Professor investigates citizenship-education dilemma in new book of essays

April 1, 2020

James A. Banks, University of Washington College of Education emeritus professor, explores how education programs interact with democracy and justice in his new book “Diversity, Transformative Knowledge, and Civic Education: Selected Essays.”

The book, set for an April 2020 release, delves into conceptual, curricular, and pedagogical issues related to what Banks designates the “citizenship-education dilemma.” This dilemma manifests as education programs navigate teaching democratic values in contexts that inherently contradict justice, equality and human rights. Banks calls for more transformative education through student experiences in schools that allow them to encounter these democratic values firsthand.

“The book consists of a collection of my published essays on diversity, transformative knowledge and civic education,” says Banks. “The essays span a period of 37 years, and show how my work expanded but remained interrelated during these decades.”

Gerard A. Postiglione, professor in sociology and educational policy at the University of Hong Kong, calls the book “a remarkable journey through a half-century of transformative ideas in the field of multicultural education, citizenship and identity by its most pivotal figure.”

The essay collection comprises three parts. Part One introduces race and knowledge construction and examines their implications in transformative curriculum reform.

In Part Two, Banks discusses cultural democracy and civic education in the context of multicultural nations.

The book concludes as Part Three investigates how transformative civic education can occur for both non-citizen and citizen students on a global scale.

“This timely book illuminates the importance of the current quests by marginalized groups around the world for full citizenship and sheds light on the heated and divisive debates that are taking place about citizenship and civic education,” says Linda Darling-Hammond, Charles E. Ducommun professor emeritus at Stanford University and president of the Learning Policy Institute.

Banks is the Kerry and Linda Killinger endowed chair in diversity studies emeritus and founding director of UW’s Center for Multicultural Education (now the Banks Center for Educational Justice). He presided over the American Educational Research Association and the National Council for the Social Studies and has written and edited numerous other published works exploring educational institutions, citizenship education and diversity.

Story by Sally Holmes.


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