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Teaching, Difference, and Power Graduate Student Learning Community

Graduate Students Engage: Teaching, Difference and Power Syllabus

Fall 2014 & Spring 2015

Mission and Goals

We seek to create a safe space for graduate students of Vanderbilt University to critically reflect and act on the realities of racialized difference and power in the classroom. Through a series of engaged conversations, we will connect with, educate, and empower graduate students to think together about the pervasive, yet elusive, nature of race at the individual, institutional, and global levels with particular emphasis on the manifestations of race in the classroom. By fostering this community of committed learners, our goals are:

  • Nurture a space for serious and compassionate conversations on race, difference and power
  • Foster an intellectual community that engages graduate students to integrate their research, teaching and personal experiences of race
  • Create an alliance of people with a sustained commitment to equity and multiculturalism at Vanderbilt University
  • Collect and analyze graduate student attitudes relating to the Vanderbilt campus climate
  • Expand the network of scholars devoted to incorporating the diversity of human experience as a resource for teaching and learning


Meetings will be held the first Monday of October, November, December, February, and March..  Meetings will take place in the Center for Teaching (1114 19th Avenue, adjacent to the University School of Nashville) at 7:15 pm. Readings will be made available through Vanderbilt Box (

Monday, October 6, 2014            Stereotype Threat 7:15pm


Aronson, Joshua. 2002. “Stereotype Threat: Contending and Coping with Unnerving Expectations.” (September 14, 2014).

Owens, Jayanti, and Douglas S. Massey. 2011. “Stereotype Threat and College Academic Performance: A Latent Variables Approach.” Social science research 40(1): 150–66.

Steele, Claude M. 2010. “Whistling Vivaldi: And Other Clues To How Stereotypes Affect Us (Issues Of Our Time) Author: Claude M. Steele, Publisher.” (Chapters 3 and 6)

Monday, November 3, 2014       Microaggressions 7:15pm


Sue, Derald Wing, et al. “Racial Microaggressions in Everyday Life: Implications for Clinical Practice.” American Psychologist 62.4 (May-June 2007): 271-286.

– – – . “Racial Microaggressions and Difficult Dialogues on Race in the Classroom.” Cultural Diversity Minority Psychology 15.2 (2009): 183-190.

University of Denver Center for Multicultural Excellence. “Singled Out: Student Stories of Diversity Challenges & Opportunities in the Classroom.” (September 23, 2014).

Vega, Tanzina. “Students See Many Slights as Racial ‘Microaggressions.’” New York Times. 22 March 2014. Section A1.

Monday, December 1 , 2014       Teaching Difference: Controversial Topics 7:15pm


Highberg, Nels. “Beware! This is a Man!” Feminist Teacher 20.2 (2010): 157-170.

hooks, bell. “Confronting Class in the Classroom.” Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom. New York: Routledge, 1994.

Tatum, Beverly Daniel. “Talking about Race, Learning about Racism: The Application of Racial Identity Development Theory in the Classroom.” Harvard Educational Review 62.1 (Feb. 1992): 1-24.

Tompkins, Jane. “Postcards from the Edge.” Reading, MA: Perseus Books, 1996. (Chapter 11).

Monday, February 2, 2015                           TBD

Monday, March 2, 2015                                TBD


April 2015    Center for Teaching “Teaching, Difference and Power” Symposium (in collaboration with the faculty learning community of the same theme).


Brielle Harbin
Department of Political Science
Graduate Teaching Fellow

Ben Galina
Department of Spanish & Portuguese
Graduate Teaching Fellow

Contact Brielle or Ben for more information, access to readings, or to join our email list.

Learning community members log in here