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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Anger as a Tool for Decolonization and Student Empowerment


My research centers anger, the emotions that 12th grade students of color exhibit as a response to and in solidarity with an anti-capitalist, anti-racist curriculum. As a social studies instructor in an urban Title I public school, i analyzed scholar performance on cumulative and summative assessments, auto-ethnographic journal entries, and class discussions as qualitative data. The purpose of this research is to reconceptualize “anger” and “disruption” in the urban classroom through a decolonial theoretical lens grounded in the work of Franz Fanon, bell hooks, Na’im Akbar, and Antonia Darder. I place culturally relevant pedagogy in conversation with decolonial, anti-capitalist authors, in order to perceive differently, or even perhaps embrace, anger within the classroom as a pedagogical tool for decolonization. While i focused on race, racism, racial violence and the U.S. political system in the first semester of Government, in Economics we tackled the system of global capitalism. I discuss a particular unit i constructed which explores the development of capitalism, and how the system is innately intertwined with the exploitation and destruction of our environment. At the end of the unit, my scholars’ written and oral performances on the final assessments indicate a critical understanding of capitalism, political change and the means by which that change may be erected.

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