New Edited Volume--Toward What Justice? Describing Diverse Dreams of Justice in Education

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Toward What Justice? Describing Diverse Dreams of Justice in Education, Edited by Eve Tuck & K. Wayne Yang, 2018

Toward What Justice? brings together compelling ideas from a wide range of intellectual traditions in education to discuss corresponding and sometimes competing definitions of justice. Leading scholars articulate new ideas and challenge entrenched views of what justice means when considered from the perspectives of diverse communities. Their chapters, written boldly and pressing directly into the difficult and even strained questions of justice, reflect on the contingencies and incongruences at work when considering what justice wants and requires. At its heart, Toward What Justice? is a book about justice projects, and the incommensurable investments that social justice projects can make. It is a must-have volume for scholars and students working at the intersection of education and Indigenous studies, critical disability studies, climate change research, queer studies, and more.

Review by Ashon Crawley:

"What if justice were a collective improvisational practice and not a thing that we could seize and hold? What if justice were not simple nor simplistic, what if it were not an empty set nor an empty void? How would we then approach the possibility for doing, practicing, inhabiting the rubric and sign of social justice? In this volume, edited by Eve Tuck and K. Wayne Yang, justice as social is put to question. Theirs is a project that grounds contingency and incommensurability not as foreclosures but as openings to the very possibilities for collaborative work and practice. In this way, justice-social would not be a private property to be grasped and held and owned, settler logic, but would instead be a pursuit in the direction of a mode for relating, a practice of behavior, a way of life. Not a utopia but a restiveness and desire and drive that imagines the constant flow and force of unfolding otherwise possibility."

—Ashon Crawley is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies and African American and African Studies at the University of Virginia, USA

Table of Contents

Introduction: Born Under the Rising Sign of Social Justice

[Eve Tuck and K. Wayne Yang]

1. Against Prisons and the Pipeline to Them

[Crystal Laura]

2.Beginning and Ending with Black Suffering: A Meditation on and Against Racial Justice in Education

[Michael J. Dumas]

3. Refusing the University

[Sandy Grande]

4. Towards Justice as Ontology: Disability and the Question of (In)Difference

[Nirmala Erevelles]

5. Against Social Justice and The Limits of Diversity; or Black People and Freedom

[Rinaldo Walcott]

6.When Justice is a Lackey

[Leigh Patel]

7. The Revolution Has Begun

[Christi Belcourt]

8.Pedagogical Applications of Toward What Justice

[Deanna Del Vecchio, Sam Spady, and Nisha Toomey]

OISE Professor Eve Tuck, newly appointed Canada Research Chair, to tackle groundbreaking research with Indigenous youth and communities

Link to article

In Canada and around the world, committing truth and reconciliation with regard to how settler societies have abused and disrespected Indigenous communities, requires community-led research approaches that reflect Indigenous ways of knowing and acting.

In her recently announced position as Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Methodologies with Youth and Communities, OISE Professor Eve Tuck will provide significant leadership at this important time.

Dr. Tuck’s research is extremely innovative, timely and important,” said Abigail Bakan, Chair of Social Justice Education at OISE. “We are in an era of considerable, and long overdue, attention on reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, particularly regarding education. Dr. Tuck’s CRC focusses on Indigenous methodologies, specifically with youth and communities, and will involve these communities centrally in every stage of the research process.”

“We will all benefit greatly from this work – in the Department of Social Justice Education, at OISE, at the University of Toronto, and in the wider community,” she noted.

Building critical knowledge

Professor Tuck’s work will build critical knowledge about Indigenous research participatory methodologies rather unlike traditional Eurocentric approaches.

OISE Dean Glen Jones says this approach is critical.

“Eve’s program of research on participatory, community-based Indigenous research methodologies will make a vital contribution to the understanding of how we can and should engage communities in collaborative research,” he said.

Noting that OISE has a number of outstanding professors pursuing critical scholarship on Indigenous ways of knowing and education, Jones said, “I am extremely pleased that one of these excellent scholars, Eve Tuck, will receive national recognition through her appointment as a Canada Research Chair. Eve is an exceptional scholar and a huge contributor to our community. Her work will have both national and international impact.”

Impact of social movements on youth

Prof. Tuck says her work as Canada Research Chair aligns well with research she’s conducting as part of
an SSHRC IDG (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Insight Development Grants), for which she is already running a participatory project. This work, ‘Making sense of movements’, will be part of her CRC research agenda.

“These are young Black and Indigenous youth who are growing up during the Idle No More and Black Lives Matter movements. We’re using photovoice (participatory photography research) to think about how growing up during those social movements informs the decisions young people make about what they’ll do after high school and the kinds of futures they can dream,” she explained, noting the research also involves thinking about Toronto as Indigenous land and the type of “shared futures” people living there can have.  


‘We both teared up’

Overall, Prof. Tuck says she’s extremely grateful for the CRC appointment and the opportunity to pursue such important work.

She first learned she’d been selected for the CRC at the AERA (American Educational Research Association) conference, when two OISE colleagues, Lara Cartmale and Michele Peterson-Bidali, pulled her aside to tell her she’d been chosen.

“They came into the room just before the session was about to begin, and they called me down…they did it in a way that made me wonder if it was an emergency. It didn’t cross my mind at all that they were sharing this news. Then Lara said, ‘You got it!’ and we both teared up because we had worked really hard,” she said. “There was a whole team of people involved to make the application ready and it was really neat to have been told in that way.”



Eve Tuck is featured in a profile published by Indian Country Media Network

Change for the Better: How One Native Researcher Is Improving the Lives of Young People

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Lynn Armitage • October 20, 2016

As a young girl, Eve Tuck spent a lot of time visiting relatives in St. Paul Island, Alaska—the largest of the Pribilof Islands in the Bering Sea where fur seals migrate and breed. It’s a place she fondly calls home, even though she was born and raised in Pennsylvania. “It is the most beautiful place I have ever been, but my memory can never compare to the experience of being there,” says the 37-year-old Unangax.

It’s also a place where she learned to mistrust researchers. Family members often told stories about the U.S. government working with these scholars on the island to harvest and process seals, eventually driving her ancestors into forced labor and relocation.

When she applied to graduate school at The Graduate Center of the City University of New York, she learned that research would be a significant part of her academic work, and she considered dropping out of the program. “Becoming a researcher was a big ethical dilemma for me.” But thanks to the encouragement of her mentor, Tuck went on to earn her Ph.D. in Urban Education, and found her calling.

“I was able to find in participatory action research an ethic that was really working against exploitation, honoring the expertise of participants and following the lead of young people and community members who have real research needs,” says the associate professor of Critical Race and Indigenous Studies at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto.

Tuck’s research centers on the experiences of youth and communities around education and social policy. “So instead of doing research on people, I do research WITH people,” she explains. One of her passions is showing how indigenous social thought can address/is relevant to addressing social problems. “From a very early age, I understood that inequity and inequality are created by society. To me, that means we can change them.” Tuck says it is important to look at the theories of Native and indigenous people who have lived in Canada and the U.S. to analyze social problems. “So much of that knowledge can inform how we make change and how we make space for one another in our societies.”

One of her earlier studies highlighted the consequences of the Regents Exam. When it became mandatory, she says it contributed to a culture of pushing out students from New York City high schools. “This narrowing of routes to graduation was going to choke graduation opportunities for youth who were never going to pass those tests,” says Tuck, who discovered that teachers and school administrators were frequently encouraging certain students to drop out and pursue a GED. She said this unwanted population was more likely to be students of color, queer, disabled, or politically vocal and critical of school procedures.

“Our research found that the GED can’t be the last remaining alternative for young people who are not going to pass Regents exams in New York. There is a need for multiple routes to graduation, not in a tiered system, but so that each of those routes is challenging and meaningful, not just based on a test,” she explains the outcome. Her research also resulted in a “Youth to Youth Guide to the GED,” widely printed and distributed in libraries and GED centers.

Tuck is the author/co-editor of several books. But is perhaps best known for a 2012 article she wrote with colleague K. Wayne Yang called “Decolonization is Not a Metaphor,” which garnered widespread attention. “Through that paper, we heard from a lot of community organizations about the land-based work they are doing and created the Land Relationship Super Collective to help bring all these people together.”

Currently, Tuck is in the first year of a five-year study working with migrant youth, ages 12 to 20, in New York City on issues involving Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). This national immigration policy implemented in 2012 allows some undocumented youth to receive a renewable two-year work permit and exemption from deportation. “New York is a state where a large population of young people are eligible for DACA, but don’t participate. And we are trying to find out why,” she says.

For this study, Tuck trained these young migrants to collect data using photovoice research, a participatory method by which researchers use photography to answer the questions being posed. “They are so enthusiastic about it and see it as a way to push back against the injustices they see in the world,” she says.

Tuck defines herself as a teacher, researcher and writer. “I’m lucky that I do the work that I do because it puts my hope and despair in balance. If I just worked on policy, I would be in despair all the time. But because I do work with youth and communities, I am more often very hopeful.”

One area of education that deeply concerns this Native academic is the standardization of learning, such as the Common Core-aligned test standards adopted by 42 states and the District of Columbia. “I am troubled by any kind of curriculum or test-based policy that says learning happens only in one particular way. The process of learning, by definition, cannot be standardized,” she explains.

She believes standardization is an especially bad fit for indigenous children. “They come from communities where place really matters and attend schools which ask them to leave all that at the door in order to learn a knowledge that says everything is the same everywhere. It’s ridiculous!”

Tuck says the result can be quite detrimental. “It teaches young people that school is not for them, and that they are not meant for this place that we require them to go by law.”

What really excites Tuck is finding ways to organize schools by trying to answer the question: What does schooling feel like? “Making schools more local, more relational, more intergenerational and as bases that are the hubs of communities and sites for conversations … I welcome policies that will make this happen.”

Lynn Armitage is a contributing writer and an enrolled member of the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin.

Associate Professor Eve Tuck has joined the Department of Social Justice Education.

Article by Marisol D'Andrea, Administrative Coordinator, OISE Research

Associate Professor Eve Tuck has joined the Department of Social Justice Education. Tuck is Unangax̂ and a member of the Tribal Government of St Paul Island, in Alaska. She grew up outside of her territory in Pennsylvania, near Hershey. Tuck completed her PhD in Urban Education at The Graduate Center, The City University of New York. She lived in New York for 18 years prior to coming to OISE from State University of New York at New Paltz, where she was Associate Professor of Educational Foundations and Coordinator of Native American Studies.

Tuck raises questions about audience and the purposes of academic labor, and she explains that her theoretical work also “engages questions of decolonization, desire, futurity, making claims, ethics of research, and settler colonialism.” She uses participatory action research and is especially concerned with “Indigenous theorizations of settler colonialism and Black theorizations of antiblackness, specifically what they (can) say to one another.”

As a William T. Grant Foundation Scholar (2015-2020), she will study mobile migrant youth in New York's Hudson Valley. Her participatory project will examine the purposes of schooling, navigating federal and state level immigration-education policies, and relationships to place and home through interviews and photovoice. She is also working on other projects, as she explains, “I also have started a new initiative, the Land Relationships Super Collective, with my frequent collaborator K. Wayne Yang. I have several ongoing collaborations with the Super Futures Haunt Qollective and The Black Land Project.” Tuck hopes to begin a new participatory research project with Black youth and Indigenous youth on relationships to selfsame (urban) land.

Tuck is excited to be now at OISE and to be a part of the community of Indigenous theorists at OISE. She further wishes to reflect on the term “social justice” and its implications to colonialism and antiblackness. In addition, she hopes the Unangax̂ community is proud of her because she asserts, “I am so proud of them.”

Link to original article

Tuck to Join Department of Social Justice Education at OISE, Toronto

Soon, Eve Tuck will join the department of Social Justice Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), University of Toronto as Associate Professor of Critical Race and Indigenous Studies.

Previously, Tuck was Associate Professor of Educational Studies and Coordinator of Native American Studies at State University of New York at New Paltz.

She is thrilled to be joining this vibrant intellectual and political community.


From the department chair, Abigail Bakan: 

I am very pleased to inform you that Dr. Eve Tuck will be joining the Department of SJE as of July 1, 2015, as Associate Professor in the area of Critical Race/Indigenous Studies in Education.

Dr. Tuck received her Ph.D. in 2008 in Urban Education at The Graduate Center, The City University of New York.  The title of her dissertation was “Gateways and Get-aways: Urban Youth, School Pushout and the GED.” She is currently Associate Professor of Educational Foundations, and Coordinator of Native American Studies, at State University of New York at New Paltz. Her publications include, with K. W. Yang, eds., Youth Resistance Research and Theories of Change (2014); and, with M. Smith, A.M. Guess, T. Benjamin and B.K Jones, “Geotheorizing Black/Land: Contestations and Contingent Collaborations”, Departures in Critical Qualitative Research (2014). She was recently named William T. Grant Foundation Scholar, adding to a list of prestigious awards, including an Early Career Award from the Committee on Scholars of Color in Education of the American Educational Research Association (2014), a Ford Foundation Diversity Postdoctoral Fellowship (2011-2012), the Outstanding Book of the Year Award from the Qualitative Research SIG of AERA (2013), and a Critics Choice Book Award (2013) from the American Educational Studies Association. Dr. Tuck is Unangax, a member of the Tribal Government of St. Paul Island, in Alaska.

This is excellent news for our department. Please welcome Dr. Tuck to this new position, joining and contributing to our outstanding faculty, students and staff.



Place in Research

New in 2015

Eve Tuck and Marcia McKenzie

Bridging environmental and Indigenous studies and drawing on critical geography, spatial theory, new materialist theory, and decolonizing theory, this dynamic volume examines the sometimes overlooked significance of place in social science research. There are often important divergences and even competing logics at work in these areas of research, some which may indeed be incommensurable. This volume explores how researchers around the globe are coming to terms – both theoretically and practically – with place in the context of settler colonialism, globalization, and environmental degradation. Tuck and McKenzie outline a trajectory of critical place inquiry that not only furthers empirical knowledge, but ethically imagines new possibilities for collaboration and action.

Critical place inquiry can involve a range of research methodologies; this volume argues that what matters is how the chosen methodology engages conceptually with place in order to mobilize methods that enable data collection and analyses that address place explicitly and politically. Unlike other approaches that attempt to superficially tag on Indigenous concerns, decolonizing conceptualizations of land and place and Indigenous methods are central, not peripheral, to practices of critical place inquiry.

Youth Resistance Research and Theories of Change

New in 2014

Youth resistance has become a pressing global phenomenon, to which many educators and researchers have looked for inspiration and/or with chagrin. Although the topic of much discussion and debate, it remains dramatically under-theorized, particularly in terms of theories of change. Resistance has been a prominent concern of educational research for several decades, yet understandings of youth resistance frequently lack complexity, often seize upon convenient examples to confirm entrenched ideas about social change, and overly regulate what “counts” as progress. As this comprehensive volume illustrates, understanding and researching youth resistance requires much more than a one-dimensional theory.

Youth Resistance Research and Theories of Change provides readers with new ways to see and engage youth resistance to educational injustices. This volume features interviews with prominent theorists, including Signithia Fordham, James C. Scott, Michelle Fine, Robin D.G. Kelley, Gerald Vizenor, and Pedro Noguera, reflecting on their own work in light of contemporary uprisings, neoliberal crises, and the impact of new technologies globally. Chapters presenting new studies in youth resistance exemplify approaches which move beyond calcified theories of resistance. Essays on needed interventions to youth resistance research provide guidance for further study. As a whole, this rich volume challenges current thinking on resistance, and extends new trajectories for research, collaboration, and justice.


Editorial reviews

“This cogent, rich, and multi-voiced volume advances the field of resistance theory by countering attempts in mainstream scholarship to domesticate youth resistance under the banner of such terms as ‘empowerment’ or ‘civic participation.’ It faces squarely the messiness of resistance by illuminating its complexities, contradictions, tensions, and dilemmas in ways that both honor and deepen our understanding of youth’s acts of agency.  Kudos to Eve Tuck and K. Wayne Yang for a bold and courageous text!”—Angela Valenzuela, author of Subtractive Schooling and Leaving Children Behind, College of Education, University of Texas at Austin

“The passion, clarity, and diversity of thought offered here powerfully signal new possibilities for how educators can critically comprehend conditions of educational injustice and the vital role youth resistance plays in the process of transformation. In contrast to the disrespect and hopelessness often attributed to youth in schools, these essays speak volumes to the formidable strength and courage of students, who despite potential risks, rise up valiantly to oppose colonizing educational practices that threaten their humanity.  Most importantly, the book challenges one-dimensional notions of youth and resistance by rethinking structural complexities so often ignored. It is truly a must read.”—Antonia Darder, Leavey Endowed Chair in Ethics and Moral Leadership, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles

“Tuck and Yang’s Youth Resistance Research and Theories of Change could not have come at a better time. Public education, our youth, and communities of color have come under assault from an onslaught of neoliberal education and public policy reforms. This book not only helps us understand resistance in more complex and powerful ways, it points to the critical role of youth in building, activating, and sustaining social justice movements in the 21st century.”—Wayne Au, editor for Rethinking Schools and Associate Professor of Education, University of Washington-Bothell