ERIC Number: EJ1195135
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2018
Interdisciplinarity as a Social Justice Portal: Where History and Writing Can Offer Sanctuary
Van Tassel, Kristin; Jorsch, Thomas F.
Liberal Education, v104 n3 Sum 2018
Faculty at Bethany College, Kansas found that when engaging with controversial topics like social justice, students needed lower-stakes spaces to think--and history and writing, together, provided these needed spaces. When taught in combination, these two subject areas prompted engagement and self-reflection, and the interdisciplinary synergy provided a personal sanctuary for students. The formal writing assignment that emerged from students' historical reading assignments forced them to identify with someone whose circumstances they could not have experienced themselves. The history-focused essay gave students experience in writing about race, gender, or class and allowed them to practice negotiating a controversial topic without worrying about offending their classmates. The writing assignment offered an important space for students to piece together and make sense of the readings, the discussions, their peers' experiences, and their own reactions. By the end of the semester, students seemed to see that social justice has implications--that a socially just system both includes them and requires something of them.
Descriptors: Social Justice, Interdisciplinary Approach, Writing Assignments, College Faculty, Controversial Issues (Course Content), History Instruction, Teaching Methods, Reading Assignments, Essays, Gender Differences, Social Class, Racial Differences, College Students, Student Attitudes, Peer Relationship
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Kansas