Vigilance as a Response to White Complicity

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34 Scopus citations


Calls for vigilance have been a recurrent theme in social justice education. Scholars making this call note that vigilance involves a continuous attentiveness, that it presumes some type of criticality, and that it is transformative. In this essay Barbara Applebaum expands upon some of these attributes and calls attention to three particular features of vigilance that, while they may be alluded to in the aforementioned discussions, are rarely made explicit. These three features are critique, staying in the anxiety of critique, and vulnerability. Using the lens of Judith Butler's recent work and the discussions that her work has provoked, Applebaum examines these three features of vigilance and demonstrates how they are crucial for white people interrogating their complicity in systemic racism. Finally, she discusses how the expanded three features of vigilance can offer guidance to one of the enormously thorny questions that arises in the social justice classroom.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17-34
Number of pages18
JournalEducational Theory
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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