Jarvis R. Givens, the Suzanne Young Murray Assistant Professor at Radcliffe and an assistant professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, studies the relationship among race, power, and schooling in the United States. His first book, Fugitive Pedagogy: Carter G. Woodson and the Art of Black Teaching (Harvard University Press, forthcoming), traces the subversive and often covert educational practices black people employed to challenge racial domination during slavery through Jim Crow.
As a Radcliffe fellow, Givens is writing “The American School in Red, White, and Black,” which revises the story of education in the United States during the 19th century. By analyzing literature on Native, white, and Black education, he reveals how experiences unique to Native communities, such as missionary and residential boarding schools, and experiences of Black people, such as the criminalization of literacy and then systematic underdevelopment of black segregated schools, were not anomalies but, in fact, structural features of a broader schooling apparatus of the state. Givens pulls together these three bodies of literature—previously treated separately—with primary historical sources and theoretical insights from Native American studies and Black studies to render a new origin story of education in the United States.
Givens earned his PhD in African American studies from the University of California, Berkeley, and is a two-time Ford Foundation fellow. He recently received a $610,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to codevelop The Black Teacher Archives, a digital repository to preserve the more than 100-year history of Colored Teacher Associations.