Harvard Educational Review
  1. Winter 2016 Issue »

    Hip-Hop Citizens

    Arts-Based, Culturally Sustaining Civic Engagement Pedagogy

    PAUL J. KUTTNER
    Amid concerns about the decreasing political engagement of young people, scholars and policy makers have begun discussing the “civic achievement gap,” disparities in civic capacity between low-income students and Students of Color and their White, wealthier counterparts. While this scholarship raises important issues, it often relies on a narrow view of civic engagement, downplaying alternative forms of civic activity and the variability of civic life across contexts. This can lead to deficit-based models of civic education that bypass the opportunity to tap into the many less-visible ways youth, particularly those from low-income Communities of Color, are already engaged in civic life. In this article, Paul J. Kuttner offers as an alternative approach, youth cultural organizing, which engages young people in catalyzing change in their communities through the arts and other forms of cultural expression, drawing on shared cultural resources. He presents a theoretical framework for this culturally sustaining civic engagement pedagogy based on a case study of the organization Project HIP-HOP, and he explores the potential of the arts and hip-hop culture as asset-based spaces within which to engage young people in civic life.

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    Paul J. Kuttner is an educator, organizer, and scholar whose work focuses on community-based, culturally sustaining approaches to education and civic engagement. In 2015, Kuttner joined the staff at University Neighborhood Partners at the University of Utah, where he builds university-community collaborations that promote educational justice and grassroots development. Kuttner is a qualitative researcher and ethnographer committed to engaged scholarship conducted in partnership with youth and communities. Prior to his graduate studies, he taught theater and civic engagement in schools and community organizations in Chicago. He is a coauthor of A Match on Dry Grass: Community Organizing as a Catalyst for School Reform (Oxford University Press, 2011) and a coeditor of Disrupting the School-to-Prison Pipeline (Harvard Education Press, 2012). His work has been published in both academic and popular venues, including Curriculum Inquiry and the Journal of Curriculum Theorizing. He is a board member of the Mestizo Institute of Culture and Arts, a member of the Family Leadership Design Collaborative, and a cabinet member for the US Department of Arts and Culture. Kuttner blogs at culturalorganizing.org.
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    Winter 2016 Issue

    Abstracts

    Brown Bodies and Xenophobic Bullying in US Schools
    Critical Analysis and Strategies for Action
    MONISHA BAJAJ, AMEENA GHAFFAR-KUCHER, AND KARISHMA DESAI
    The Origins of Classroom Deliberation
    Education in the Shadow of Totalitarianism, 1938–1960
    THOMAS D. FALLACE
    Hip-Hop Citizens
    Arts-Based, Culturally Sustaining Civic Engagement Pedagogy
    PAUL J. KUTTNER
    Teaching Mathematics for Spatial Justice
    Beyond a Victory Narrative
    LAURIE H. RUBEL,MAREN HALL-WIECKERT, AND VIVIAN Y. LIM
    Grade Repetition and Primary School Dropout in Uganda
    SARAH KABAY

    Book Notes

    Data Literacy for Educators
    Ellen B. Mandinach and Edith S. Gummer

    Transforming the Academy
    Edited by Sarah Willie-LeBreton