Beyond the Gates: Teaching Race and Politics in Brazil in a Prison Education Program


Prison Education

How to Cite

Harrington, J. (2021). Beyond the Gates: Teaching Race and Politics in Brazil in a Prison Education Program . Radical Teacher, 121, 24–30.


The project of liberatory education is fraught with complications in a Small Liberal Arts College or SLAC environment. Authors bell hooks and Paulo Freire look to an ethics of care, love, and mutual restoration of humanity through teaching openly and freely. My initial teaching experiences as an assistant professor revealed that this liberatory aim could not be fulfilled at the college campus, so I taught in a prison college education program. The goals of this article are: 1) to elucidate the complicated relationship that a woman faculty of color at the intersections of multiple identities has in adjusting to the SLAC environment; 2) to expound upon my weekly exit from campus and entry into prison education as a vehicle to advance institutional goals for outreach and social justice; 3) to interrogate prison education epistemologies and describe the counternarratives and practical strategies developed in a course on Race and Politics in Brazil to decolonize the curriculum; and 4) to express the realities of teaching a Black-centered, intersectional course in an all-male maximum security prison setting. It was through this practical prison teaching experience that I stretched the limits of my practice of education and found a temporary home in which to do so.
Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Copyright (c) 2021 Jaira J. Harrington