Jarvis R. Givens is a Suzanne Young Murray Assistant Professor at the Radcliffe Institute and an assistant professor of education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
His research and teaching fall at the nexus of the history of education, 19th- and 20th-century African American history, and black critical theory. Givens’s broader research interests lie in interrogating schools as a technology of power and analyzing how marginalized communities have appropriated this technology to transcend abjection. His current book project, Schooling in Forbidden Fields: Carter G. Woodson and the Demands of Black Education (Harvard University Press, forthcoming), explores how ordinary teachers and black community members put Woodson’s critiques of the American school and his alternative curricula (i.e., textbooks, Negro History Week, and more) into practice during the period of Jim Crow. Givens argues that their furtive efforts and Woodson’s educational ideas embodied the inherent dissident demands of black schooling, a political project that developed in the context of slavery and that persisted as a site where blacks worked to negotiate the terms of their relation to the broader society and the world. His work has been supported by the Ford Foundation’s predoctoral and dissertation fellowships and by funding from the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program and has been published in such journals as Anthropology & Education Quarterly, the Harvard Educational Review, Race Ethnicity and Education, and Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Culture, Politics, and Society.
Givens earned his PhD in African diaspora studies from the University of California, Berkeley, and completed a dean’s postdoctoral fellowship at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.