I’m Challenging Students to See:
A Conversation with Dr. Rebecca Brückmann
Pedagogy is the method or practice of teaching that helps us make sense of the historical narratives in which we are situated. There are ties that bind our histories together. And when we render visible the threads that have been frayed across time and space, nearly severed by systems of oppression, we are able to build Black transnational community and resistance. Finding and following those through lines allows us to not only better understand how oppression is perpetuated but also to access our own ancestral knowledges. Here, we ask how has pedagogy been used as a vehicle of racism and white supremacy and how can we create spaces of learning in which whiteness is not centered? Through the process of asking that and other questions, we discuss our teaching styles and our experiences as students to create a convergence class for our students from Berlin and the U.S.
I try to get them to see racism is not just an individual character flaw; it’s a system. The outrage about racism is an open door through which they can see how they benefit from the very institutions and systems they are outraged by. In doing so, I’m challenging students to see how racism isn’t born solely out of the acts of extremely right-wing people, but is perpetuated through more normalized forms of racism, as well.
—Dr. Rebecca Brückmann
Dr. Rebecca Brückmann is an Associate Professor of History at Carleton College. She completed her Ph.D. in modern history at the Graduate School of North American Studies at Free University Berlin in 2014 and has taught at the Universities of Cologne and Kassel. Her research focuses on North American sociocultural history, Black history and the history of the Black Freedom Struggle, Southern history, the history of white supremacy, and gender history in their entanglements. Her recent work includes articles on the Black Freedom Struggle in the United States and white supremacist grassroots resistance, published in the South Carolina Historical Magazine and the European Journal of American Studies, and the monograph “Massive Resistance and Southern Womanhood: White Women, Class, and Segregation” (University of Georgia Press, 2021).
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