What does CRT have to do with a roof?: critical race spatial praxis – an equity approach to institutional planning, college design, and campus space

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Amara Haydee Perez (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Kathy Hytten

Abstract: Educational settings are an under-examined mechanism of social reproduction. “Hidden” in plain sight, college space is embedded with socializing messages that pass largely unacknowledged. So commonplace are the spatial arrangements of classrooms, cafeterias, bathrooms, and campuses that the ways spaces act to normalize social hierarchies and reproduce systems of power often escape critical scrutiny. In this study I examine how an integrated theoretical and praxis-oriented framework drawing upon the scholarship of the hidden curriculum, spatial theory, and critical race theory (CRT), serves as a means to reveal “invisible” mechanisms of socialization and open possibilities to disrupt their influence. Portland Community College (PCC) located in Portland, Oregon serves as a case study of how applied CRT in facilities planning and design can help to expose the ways in which educational settings reproduce dominant ideologies and, at the same time, how systemic and structural changes can advance racial equity. I employed two methodological approaches—ethnography and participatory action research (PAR)—and collected data over a period of nine months. Drawing on systematically documented, recorded, and transcribed interviews, observations, focus groups, meetings, and a student PAR project, I analyze institutional planning, campus design, and students’ experiences navigating college space. I argue CRT is well positioned to bridge the significant theory practice divide. In illustrating the strategic potential of CRT, I hope to encourage educators and campus leaders to apply CRT in the development of practical and transformative strategies to advance equity and inclusion, including changing the very architecture of education.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2020
Critical race spatial analysis, Critical race theory, Equity and inclusion, Hidden curriculum, Liberatory pedagogy, Spatial theory
Campus planning
College facilities $x Planning
Racism in higher education
Space $x Social aspects
Portland Community College (Portland, Or.)

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