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Arizona State U. hires critical race scholar for its … music, dance and theatre school

Arizona State University has hired a critical race theory expert to join the faculty of its School of Music, Dance and Theater — “one of the few scholars” whose music research zeroes in on race and racism.

ASU News reports that Assistant Professor of Music Learning and Teaching Joyce McCall also is well-versed in “double consciousness theory” and culturally relevant pedagogy.

According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, “double consciousness” was coined by WEB DuBois over a century ago and is “a source of inward ‘twoness’ putatively experienced by African-Americans because of their racialized oppression and disvaluation in a white-dominated society.”

McCall (left) comes to ASU from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign where she taught courses on “transformative music education” and “social transformation, technology, and music.”

“[ASU] is my dream job in a sense, because this is an opportunity to do the work that I do and also be able to do it in a place that provides me with a space where I can thrive,” McCall said.

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McCall added she initially wasn’t looking to go into teaching, but eventually “realized that everything she was pursuing” was going in that direction. She said while teaching at a predominately Latino school in Houston, Texas, she saw “stark disparities” between her school and a more affluent, mainly white, school only 15 minutes down the road.

“With [the latter’s] resources, access and reputation, it was like easy street, whereas our kids had to negotiate some incredibly rough terrain,” she said.

From the story:

McCall said after realizing that in school and in society, nothing much had changed since she was in school as a child in Mobile, Alabama, she decided she needed to pursue her doctoral degree in music education.

McCall was the only African American in her doctoral program and, to her knowledge, is still the only one to finish with a doctorate in music education at ASU. …

“I feel I can offer a different perspective, and an informed perspective, based on experience and expertise that will hopefully provide ASU students with the tools needed to provide K–12 students the most optimal learning experiences possible,” McCall said. “Our music teacher education programs must situate themselves to provide current and future teachers reliable tools beyond teaching the music that will assist them in being responsive to their students and anticipatory to the sort of shifts and challenges that sit on the horizon in our society and education. Historically, as a collective, we were never winning on that front. It is imperative that we change that outcome.”

McCall also served in the military, playing clarinet and saxophone in the United States Army Bands for 14 years.

Read the article.

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IMAGES: Colored Lights / Shutterstock.com; ASU News screencap

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