Border Thinking Reflexivity in City Schools

Possibilities for Teaching in Historically Red States


  • Juan F. Carrillo Arizona State University
  • Noah Karvelis University of Wisconsin, Madison


Teacher Activism, Reflexivity, public education, RedforEd, Red States, teaching, border thinking


“Red States” in the United States offer an example of the complex intersections of public education, race, conservative politics, language, and power/resistance which teachers live and work amongst. This article considers these intersections by focusing on the experiences and reflections of a former red state teacher and organizer. Following this, the article situates these reflections within border thinking and borderlands work, attempting to theorize the work of red state teachers. In doing so, the theoretical framework of Border Thinking Reflexivity is offered as a potential way of approaching such experiences and developing deeper understandings of the work of teaching in historically red states.

Author Biographies

Juan F. Carrillo, Arizona State University

Juan is a former high school social studies teacher in the barrios of south Phoenix, Arizona and east Austin, Texas. He is a Chicano from Los Angeles, California and currently teaches at Arizona State University’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College. As a cultural studies in education scholar, his research examines areas such as men of color and their educational/schooling trajectories, Latinx education, the politics and pedagogies of informal play, and teacher activism.

Noah Karvelis , University of Wisconsin, Madison

Noah is a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Originally from Pecatonica, Illinois, he previously taught K-8 music in Phoenix, Arizona where he also worked as a union president, campaign manager, and community organizer with the #RedForEd teacher movement in Arizona. His current research examines the histories and epistemologies of teacher activism and music education.