DeMarcus Jenkins gives the next “Policy Goes to School” lecture series talk—“(Re)Centering the Race-Space Nexus in Education Policy Research”—on January 28

Monday, January 13, 2020
DeMarcus Jenkins

UC Santa Barbara’s Gevirtz Graduate School of Education continues this year’s “Policy Goes to School” lecture series on Tuesday, January 28 from 12 pm - 1 pm in room 4108 Education Building. DeMarcus Jenkins, Assistant Professor of Educational Policy Studies & Practice, College of Education, University of Arizona, will give the lecture “(Re)Centering the Race-Space Nexus in Education Policy Research” The talk is free and open to the public. The lecture series is hosted by Michael Gottfried, Carolyn Sattin-Bajaj, and the Department of Education.

Education is inherently a spatial enterprise. While geography has a long history of using space to analyze public policy, until recently, there has been limited focus in education policy research analyzing the geographies of education. In this talk, Dr. Jenkins offers an overview of his research agenda that investigates the space that race makes in and around school settings. To do this, Dr. Jenkins will first discuss how race and space are inextricably linked and the broader spatial, social, and political contexts shaping contemporary education policy. Examining the intersection of racialized spaces and education policy across multiple geographic scales (e.g. macro, meso, and micro), he describes how an explicit focus on space might advance more equitable and socially just outcomes for historically marginalized students. Implications of his research for a broad range of educational stakeholders (e.g. teachers, school leaders, policy actors, etc.), and the imperative to re/center the geographies of education are discussed.

Dr. DeMarcus Jenkins is an Assistant Professor of Educational Policy Studies and Practice. His scholarly research interests draw from his previous experiences as an urban school educator and state-level policy analyst. Dr. Jenkins’ research is focused on the relationship between urban spatial transformation, particularly of neighborhoods and cities, and school reform. Broadly conceived, his research interrogates the dynamic power structures that organize contemporary geographies of education and educational arrangements, including racism, sexism, and racialized capitalism.

More specifically, his scholarly work is comprised of two major strands of research. In the first strand, he explores how demographic, social, cultural, and material changes in cities and neighborhoods (re)shape the character of schools and (re)produce new forms of inequality. This area of research focuses on dynamics external to schools that impact the purpose and nature of schools such as curriculum and pedagogy, school climate and discipline. The second strand of his research concerns a corollary question: how do communities and urban school stakeholders – teachers, administrators, students and parents – respond to and contend with the larger complex forces implicating public schools to make them more equitable and socially just. This line of research explores the interplay of power, resistance, and political possibility to understand how grassroots stakeholders might engage in contesting unjust geographies of education and urban school restructuring.

Working at the intersections of race, place, and policy, Dr. Jenkins leverages empirical and analytical techniques from scholarly traditions in sociology, critical geography, critical policy sociology, urban theory, and critical race theory to investigate questions of school reform and improvement. In doing so, he highlights the implications for historically vulnerable communities along race and class lines. Consistent throughout his research are practical solutions for school leaders and policymakers.

He holds a B.A. in English and African American History from the University of Michigan; a M.A.T. in Secondary English from American University; Ed.M. from Georgia State University in English Education. In addition, he received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles in Urban Schooling with an emphasis in Education Policy and Leadership.