Dr. Bettina Love, Associate Professor of Educational Theory & Practice, University of Georgia, Athens, GA
Dr. Bettina L. Love is an award-winning author and Associate Professor of Educational Theory & Practice at the University of Georgia. She is the author of the book We Want To Do More Than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom (Beacon Press). She passionately, and with resolute and bold inquiry, argues that the U.S. educational system is maintained by and profits from the suffering of children of color. Instead of trying to repair a flawed system, educational reformers offer survival tactics in the forms of test-taking skills, acronyms, grit labs, and character education, which Love calls the educational survival complex.
Dr. Love is one of the field’s most esteemed educational researchers in the area of Hip Hop education. Her research focuses on the ways in which urban youth negotiate Hip Hop music and culture to form social, cultural, and political identities to create new and sustaining ways of thinking about urban education and intersectional social justice. Her work is also concerned with how teachers and schools working with parents and communities can build communal, civically engaged schools rooted in intersectional social justice for the goal of equitable classrooms.
For her work in the field, in 2016, Dr. Love was named the Nasir Jones Hiphop Fellow at the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University. She is also the creator of the Hip Hop civics curriculum GET FREE. In April of 2017, Dr. Love participated in a one-on-one public lecture with bell hooks focused on the liberatory education practices of Black and Brown children. In 2018, Georgia’s House of Representatives presented Dr. Love with a resolution for her impact on the field of education.
Dr. Love is a sought-after public speaker on a range of topics, including antiblackness in schools, Hip Hop education, Black girlhood, queer youth, Hip Hop feminism, art-based education to foster youth civic engagement, and issues of diversity and inclusion. In 2014, she was invited to the White House Research Conference on Girls to discuss her work focused on the lives of Black girls. In addition, she is the inaugural recipient of the Michael F. Adams award (2014) from the University of Georgia. She has also provided commentary for various news outlets including NPR, The Guardian, and the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
She is the author of the book Hip Hop’s Li’l Sistas Speak: Negotiating Hip Hop Identities and Politics in the New South. Her work has appeared in numerous books and journals, including the English Journal, Urban Education, The Urban Review, and Journal of LGBT Youth. In 2017, Dr. Love edited a special issue of the Journal of Lesbian Studies focused on the identities, gender performances, and pedagogical practices of Black and Brown lesbian educators.
Dr. Bettina Love will be facilitating a Master Class, Social Justice Perspectives, on Thursday, April 30, 10:00AM-12:00PM. You can pre-register for her Master Class in your online account.
Through interactive activities, this Master Class will help attendees examine their own perspectives of their social justice work and ideas about diversity, privilege, and intersectionality. Attendees will gain a better understanding of how institutional power that reproduces injustice, social exclusion, and oppression, despite our best efforts, is embedded in our social justice work.
Attendees will also learn about GET FREE, a multimedia Hip Hop civics curriculum for youth and young adults with the goal to introduce students to a national network of young community leaders, artists, and activists who advocate for social change and democratic inclusion driven by grassroots organizing. GET FREE is inspired by the exuberance, ingenuity, political energy, resistance, love, and DIY model of underground Hip Hop. Its aim is to push and extend ideas of democracy, citizenship, freedom, community, civic engagement, and intersectional justice.
Dr. Love will also be participating in our Meet the Authors event on Thursday, April 30th from 12:00PM-1:00PM in the Exhibit Hall. You can pre-purchase her book in your online account.
Drawing on her life’s work of teaching and researching in urban schools, Bettina Love persuasively argues that educators must teach students about racial violence, oppression, and how to make sustainable change in their communities through radical civic initiatives and movements. She argues that the US educational system is maintained by and profits from the suffering of children of color. Instead of trying to repair a flawed system, educational reformers offer survival tactics in the forms of test-taking skills, acronyms, grit labs, and character education, which Love calls the educational survival complex.
To dismantle the educational survival complex and to achieve educational freedom—not merely reform—teachers, parents, and community leaders must approach education with the imagination, determination, boldness, and urgency of an abolitionist. Following in the tradition of activists like Ella Baker, Bayard Rustin, and Fannie Lou Hamer, We Want to Do More Than Survive introduces an alternative to traditional modes of educational reform and expands our ideas of civic engagement and intersectional justice.