Tadashi Dozono

Converging Epistemologies: The Racialized and Gendered Knowledged Spaces of Test Preparation

In an atmosphere of continuous assault on public education, educators
struggle to find strategies that balance required state exams against
honoring their students’ backgrounds. One such strategy is the application
of hip-hop to teach content knowledge. What are the merits and drawbacks of
such an application? While educators debate these merits, how do students
experience this strategy? How do students view these spaces in education as
gendered or racial knowledge spaces?

My project aims to analyze these
converging epistemologies alongside my students, employing my students as
fellow researchers. I will simultaneously teach these students an
established hip-hop curriculum in order to help students pass the state
exam in global history and geography, and guide them through an analysis of
this intersection of hip hop and standardized knowledge. This will be done
in the context of a small urban Title 1 public school, with students, some
of whom I taught global studies as ninth graders. Through a series of
interviews and analytic activities, we will explore issues of whose
knowledge counts as legitimate, issues of access to knowledge and culture,
and the constructions of gender and race within these forms of knowledge.