Publication Date: May 6, 2022
Series: Multicultural Education Series
This timely book examines how fascist ideology has taken hold among certain segments of American society and how this can be addressed in curriculum and instruction. Vavrus presents middle, secondary, and college educators and their students with a conceptual framework for enacting a critical multicultural pedagogy by analyzing discriminatory discourse and recommending civic anti-fascist steps people can take right now. For teacher education programs and policymakers, anti-fascist civic assessment rubrics are provided. To help clarify contemporary debates over what can be taught in public schools, an advance organizer highlights contested and misunderstood terminology.
Featuring historical and contemporary patterns of fascist politics, this accessible text is organized in four parts: (1) “Good Trouble,” (2) Unpacking Ideological Orientations, (3) Indicators of Colonial Proto-Fascism and U.S. Fascist Politics, and (4) An Anti-Fascist “Reading the World.” Readers will come away with a deeper knowledge base that marshalls a century of anti-fascist actions in response to contemporary acts of racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, gender and sexuality discrimination, bias against Latinx and migrant populations, and other actions that undermine our democracy and harm marginalized students and their families and communities.
Michael Vavrus is professor emeritus at The Evergreen State College, Olympia, Washington. His books include Diversity and Education: A Critical Multicultural Approach and Transforming the Multicultural Education of Teachers: Theory, Research, and Practice.
“In Teaching Anti-Fascism, Michael Vavrus has written the book that everyone must read to be informed on the current political climate. Through exceptional research and analysis, Vavrus lays bare the history of fascism, white supremacy, and genocide, and connects them to the ongoing challenges educators face when struggling through the mire of politics to create critical thinkers and classrooms of truth.”
—Eddie Moore, Jr., founder, The White Privilege Conference
“Teaching Anti-Fascism brilliantly excavates the historical and contemporary sources of fascism in colonialism, anti-Blackness, and monopoly capitalism, and demonstrates that authoritarianism is embedded both in far-right movements and in the institutions of liberal democracy. Crucially challenging the hesitancy in education to confront fascist politics, Vavrus shows that multicultural teaching must take on an anti-fascist commitment in order to be true to its own values and vocation. For all who refuse the illusory consolation of ‘it can’t happen here,’ this book outlines a comprehensive program of critical and engaged civic education that we simply cannot do without.”
—Noah De Lissovoy, professor, The University of Texas at Austin
“Vavrus offers both a rigorous analytical explanation of fascism and—most critically—a path to meaningfully confront it through education. Teaching Anti-Fascism reminds readers that schools—and the multicultural civic education they can offer—have the potential to be powerful sites of transformation and key strategies to counter racism and the global nationalist resurgence we face today.”
—Cynthia Miller-Idriss, professor and director, Polarization and Extremism Research and Innovation Lab (PERIL), American University
“Teaching Anti-Fascism will play a key role in pushing back against the recent efforts of right-wing politicians and school boards to ban the histories of racism and white supremacy in our schools. Concise and accessible, yet packed with thoroughly researched scholarship, Michael Vavrus's volume will inspire a new generation of activists and scholars to struggle for a world without fascism.”
—Mark Bray, historian and author of Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook