This session took place during Course Hero’s 2020 virtual Education Summit, July 29-31, as part of the State of Higher Education track.
Session Title: Black Presence Matters: Pandemic, Protest, and the Urgency of Online Education
Date and Time: Wednesday, July 29, 2020, from 4:00 PM to 5:15 PM PDT
Gaye Theresa Johnson, Associate Professor of Chicanx and Central American Studies; and African American Studies, UCLA
Ingrid Banks, Department Chair and Associate Professor of Black Studies, UCSB
Terrance Wooten, Associate Professor of Black Studies, UCSB
Format: Panel Discussion
Session Details: Anti-Blackness is pervasive and persistent within the United States and institutions of higher learning are a reflection of the broader society’s views about Black people. The underrepresentation of Black professors within the academy feeds the perception that we are unqualified to teach. A clear threat exists regarding the presence of Black faculty in brick-and-mortar spaces. As a result, there is a need to maintain what little presence we do possess in both face-to-face and online teaching. The pandemic has clearly shifted our presence and labor to online instruction. In addition, the protests across the nation have marked our online presence as equally urgent in the move to remote instruction. As Black educators who have experienced this shift from late March to mid-June 2020, we discuss the importance of what we teach in relationship to and in the context of a global pandemic and protests in 50 states and Washington, D.C. We center the urgency of the presence of Black faculty teaching about pressing social matters, as well as the urgency with which our teaching and our bodies doing the teaching matters. In essence, we grapple with the “urgency of online education” through the lens of Black presence and in the context of a pandemic that disproportionately kills Black people, as well as protests that are a reaction to persistent acts of anti-Blackness through formal and informal policing in the United States.