Place-Based Education in Detroit: A Critical History of The James & Grace Lee Boggs School

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Christina Van Houten


This essay is a critical history of the Boggs School in Detroit.  In the context of education activism, the significance of the Boggs School is that it centralizes activist schooling as a complement to teacher activism.  More specifically, the school adds to our understanding of activist schooling traditions, the work of African American radicals in creating transformative education, and critical notions of schooling that operate both within and outside the public schooling tradition.  This essay will describe the Boggs School’s activist history, focusing on the following three areas: the events leading to the formation of the Boggs School; the radical education history informing the school’s theory and practice; and the school’s social, political, and educational interventions in Detroit and the way in which this activism is influencing national conversations.


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Author Biography

Christina Van Houten, Georgia Institute of Technology

Christina Van Houten is a Marion L. Brittain Postdoctoral Fellow at the Georgia Institute of Technology.  She earned her PhD in English from the University of Florida in 2012, and she specializes in American literature, feminist and critical theory, and cultural studies.  She has essays published or forthcoming in Politics and Culture and Women’s Studies.