URI professor awarded fellowship to study student response to anti-Black curriculums

SOUTH KINGSTOWN – A University of Rhode Island urban education and secondary social studies professor was awarded a $70,000 National Academy of Education Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship grant to research the influence of anti-Blackness in U.S. education and promote comprehensive representations of Black experiences in middle and high school curriculums.

URI says Tashal Brown’s project, titled “Disrupting Anti-Black Logics in Education: Cultivating Critical Perspectives and Expansive Representations of Black Histories and Cultures in School Curriculum,” investigates curricula that neglects and portrays Black history through a lens of trauma that harms Black students. Brown’s project says such curricula and impacts deny Black students their humanity, promoting deficit narratives and distorts or prohibits teaching Black history, the university says.

URI says the fellowships provide funding and professional development to early-career scholars whose projects address critical issues in the history, theory, or practice of formal or informal education at the national and international levels.

Brown will collaborate with Black educators from urban schools across the state to collect and analyze data for her project, URI says, and formulate interventions for educational environments where Black histories, cultures and literacies are valued.

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“Drawing from critical race theory and employing intersectional methodologies, the research aims to disrupt prevailing narratives and elevate the voices and experiences of Black students and other [youths] of color,” Brown said in a statement. “These frameworks are designed to authentically engage with students’ backgrounds, identities, and literacy practices, fostering a more inclusive understanding of Blackness.”

James Bessette is the PBN special projects editor, and also covers the nonprofit and education sectors. You may reach him at Bessette@PBN.com. You may also follow him on Twitter at @James_Bessette