Rahsaan Mahadeo

Assistant Professor, Sociology and Black Studies

Ph.D., University of Minnesota

What are your thoughts on teaching?
I do not privilege the university as a gatekeeper of knowledge or the primary site of knowledge production. There are countless sites of knowledge production outside the university and there are plenty of intellectuals without extra initials behind their names capable of teaching those within the university more than they can ever be given credit for. Hence, my scholarship and pedagogy acknowledge the bidirectional teaching-learning relationship between university and community. Rather than privileging a fixed endpoint of knowledge attainment, I treat learning as an ongoing process. As I push students to engage earnestly with course content, I emphasize how critical thinking is both a learning outcome and part of a larger pedagogical process.

The broader goal is for students to analyze and synthesize course material in order to augment existing conceptions of their social worlds, while developing new tools for sharpening critical perspectives. I have learned that valuing wonderment and inquiry is sometimes more generative than valuing answers. Students learn that knowledge production first requires knowledge disruption. What motivates me as a teaching scholar is the opportunity to create critical learning environments filled with invitations and provocations. I invite students to embrace the intimate connection between biography and scholarship. I also invite students to question the question, especially when such questions the parameters for discourse and the terms and conditions for agreement. To that end, my courses provoke students to distinguish between “schooling” and “education.” I am not interested in helping students improve their memorization skills to regurgitate textbooks. Instead, I acknowledge students’ capacity to analyze, synthesize, evaluate and apply what they learn inside and outside the classroom.

Tell us about your field of expertise
Critical race and ethnic studies; Black studies; time; abolition; radical social and political thought; youth; the life course perspective; urban sociology

What hobbies/interests do you enjoy outside of academia?
Spending time with family; organizing and activism; being outdoors; playing capoeira