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Syracuse Symposium to Present Lecture on Inclusive Urban Education

Rochester Professor Edward Brockenbrough will examine pedagogies of sexual agency for black queer youth

Feb 6, 2017 — Article by: Rob Enslin

Ed Brockenbrough

Edward Brockenbrough

Syracuse Symposium continues its yearlong look at “Place” with a visit by an expert on inclusive urban education.

Edward Brockenbrough, associate professor of teaching and curriculum at the University of Rochester, will discuss “Queering Sexy B(l)ack: Queer Youth and Pedagogies of Sexual Agency” on Thursday, Feb. 9, from 5:30-7 p.m. in Maxwell Auditorium.

Free and open to the public, his presentation serves as the Harry S. and Elva K. Ganders Memorial Fund Lecture, which is part of the Douglas P. Biklen Landscape of Urban Education Lecture series in the School of Education (SOE).

Brockenbrough’s visit is co-sponsored by the Syracuse University Humanities Center in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Office of Multicultural Affairs in the University’s Division of Student Affairs. For more information, contact the Humanities Center at 315.443.7192.

Marcelle Haddix, Dean’s Associate Professor and chair of the Reading & Language Arts Department in the SOE, organizes the popular lecture series. “Professor Brockenbrough examines negotiations of identity, pedagogy and power through the twin lens of black masculinity studies and queer of color critique,” she says. “His work with queer black youth is not only an inspiration, but also a model for transforming teaching and learning spaces to center on the needs and interests of young people.”

Vivian May, director of the Humanities Center and professor of women’s & gender studies in A&S, agrees with Haddix, adding that Brockenbrough’s lecture will address how black queer youth engage in pedagogical acts that nurture their sexual agency.

“It will consider how they, and queerly identified youth, in general, can be supported by educators and select stakeholders in ways that are culturally responsive and socially just,” May says. 

Based in the Warner School of Education, Brockenbrough directs Rochester’s Urban Teaching and Leadership Program, which trains K-12 teachers in the theory, research and practice of inclusive urban education. Many of his courses deal with race, class, gender and disability, as well as topics of teaching and schooling.

He is particularly interested in the educational experiences and sexual health of LGBTQ youth of color, along with the identities and pedagogies of black male teachers.

“Despite growing concerns in recent years over the plight of queer students in American schools, efforts to make schools more responsive to the needs of queer youth continue to fall short of queer-inclusive sexual health education,” says Brockenbrough, who joined Rochester’s faculty in 2009 after serving as an admissions officer at Brown University. “For black queer youth, limited access to sex education in public schools persists, as the stakes surrounding their sexual health have intensified. We will look at how a body of critical scholarship [called queer of color critique] can serve as a heuristic for educational research on the agentive practices of queer students of color.”

Recently, Brockenbrough completed an ethnography of an HIV/AIDS prevention center that operated as an alternative, culturally responsive pedagogical space for LGBT youth of color. He also has launched a study, funded by Rochester’s Center for AIDS Research, on the sexual engagements of networked technologies by young black men who have sex with men.

His other research projects have involved an examination of the challenges and opportunities encountered by black male teachers in secondary, predominantly minority, urban schools, and a comparison of the role modeling experiences of black, Latino and white male teachers.

Since 2005, the Landscape of Urban Education Lecture Series has been dedicated to navigating the U.S. urban educational terrain. The series is made possible by a generous gift from Jeryl Mitchell '81, G'83, a member of the SOE’s Board of Visitors, who named it in honor of retiring dean, Douglas P. Biklen.

“This year, we’re focusing on speakers such as Professor Brockenbrough, who illuminate answers to pressing educational issues while highlighting promise and possibilities,” Haddix adds.

Brockenbrough is a former middle and high school history teacher, who earned a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania.

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Rob Enslin