Annual Meeting Theme

AERA 2015 Annual Meeting Theme 
"Toward Justice: Culture, Language, and Heritage in Education Research and Praxis"
Chicago, Illinois
Thursday, April 16 - Monday, April 20

There is a pressing need to consider how education praxis, research, theory, and policy can change the world—toward more justice. The challenge is especially urgent at this time when the democratizing possibilities of education remain forestalled. That the “arc of the moral universe . . . bends toward justice” is an oft-heard affirmation. To what extent does this conviction apply to persistent inequities in education if justice is our objective—given the meanings, unrealized potential, and continuing conundrum of culture, language, and heritage in education and related research, theorizing, and policy-making? 
The 2015 AERA Annual Meeting theme is a call to examine the meaning of culture, language, and heritage in education research and praxis with the aim of advancing justice. We have the opportunity and the moral obligation to apply principles and evidence from social science research and theorizing to the problems of injustice. How do various communities conceptualize justice, including the many scholarly communities within our association? 
One of the questions considered in the amicus brief that AERA submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court in the Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin case is whether diversity is, in fact, a compelling interest in education. The 2015 Annual Meeting theme suggests the relevance of a related empirical and values-based question: “Is justice a compelling interest in education research, theorizing, and policy-making?” What research evidence and ways of knowing across the AERA divisions and SIGs are relevant to an ethically informed stance regarding empirical inquiry and theorizing in the human sciences and education praxis? 
The 2015 Annual Meeting theme is intended to focus our attention on justice—locally as well as globally—in a spirit of mutually respectful collaborative engagement with our disciplines and modes of inquiry in the context of the world around us. The aim is to make room for democratized knowledge and knowledge production in which the experiences of all people are shaped by principles and practices of justice. When we do so, our scholarly interests can align more closely with the interests of justice for those who have been and 
are educationally marginalized, dispossessed, and excluded. 

Joyce E. King, AERA President
Beverly M. Gordon, Annual Meeting Program Chair

Selected References 

Baez, M., & Boyles, D. (2009). The politics of inquiry: Education research and the 
“culture of science.” Albany: SUNY Press. 
Berliner, D. (2006). Our impoverished view of educational research. Teachers College 
Record, 108, 949–995. 
Dudley-Marling, C., & Lucas, K. (2009). Pathologizing the language and culture of poor 
children. Language Arts, 86(5), 362–370. 
Dumas, M. J., & Anderson, G. (2013, February). Research as policy knowledge: Framing 
policy knowledge and transforming education from the ground up. Education 
Policy Analysis Archives, 22(11), 1–24. 
Erickson, F., & Gutiérrez, K. (2002). Culture, rigor, and science in educational research. 
Educational Researcher, 31(8), 21–24. 
Frank, J. (2013). Mitigating against epistemic injustice in educational research. 
Educational Researcher, 42(7), 363–370. 
Gordon, B. (1990). The necessity of African-American epistemology for educational 
theory and practice. Journal of Education, 172(3), 88–106. 
Hollins, E. (2012). Kindness is society: The plight and promise of social justice in public 
education. In L. G. Denti & P. A. Whang (Eds.), Rattling chains: Exploring social 
justice in education (pp. 95–98). Boston: Sense Publishers. 
King, J. E. (2006). “If justice is our objective”: Diaspora literacy, heritage knowledge and 
the praxis of critical studyin’ for human freedom. In A. Ball (Ed.), With more 
deliberate speed: Achieving equity and excellence in education—Realizing the full 
potential of Brown v. Board of Education (National Society for the Study of 
Education 105th Yearbook, Pt. 2, pp. 337–360). New York: Ballenger. 
Lather, P. (2004). This IS your father’s paradigm: Government intrusion and the case of 
qualitative research in education. Qualitative Inquiry, 10(1), 15–34. 
Tillman, L. C. (2006). Researching and writing from an African-American perspective: 
Reflective notes on three research studies. International Journal of Qualitative 
Studies in Education, 19(3), 265–287. 
Wynter, S. (2005). On how we mistook the map for the territory, and re-imprisoned 
ourselves in our unbearable wrongness of being, of désêtre: Black studies toward 
the human project. In L. R. Gordon & J. A. Gordon (Eds.), Not only the master’s 
tools: African-American studies in theory and practice (pp. 107–224). Boulder: 
Paradigm Publishers. 
Zahler, J. R. (1999). Lesson in humanity: Diversity as a compelling state interest in public 
education. Boston College Law Review, 40(4), 995-1040. 

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