Dr. Lasana Kazembe’s translational research project is a literacy and creative arts program that introduces participants to the cultural, historical, and political impact of six 20th century global Black Arts Movements. The program's foundation and focus draw from and build on research from the domains of Culturally Sustaining Pedagogy, Arts-based inquiry, and African Centered Education. In addition, elev8te's pedagogical and curricular framework is informed by the Six Culturally Inclusive Principles (developed by Dr. Joyce E. King, 2014, 2016, 2018) and the Six Dimensions of Culturally Responsive Teaching (Gay, 2010).
In addition, with its emphasis on the culturally-affirming literature of 20th century global Black Arts Movements, the program enables students to leverage the power of the arts and humanities to develop, fortify, and expand geo-literacy competencies and cultural knowledge. elev8te is designed to address the arts opportunity gap by providing students with access to research-based, hands-on arts learning opportunities. A growing body of research affirms that when part of a well-rounded education in schools, arts learning contributes to increased academic achievement and student success in preparation for college, career, and life. The program encourages students to learn about and to make content connections across the curriculum, broaden their academic horizons, and deepen learning and engagement. At its core, elev8te is informed by Culturally Responsive Teaching (CRT), a research-based pedagogical approach that creates and emphasizes meaningful connections between school learning and the students' heritage knowledge (i.e., their cultures, languages, traditions, experiences). By acknowledging and leveraging these connections, the program encourages the development of higher-level academic skills, as well as helping learners to see the relevance between what they learn at school and their lives. This is particularly important for African American children as their history, culture, and images is routinely marginalized and/or not emphasized in school curricula.
Dr. Kazembe's development of an arts-based, culturally responsive curriculum that leverages students' heritage knowledge, deepens and reinforces academic, aesthetic, and cultural literacies, and situates the arts as a counter-narrative to reclaim and teach a usable past is another excellent example of how IUPUI's faculty members are TRANSLATING their RESEARCH INTO PRACTICE.
In this article, we explore the need for decolonizing practices in teacher education for developing critical consciousness with preservice teachers of Color (PTOC). We assert that the development of critical consciousness for PTOC must include practices that specifically attend to their racialized experiences in the context of white spaces- their teacher preparation programs, the teaching profession, and society writ large- where they have been subjected to colonized paradigms of what it means to teach children of Color. We use culturally relevant/responsive teacher education to frame our discussion and place emphasis on the construct of critical consciousness.
(Oxford Research Encyclopedia, 2021-02-23) Kazembe, Lasana D.
For historically marginalized groups that continue to experience and struggle against hegemony and deculturalization, education is typically accompanied by suspicion of, critique of, and resistance to imposed modes, systems, and thought forms. It is, therefore, typical for dominant groups to ignore and/or regard as inferior the collective histories, heritages, cultures, customs, and epistemologies of subject groups. Deculturalization projects are fueled and framed by two broad, far-reaching impulses. The first impulse is characterized by the denial, deemphasis, dismissal, and attempted destruction of indigenous knowledge and methods by dominant groups across space and time. The second impulse is the effort by marginalized groups to recover, reclaim, and recenter ways of knowing, perceiving, creating, and utilizing indigenous knowledge, methods, symbols, and epistemologies. Deculturalization projects in education persist across various global contexts, as do struggles by global actors to reclaim their histories, affirm their humanity, and reinscribe indigenous ways of being, seeing, and flourishing within diverse educational and cultural contexts. The epistemologies, worldview, and existential challenges of historically marginalized groups (e.g., First Nations, African/African American, Latinx, Asian, and Pacific) operate as sites and tools of struggle against imperialism and dominant modes of seeing, being, and making meaning in the world. Multicultural groups resist deculturalization in their ongoing efforts to apprehend, interrogate, and situate their unique cultural ways of being as pedagogies of protracted resistance and praxes of liberation.
(Journal of African American Males in Education (JAAME), 2014) Kazembe, Lasana D.
Knowledge and ways of knowing derived from African American history and traditions have typically been marginalized or excluded from the learning landscape of African American students. This essay urges a turn to ways of knowing, valuing, and meaning making based on inquiry and teaching around cultural ideas espoused during the Black Arts Movement (1965-1976). As an alternative paradigm, Black Arts inquiry and pedagogy is presented as a functional extension of African American cultural knowledge and life praxes. The author draws from two sources: (a) the ideological mission undertaken by the cultural architects of the Black Arts Movement and (b) his extensive experience as a teaching artist. Both sources are interpreted and situated as modalities to encourage: (a) critical resistance to ideology and psycho-cultural models imposed by the dominant culture; (b) development of culturally based aesthetic and materialist approaches that make worthwhile use of African American cultural knowledge; (c) culturally-situated curricula to engage the intellectual and aesthetic sensibilities of Black males; and (d) the development of an apprenticeship tradition to appropriately interpret the African
American intellectual genealogy to successive generations.
(Chicago Review, 2019) Madhubhuti, Haki R.; Kazembe, Lasana D.
This interview was first conducted with Haki R. Madhubuti in his home on May 16, 2017, and revised in March 2019. As one of the architects of the Black Arts Movement (BAM), Professor Madhubuti has, for several decades, distinguished himself through letters, publishing, teaching, and developing independent Black institutions in Chicago. This extensive interview locates and centralizes Madhubuti’s national and international
influence among generations of artists, scholars, and activists. The title of this interview is adapted from In the Mecca (1968), Gwendolyn Brooks’s last publication with Harper & Row publishers. In the final line of her first poem about a young Don L. Lee (Haki R. Madhubuti), Miss Brooks describes him as wanting “a new music screaming in the sun.”
(Wiley, 2017) Kazembe, Lasana D.; School of Education
Most people have struggled with reading in one situation or another, depending on their appreciation for the content, their prior experiences, and the texts. This department column shares ways for educators to help literacy learners unlock their potential with instruction anchored in their skills, knowledge, ways of learning, interests, and attitudes.