1st Edition

Political Activism in Colleges and Universities Possibilities for Institutional Change toward Social Justice

Edited By Tina Cheuk, Rand Quinn, Jerusha Conner Copyright 2024

    This book explores the dynamics of political activism within colleges and universities. It critically examines the potential for institutional change towards social justice through the themes of identity development, tactics, and institutional responses, highlighting the possibilities of such efforts.

    With a focus on colleges and universities, the book examines how political activism can be harnessed to challenge existing power structures and promote equity and inclusivity. It presents a range of research that highlights how students, faculty, and administrators have mobilized for change. Chapters delve into the possibilities and limits of political engagement within higher educational institutions, offering valuable insights for understanding the potential of political activism in catalyzing positive change within colleges and universities. By shedding light on these efforts, the book critically examines the role of education in fostering social justice.

    Political Activism in Colleges and Universities will be an invaluable resource for scholars and practitioners in the fields of education, education policy and leadership, educational research, politics and developmental psychology, while also appealing to anyone interested in the power of collective action to shift policy and practice. This book was originally published as a special issue of Peabody Journal of Education.

    1. Introduction 2. “I don’t like to put labels on it”: Activism, Political Identity Development, and the Cultivation of Student Political Fluency 3. Radical Shifts: Prefiguring Activist Politicization through Legitimate Peripheral Participation 4. “Regardless, my students and I pressed on”: How Early-Career Teachers Develop Activist Identities 5. Using Strategies Elites Understand: Divestment as an Approach to Social Change 6. In Defense of Dignitary Safety: A Phenomenological Study of Student Resistance to Hate Speech on Campus 7. Relationships Between Institutional Agents and Student Activists 8. Afterword: Fugitive Praxis and the Unsettling of the Imperial University


    Tina Cheuk is Assistant Professor of Elementary Science Education at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, USA. She is a mother scholar, educator, and advocate focused on empowering and imagining futures that sustain and cultivate the learning, growth, and success of minoritized student groups in postsecondary education.

    Rand Quinn is Associate Professor of Education Policy and Leadership at the University of Pennsylvania, USA. He studies the origins and consequences of education organizing and activism, the politics of race and class in urban school reform, and the impact of private and voluntary sector engagement in public education.

    Jerusha Conner is Professor of Education in the Department of Education and Counseling at Villanova University, USA and directs the Graduate Programs in Education. As a parent-educator-scholar-activist, she focuses on understanding how young people develop agency and collective power, and how adults can support them in envisioning and bringing about more just and liberatory institutions and communities.