Integrating Critical, Engaged, and Abolitionist Pedagogies to Advance Antiracist Social Work Education


  • Jelena Todić UTSA, College for Health, Community and Policy, Department of Social Work
  • M. Candace Christensen



Critical social work, social work education, critical pedagogy, abolition, antiracism, prison industrial complex


The intersecting coronavirus, racism, and economic pandemics electrified U.S. social work organizations into creating long overdue antiracism initiatives. This necessary shift includes the Council on Social Work Education specifying that curriculums must consist of frameworks and practices that eliminate racism. Social work educators will need to incorporate antiracism into their teaching. We argue that critical, engaged, and abolitionist pedagogies contain frameworks and practices that align with antiracism. One of our fundamental assumptions is that liberation, which is a collective state of freedom from racism and other intersecting structures of domination, is the end goal of antiracism. We integrate concepts developed by critical pedagogy scholars, Black feminists, and abolitionist activists with our experiences to share ten lessons we learned through decades of collective praxis as social justice educators committed to liberation.


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