My approach to teaching race, space, and urban development is one rooted in critical theories and both historical and contemporary examples. As a Black woman in the academy, I am quite familiar with the impact of normative pedagogical approaches that either exclude or marginalize non-white, non-male perspectives and scholarship. As such, I use a diverse set of resources, tools, and assignments to create an inclusive classroom that looks to decolonize the academy from within. I prefer to ask really big questions at the beginning of the course, and each week provide different tools (theories, practices, historical and contemporary examples) that allow students to “answer” these big questions. For my urban research methods course, as an example, I ask how the practices and methods of urban scholarship reinforce power disparities and dynamics between universities and the urban communities that house them. Each week, we understand a method through a colonizing and decolonizing lens, grappling with the power and positionality of the researcher, and using that to ask more respectful and critical questions. Students are tasked with including positionality statements in each assignment, as well as interrogate the harms and benefits produced from their research questions
To further my philosophy of decolonizing educational systems, I like to teach with a variety of pedagogical tools and formats. Guest speakers from outside of the academy are a great way to both provide students with practical information as well as opportunities for postgraduate networking. Bridging the practical with the theoretical is part of my research and teaching philosophies, and a forthcoming podcast “Antipod: A Radical Geography Podcast” aims to do just that. The podcast, funded by the Antipode Foundation, uses recordings from academic conferences, interviews with junior scholars within and outside the academy, and recordings “from the field” to assemble a teaching and research tool that disseminates critical geography scholarship to a broader population beyond the paywall of academic journals.