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Burgeoning New Media Requires "Another Kind of Public Education"

Challenge Issued at National Forum on Race, Education, & Democracy April 16-17 at Simmons College

BOSTON (April 10, 2008) — Asserting that various kinds of burgeoning "new media" — social networking sites, YouTube, personal blogs, pop music and television  — have become key avenues of education for young people, one of the nation's top sociologists will challenge educators and community activists April 16 in Boston, to design "another kind of public education" that better prepares students for democratic citizenship in a diverse society.

Patricia Hill Collins, Ph.D., the 100th president of the American Sociological Association and the Distinguished University Professor of Sociology at the University of Maryland/College Park, will issue the challenge during the first of four free public lectures at the national "Race, Education and Democracy" forum April 16 & 17 and May 28 & 29 at Simmons College in Boston.  Collins's lectures, sponsored by Simmons College and Beacon Press, will be from 4-6p.m. in the Linda K. Paresky Conference Center, third floor of the Main College Building at Simmons College, 300 The Fenway in Boston.

Collins, nationally recognized for her groundbreaking work on race, gender, education and class, is the award-winning author of "Black Sexual Politics: African Americans, Gender, and the New Racism," "From Black Power to Hip Hop: Racism, Nationalism, and Feminism" and "Race, Class and Gender: An Anthology," which is widely used at more than 200 colleges and universities.  She began her professional career teaching 7th- and 8th- grade social studies at St. Joseph's Community School in Roxbury.

In her lectures, Collins will explore a new of kind educational experience she says is crucial for educators to offer young people if they are to become excited and engaged in the democratic process, as public schools compete for their attention, often unsuccessfully, with the myriad forms of new media.

Each year the Simmons College/Beacon Press lecture and book series brings a nationally recognized scholar to Simmons to deliver several lectures, to address contemporary understandings and practices in education which either undermine or affirm the link between public education and participatory democracy. The talks are followed by discussions among education and civic leaders on topics as varied as establishing friendships across the racial divide and exploring history and research that contradict common misconceptions that African Americans do not value education. All lectures will eventually be adapted into a book published by Beacon Press.

Collins's first lecture, April 16, is "Another Kind of Public Education." Her second lecture, April 17, is "New Racial Realities: Honorary Whiteness, Social Blackness, and All Points in Between."

Her other 2008 lectures are "Somebody's Watching You: Black Youth and Popular Culture," May 28, and "Critical Education and Democratic Possibilities," May 29.

Beacon Press, a historical, highly respected independent publisher based in Boston, will publish the lectures as a book. Beacon Press has published numerous groundbreaking books on a wide range of societal issues, notably Cornel West's "Race Matters," as well as dozens of highly acclaimed works in the field of education.

Theresa Perry, Ed.D., series director and Simmons College professor of Africana studies and education, said the series was conceived "to reestablish for the public the historic connection between public education and the possibility of a robust democracy, against the backdrop of the issue of race in America." The series is funded in part by the Lowell Institute.

To register, visit or call 617-521-2257. Due to construction, parking on the Simmons campus is severely limited.  Please visit parking website for parking alternatives.