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Sometimes Leaving Means Staying: Race and White Teachers’ Emotional Investments

by Zeus Leonardo & Blanca Gamez-Djokic - 2019

Emotional praxis is not a phrase usually associated with teaching and teacher education. Yet when race enters educational spaces, emotions frequently run high. In particular, Whites are often ill-equipped to handle emotions about race, either becoming debilitated by them or consistently evading them. Without critically understanding the relationship between race and emotions—or, simply, racialized emotions—teachers are unprepared to teach one of the most important topics in modern education. This chapter addresses this gap in education and teacher training by surveying the philosophical, sociological, and burgeoning literature on emotion in education to arrive at critical knowledge about the function and constitutive role it plays in discourses on race. Specifically, the argument delves into white racial emotions in light of the known fact that most teachers in the United States are White women. This means that our critical understanding of emotion during the teaching and learning interaction entails appreciation of both its racialized and gendered dimensions, and attention to both race and gender becomes part of emotional praxis. Finally, the essay ends with a proposal for an intersubjective race theory of emotion in education.

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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 121 Number 13, 2019, p. 1-22
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 22986, Date Accessed: 9/23/2021 10:28:07 PM

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About the Author
  • Zeus Leonardo
    University of California, Berkeley
    E-mail Author
    ZEUS LEONARDO is Professor and Associate Dean of Education and Faculty of the Critical Theory Designated Emphasis at the University of California, Berkeley. He is an AERA Fellow and Vice President of AERA’s Division G (2017–2020). He was co-editor of the Review of Educational Research (2011–2014) and has been on the editorial board of many journals, including Educational Researcher and AERJ, as well as being Associate Editor for North America of Race Ethnicity & Education. He has been a visiting professor at several universities, including the University of Colorado and the University of Washington, where he was acting director of the Center for Multicultural Education in 2005. Leonardo has authored or edited eight books, including Race Frameworks, and several dozen journal articles and book chapters that involve critical engagement with race and class stratification in education, democratic schooling, and diversity in multiple forms, including epistemological and ideological difference. He has received several recognitions, including the AESA R. Freeman Butts endowed lecture, the Barbara Powell Speaker Series lecture at the University of Regina, Canada, and the Derrick Bell Legacy Award from the Critical Race Studies in Education Association. In addition to invitations in the United States, he has accepted keynotes in England, Sweden, Canada, and Australia. He is finishing a book titled Edward Said and Education, which will appear in the Key Ideas Book Series from Routledge.
  • Blanca Gamez-Djokic
    University of California, Berkeley
    E-mail Author
    BLANCA GAMEZ-DJOKIC is a doctoral candidate in the Social and Cultural Studies Program at the Graduate School of Education at the University of California, Berkeley. Her research interests include the role that historical, social, and cultural factors play in the way emotions circulate in schools and how students leverage emotions to understand the processes of racial formation.
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