3/6: Global Perspectives on the Fight for Higher Education

3/6: Global Perspectives on the Fight for Higher Education

Monday, March 6, 2017
2 pm – 4 pm
Skylight Room (9100)
Livestream: bit.ly/fight4edu-live
RSVP: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/global-perspectives-on-the-fight-for-higher-education-registration-32250509141

Join the Futures Initiative for a roundtable discussion on “Global Perspectives on the Fight for Higher Education,” in which we will share strategies across the globe and highlight the urgent need for abolition and decolonial education. The discussion will (re)focus our collective attention on how the university can be repurposed to serve the larger public towards liberatory ends.

The discussion will be moderated by Allison Guess (Futures Initiative Fellow, GC Doctoral Student in Earth and Environmental Sciences (Geography).

This roundtable discussion is the 5th in this year’s series The University Worth Fighting For and ties liberation pedagogical practices to race, class, gender and institutional change.

During and after the event, add your questions and comments to this Google Doc. We also invite you to join a Twitter chat on “The Global Fight for Higher Education” hosted by HASTAC Scholars on March 6th from 4p.m. to 5 p.m. at the hashtag #fight4edu.


Event Schedule: 
2:00-3:00: Marianna Poyares (Occupy in Brazil, high schools & Universities) Zandi Radebe   (Demands for Decolonial Edu. in South Africa) Cleopatra Funzani Mtembu (Student organizing & Fallist Movement, South Africa)

3:00-4:00: Eve Tuck (Indigenous Education in Canada) Zee Dempster (PSC at CUNY and why important to get involved) Arianna Martinez (Sanctuary Movement at LaGuardia)

4:00: Closing Remarks


Marianna Poyares is a PhD student at The New School for Social Research in Philosophy. Before moving to NYC, Poyares earned a Masters in at the University of São Paulo in Philosophy and taught Portuguese at Bridge Languatec. Poyares then went on to work at the Department of Education of the City Government of Rio de Janeiro, as administrator, coordinating a project that blended sports and education in Middle Schools, part of the so-called Olympic legacy. She also worked as part-time faculty at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro while the nation-wide protests of 2013 were taking place. Now in NYC, she has been working at the Provost Office of The New School in designing curricula for new undergraduate initiatives. Her academic research focuses on ethics and political philosophy. She is particularly interested in education as emancipation – taking from Liberation Philosophy – and in the active role of educational institutions within communities.

Zandi Radebe is a junior lecturer in the department of Political Science at the University of South Africa. She teaches Political Philosophy and her research interest include Black Radical Thought, Black Consciousness Pan Afrikan Thought and Black Existentialism. Radebe is a member of the UNISA Decoloniality Collective and has been instrumental in the advancement of Decolonility on her campus, including coordinating the annual UNISA Summer School on Decolonizing Knowledge, Power and Being program. As an activist and scholar. Radebe is the founder of many liberation-based organizations in her community, including Siyaphambili Youth Pioneers (SYP); a youth mentorship program that engages young minds in a number of consciousness building activities through education and learning. Radebe is also the leader and founder of the Blackhouse Kollective; a Soweto based initiative that concerns with community programs that education on Anti-Black racism and Decoloniality through activism and scholarship. The Kollective has been very instrumental in the student struggles in South Africa and is home to social activists, artist, students in law; philosophy, political sciences, educators, professors, intellectuals and young professionals. The Blackhouse Kollective has internationally acknowledged luminaries in our arena of discourse to share knowledge with our community through public lectures. These leading thinkers include Charles Mills, Lewis Gordon, Janine Jones, Joy James, Magobo Ramose, Cde President Tiyani Mabasa, Oyeronke Oyewumi, CK Raju and Nelson Maldonado-Torres. The long term objective is building community driven centre of knowledge production centre open to all  black people and for the purpose of appropriating  Black Thought as a tool for the liberation of occupied Azania.

Cleopatra Funzani Mtembu is a young activist born in Kagiso and grew up in Soweto South Africa. A Finance graduate from the University of Johannesburg, she is currently pursuing her postgraduate studies. Fees Must Fall and Outsourcing Must Fall was the beginning of her on the ground activism and she was one of the students in the forefront of these movements within her university. Fees Must Fall is a call made by students across universities in South Africa for the decolonization of the school curriculum and stood in opposition to the exorbitant cost of studies that lead to the commodification of education. Outsourcing Must Fall emanated from recognizing that students and workers’ struggles are intertwined. Students and workers demanded that the universities insource all its unskilled workers so to receive similar benefits as its skilled workers and to pay them decent salaries.  She is a member of the Fallist movement, which primarily has three guiding cardinal pillars: Black Consciousness, Pan-Africanism and Black radical feminism. She is also a member and a student of the Blackhouse Kollective, a community based decolonization organization.

Zee Dempster is the Assistant Director of IRADAC and the Assistant Coordinator of the Africana Studies Certificate Program at the Graduate Center.  She has a B.S in Computer Science and a M.A in Government and Politics from St. John’s University.  She is an active union member who serves as a HEO delegate for the PSC (Professional Staff Congress) Graduate Center chapter, on the Labor Management and Adjunct committees and as a HEO representative to the PSC CUNY Welfare Fund.

Eve Tuck is Associate Professor of Critical Race and Indigenous Studies at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), University of Toronto. She is a William T Grant Scholar (2015-2020) and was a Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow in 2011.Tuck’s writing and research is on urban education and Indigenous studies. As a whole, her work focuses on how Indigenous social thought can be engaged to create more fair and just social policy, more meaningful social movements, and when that doesn’t work, robust approaches to decolonization. Tuck is Unangax and is an enrolled member of the Aleut Community of St. Paul Island, Alaska.

Arianna Martinez is an Associate Professor of Urban Studies at LaGuardia Community College. She received her PhD from Rutgers University in urban planning and geography. She has analyzed the criminalization of Latino immigrant communities in municipalities where both space and citizenship are hotly contested. Martinez’s current scholarship focuses on national immigration policy, the urban transformation and empowerment of Latino communities, and LGBTQ immigrant enclaves. She is happy to call Queens her home.

Event Organizer & Moderator:
Allison Guess is a Doctoral Fellow at the Futures Initiative and PhD student in the program of Earth and Environmental Sciences (Geography) at the Graduate Center at CUNY. Guess’ research is looks at Black geographies, Black people’s relationships to land in the Western Hemisphere and (Black) productions of place. Concerned with collective liberation, Allison is theorizing (Black geographic) abundance and some of her scholarly work can be found published in American Quarterly, Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society and Departures in Critical Qualitative Research. Aside from academia Allison has been a member of the Black/Land Project, a community research/interview project that amplifies Black people’s relationships to land and place and she is the New York City network leader for a national Black-led organization called Outdoor Afro. Allison calls herself a geotheorist of Black relationships to land, a concept she coined in 2014. Follow Allison on Twitter at @AllisonGuess1



This event is co-sponsored by The Center for Place, Culture and Politics, Women of Color Network, The Center for the Humanities and HASTAC. It is free and open to the public.

3/6: Global Perspectives on the Fight for Higher Education
Date: 03/06/2017
Time: 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Location: Skylight Conference Room, 9th Floor
Address: 365 Fifth Avenue, New York 10016 (View Map)

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