. Como tradutor tem vários artigos publicados em diversas áreas. Dedica seu tempo livre ao piano, capoeira, leitura e bons momentos com os filhos.

Paula Santos headshot(E) Paula Santos is a Brazilian translator and interpreter. She works with Brazilian Portuguese, English and Spanish since 1997. She has studied Journalism at the University of São Paulo. As a cultural consultant and/or professional interpreter, Paula regularly works with organizations both inside and outside Brazil, including the World Food Program- UN, BBC, PBS, Ford Foundation, the Guggenheim Museum, and several US Universities, among others. She has worked with SIT Study Abroad programs in Brazil for more than 20 years organizing, interpreting, and coordinating Race and Gender seminars, Sustainability and Social Justice program in Bahia. Paula Santos is on the board of TOBOSSIS – a non-profit, non-governmental organization that focuses on gender and race. She is also on the advisory committee of Ogum's Press and Ogum's Toques Literary Collective, which promotes contemporary Afro-Brazilian literature. Contact: diasporapaulasantos@gmail.com

(P) Paula Santos é tradutora e intérprete brasileira. Trabalha com português brasileiro, inglês e espanhol desde 1997. É formada em Jornalismo pela Universidade de São Paulo. Como consultora cultural e/ou intérprete profissional, Paula trabalha regularmente com organizações dentro e fora do Brasil, incluindo o Programa Mundial de Alimentos - ONU, BBC, PBS, Fundação Ford, Museu Guggenheim, várias universidades americanas, entre outras. Ela trabalhou com os programas SIT Study Abroad no Brasil por mais de 20 anos organizando, interpretando e coordenando seminários sobre Raça e Gênero, programa de Sustentabilidade e Justiça Social na Bahia. Paula Santos faz parte do conselho da TOBOSSIS – uma organização não governamental sem fins lucrativos que tem como foco gênero e raça. Também faz parte do comitê assessor da Imprensa de Ogum e do Coletivo Literário Toques de Ogum, que promove a literatura afro-brasileira contemporânea.

Day Two (Friday, May 20, 2022)

Day Two Order of Events (Friday, May 20)

Noon-2:00pm Eastern US
Plenary: Keisha-Khan Perry & Ana Cristina da Silva Caminha, moderated, open to public

Register

3:00 - 4:00 p.m. Eastern US
Study group workshop: Seminar participants convene with Keisha-Khan Perry

4:30-6:00 p.m. Eastern US
Plenary: Damien Sojoyner & Yusef Omowale, moderated, open to public

Register button

6:30-7:30 p.m. Eastern US
Study group: convenes

Presenters

Keisha-Khan Perry headshotKeisha-Khan Y. Perry is the Presidential Penn Compact Associate Professor of Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. Previously, she taught in Africana Studies at Brown University for 15 years. She writes on urban social movements fighting against the violence of forced displacement and is the author of the prize-winning book, Black Women against the Land Grab: The Fight for Racial Justice in Brazil (University of Minnesota Press, 2013), an ethnographic study of Black women’s activism for housing and land rights in the northeastern Brazilian city of Salvador. With an emphasis on the United States, Jamaica, and Brazil, she continues to write on issues of Black land ownership and loss and the related gendered racial logics of Black dispossession in the Americas. In collaboration with local activists, urban architects, and creative writers, she is co-writing a graphic novel that depicts the last four decades of grassroots activism against the violence of urban redevelopment and displacement. She is also interested in Black women’s intellectual histories and disciplinary formations, and the interrelationship between scholarship, pedagogy, and political engagement. She recently served on the Latin American Studies Association delegation to investigate the impeachment of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, and just joined the board of the Washington Brazil Office.
 

Ana Cristina da Silva Caminha headshotAna Cristina da Silva Caminha resides and works in the traditional community of fisherwomen and fishermen of Gamboa de Baixo, Bahia, Brazil. Ana Cristina holds a bacharel in Pedagogy (Educação) from the University Center Jorge Amado (2008), and is an integrant of the Articulation of the Movements and Communities of the Old Center of Salvador, president of the Association of Gegê Friends of Gamboa de Baixo Residents, and founder of the Gamboa Women’s Group. Recently, Ana Crisitna was selected in the Call for Acceleration of the Development of Black Female Leaders, Marielle Franco Program, from the Baobá Fund, for the period 2020 to 2023, to strengthen capacities and political and technical training of black female leaders, strategically enhancing their performance in the fight for anti-racist genre and for the right to the city. Also, in 2021, she was selected to participate in the leadership training course at Gerando Falcões University. 
 

Damien Sojoyner headshotDamien M. Sojoyner is an Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, Irvine.  He researches analyzes the multifaceted connections produced through racial capitalism including the entanglements of public education, prisons, and the construction of Black masculinity in Southern California.  Situating his research within Black communal knowledge production, Damien’s methodological and theoretical framework is centered upon Black liberation struggles that articulate social visions of life immersed in the multiple possibilities of being.  He teaches several courses including Black Political Theory in the United States, Prisons and Public Education, and Black Public Cultures.  His upcoming book, Joy and Pain: A Story of Black Life and Liberation in Five Albums will be published by the University of California Press in the Fall of 2022.

 

Yusef Omowale headshotYusef Omowale is a staff member of the Southern California Library (SCL), a library and archive located in South Central Los Angeles that documents and makes accessible histories of struggles that challenge racism and other systems of oppression. This archival labor is located within long-standing traditions of collective memory work to document the impacts of policing, incarceration, displacement, and dispossession; as well as the creative imaginary work of living in ways that transgress the limits of racial capitalism. By necessity, this work has included political education, organizing support, and offering of spaces of healing and material aid.



 

Libras graphic    LIBRAS: Brazilian Sign Language Interpreters

 

Wanderson Meira Silva(E) Wanderson Meira Silva, brazilian, born in the city of Vitória da Conquista in 1987, Bahia, fourth of five sons, has a bachelor in History and interpretation of Brazilian Sign Language (LIBRAS) from the Federal Institute of Bahia. Wanderson also has certification in translation and interpretation of LIBRAS from the University of Tuiuti, Paraná. Currently Wanderson works in the IFBA, Porto Seguro, Bahia. Contact: w-uann@hotmail.com

(P) Wanderson Meira Silva brasileiro, nascido na cidade de Vitória da Conquista em 1987, no estado da Bahia, quarto de cinco filhos,  graduado em história e intérprete de Libras no Instituto Federal baiano. Possui capacitação em tradução e interpretação da Língua de Sinais, realizado Universidade Tuiuti do Paraná, atualmente trabalha no IFBA em Porto Seguro- BA.

 

Wermerson Meira Silva headshot(E) Wermerson Meira Silva, brazilian, born in the city of Vitória da Conquista in 1987, Bahia, is a doctoral student in Memory at the State University of South-West Bahia (UESB). Wermerson holds a master degree in Education and Diversity from the State University of Bahia (UNEB), a bachelor in Languages and LIBRAS from the Federal University of Paraíba, and a bachelor in Pedagogy (Education) from the Paulista University (UNIP). Wermerson is a LIBRAS instructor (teacher) at the UESB, translator and interpreter of LIBRAS at UNIP, and the coordinator of research and extension for the Construction of Knowledge Èdé Lamí projecto (Construindo o Saber Èdé Lamí) at the UESB. Contact: wermerson@uesb.edu.br

(P) Wermerson Meira Silva brasileiro, nascido na cidade de Vitória da Conquista-BA em 1987, Dourando em Memória - PPMLS/UESB Mestre em Educação e Diversidade- PPMPED/UNEB Graduado em Letras/Libras/ UFPB  Graduado em Pedagogia/ UNIP Professor de Libras da Universidade Estadual do Sudoeste da Bahia - UESB, Tradutor e Intérprete de Libras/ UNIP e Coordenador do Projeto de Pesquisa e Extensão Construindo o Saber Èdé Lamí/ UESB.

Oral language translators image    Oral Language Translators

 

Bruno Almeida headshot(E) Bruno Almeida has been a translator and conference interpreter for over 20 years, with experience in several areas of knowledge. Throughout his career as an interpreter he has had the opportunity to work with governmental bodies and agencies of several countries (UN, UNODC, etc), work with heads of state, mediate important meetings and work in congresses, lectures and courses facilitating communication between participants of these events. As a translator he has several articles published in various areas. He dedicates his spare time to the piano, capoeira, reading and good moments with his kids. Contact: bruno.bcesar@gmail.com

(P) Bruno Almeida é tradutor e intérprete de conferência há mais de 20 anos, com experiência em diversas áreas do conhecimento. Ao longo de sua carreira como intérprete teve a oportunidade de trabalhar com órgãos e agências governamentais de diversos países (ONU, UNODC, etc), trabalhar com chefes de estado, mediar reuniões importantes e atuar em congressos, palestras e cursos facilitando a comunicação entre os participantes desses eventos. Como tradutor tem vários artigos publicados em diversas áreas. Dedica seu tempo livre ao piano, capoeira, leitura e bons momentos com os filhos.

Paula Santos headshot(E) Paula Santos is a Brazilian translator and interpreter. She works with Brazilian Portuguese, English and Spanish since 1997. She has studied Journalism at the University of São Paulo. As a cultural consultant and/or professional interpreter, Paula regularly works with organizations both inside and outside Brazil, including the World Food Program- UN, BBC, PBS, Ford Foundation, the Guggenheim Museum, and several US Universities, among others. She has worked with SIT Study Abroad programs in Brazil for more than 20 years organizing, interpreting, and coordinating Race and Gender seminars, Sustainability and Social Justice program in Bahia. Paula Santos is on the board of TOBOSSIS – a non-profit, non-governmental organization that focuses on gender and race. She is also on the advisory committee of Ogum's Press and Ogum's Toques Literary Collective, which promotes contemporary Afro-Brazilian literature. Contact: diasporapaulasantos@gmail.com

(P) Paula Santos é tradutora e intérprete brasileira. Trabalha com português brasileiro, inglês e espanhol desde 1997. É formada em Jornalismo pela Universidade de São Paulo. Como consultora cultural e/ou intérprete profissional, Paula trabalha regularmente com organizações dentro e fora do Brasil, incluindo o Programa Mundial de Alimentos - ONU, BBC, PBS, Fundação Ford, Museu Guggenheim, várias universidades americanas, entre outras. Ela trabalhou com os programas SIT Study Abroad no Brasil por mais de 20 anos organizando, interpretando e coordenando seminários sobre Raça e Gênero, programa de Sustentabilidade e Justiça Social na Bahia. Paula Santos faz parte do conselho da TOBOSSIS – uma organização não governamental sem fins lucrativos que tem como foco gênero e raça. Também faz parte do comitê assessor da Imprensa de Ogum e do Coletivo Literário Toques de Ogum, que promove a literatura afro-brasileira contemporânea.


Symposium #2 | September 22 - 23, 2022

"Women, gender, and labor: reframing the work and refusing femicide”

Day One (September 22, 2022)

Day One Order of Events (September 22)

4:00-6:00 p.m. Eastern US
Keynote Dialogue: Connie Wun & Arussi Unda moderated, open to public through registration

7:00 p.m. Eastern US
Dinner with Study Group: Arussi Unda and Las Brujas Del Mar

Day Two (September 23, 2022)

Day Two Order of Events (September 23)

2:00-4:00 p.m., Eastern US
Plenary Dialogue: TBA, moderated, open to public through registration

4:30-6:00 p.m., Eastern US
Plenary Dialogue: Connie Wun & TBA, moderated, open to public through registration

7:00 p.m. Eastern US
Dinner with Study Group: TBA

Syposium #3 | Late November/Early December
TBD Topic


Study Group

  • Students and post-doctoral fellows may submit the online application to join the study group prior to the April 6, 2022 deadline.
     
  • The study group will participate in the symposium series and meet monthly from May - December 2022 as follows:
    • May 23, 2022, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. (Eastern US)
    • June 20, 2022, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. (Eastern US)
    • July 25, 2022, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. (Eastern US)
    • August 22, 2022, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. (Eastern US)
    • September 19, 2022, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. (Eastern US)
    • October 17, 2022, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. (Eastern US)
    • November 14, 2022, Noon - 3 p.m. (Eastern US)
    • December 12, 2022, Noon - 3 p.m. (Eastern US)

Project Background

The effort is shaped around two praxes of freedom core to multiple knowledge traditions: the study group and the dialectic.

[View Program Overview (PDF) for full background] 

In her now oft-quoted essay, Arundhati Roy called on us to understand the pandemic as “a portal, a gateway between one world and the next” and to move through it deliberately, “with little luggage, ready to imagine another world. And ready to fight for it”.

Just months later, not far from where she penned those very words, Indian farmers, agricultural workers, and other laborers undertook the largest labor strike known to history—one that is ongoing.The labor strike itself, as form and function, is a portal of sorts. It is the agentive assertion of moving from one set of conditions through transformation to a future imagined by workers.


Leadership Team

Sabina Vaught headshotSabina Vaught (Principal Investigator) is professor and chair of the Department of Teaching, Learning, and Leading at the Pitt School of Education.

 

 

 

Elon Dancy HeadshotElon Dancy (Co-Principal Investigator) is executive director of the Center for Urban Education and Helen Faison Chair in Urban Education at the Pitt School of Education. 


 


 

Nancy Glazener headshotNancy Glazener (Co-Principal Investigator) is a professor of English and Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies (GSWS) and director of Pitt's GSWS Program.

 


 


Funding Support

The project team is grateful for the generous support of the Spencer Foundation. The foundation supports projects that examine critical issues in advancing racial equity and innovative methods.


Media Coverage

Read the feature story, "Exploring the Labor Strike as a Portal for Freedom," on the School of Education news site. 

Contact Us

For questions or more information, contact Dr. Sabina Vaught at svaught@pitt.edu.