Danica Savonick F'17
Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships 2017
City University of New York, The Graduate Center
The Promise of Aesthetic Education: On Pedagogy, Praxis, and Social Justice
While many of the most important feminist and antiracist poets in the United States had life-changing careers as teachers, their engaged pedagogies have long been overlooked. This dissertation analyzes how aesthetics shaped classroom practices in the late twentieth century and, reciprocally, how educational opportunity programs helped produce some of the most powerful literature of the 1960s and 1970s. Through archival research on the syllabi, lesson plans, and assignments of Audre Lorde, Toni Cade Bambara, June Jordan, and Adrienne Rich, and analysis of their published work, this project argues that these teacher-poets developed pedagogies of collective dissent deeply influenced by their experiences teaching in the nation’s first state-mandated educational opportunity program at the City University of New York.