Dr. Ben Justice Wins Critics Choice Book Award from the American Educational Studies Association

Dr. Benjamin Justice, Associate Professor in the Graduate School of Education’s Department of Educational Theory, Policy and Administration, has won the 2014 Critics Choice Book Award of the American Educational Studies Association (AESA) for his book, The Founding Fathers, Education and the "Great Contest": The American Philosophical Society Prize of 1797. The award recognizes books that “make an outstanding contribution to scholarship in the Social Foundations of Education.” The book uses an essay contest from 1795 to design the best system of public education to explore a range of ideas in the early republic about race, gender, social class, higher education, and school reform. Dr. Justice will receive the award at the AESA annual meeting in Toronto, Canada later this month. 

“I’m honored and deeply pleased that the book has been recognized,” says Dr. Justice. “So much educational research focuses on important technical questions of how to teach and learn. Social foundations research, on the other hand, asks important questions about why we teach and learn. This book shows us that the people who created our country were asking the same kinds of foundational questions we do today.”

Dr. Justice’s research focuses on the history of education in the United States, examining the ways in which the state interacts with citizens through institutions such schools, prisons, faith-based organizations, policing and the military. He also writes on social education through popular film. He is currently completing a book with Colin MacLeod (University of Victoria, Canada) entitled, Have a Little Faith: Religion, Democracy, and Public Education in the United States. His most recent article, “Maleficent Reborn: Disney’s Fairytale View of Gender Reaches Puberty,” examines the introduction of feminism in the live-action update of the classic fairytale and original Disney animated film Sleeping Beauty.  Another article written with Tracey Meares, the Walton Hale Hamilton Professor of Law at Yale Law School, entitled “How the Criminal Justice System Educates Citizens,” appeared in the Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences earlier this year.

Dr. Justice is currently teaching “History of American Education” (15:310:502) and “Introduction to Social Studies Education.” (15:257:560) Next semester he will lead “History of African American Education” (15:310:561) and “Analysis of Social Studies Curriculum” (15:257:562). Dr. Justice also works closely with doctoral candidates in areas related to historical research and social education.

Third-year Ph.D. student Deirdre Dougherty is conducting research that draws on both her interest in Latin America and on the experiences she had as a classroom teacher in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.   This past summer, she presented her paper, “Converging Interests: Racial Desegregation in Prince George’s County, Maryland 1954-1961,” written as part of an independent study project with help from Dr. Justice, Dr. Catherine Lugg, and Dr. Thea Abu El-Haj, at the International Standing Conference for Historians of Education in London.

Atiya Strothers is also third-year year Ph.D. student in the Theory, Organization, & Policy program. She is interested in the social, political, and institutional influences on educational equity and the experiences of marginalized students and faculty in higher education. Her dissertation will explore several themes related to leadership, mentoring, equity, and access through the lens of Dr. Samuel DeWitt Proctor.

To learn more about Dr. Justice’s research initiatives please visit his faculty profile.  If you are interested in learning more about the social studies program at the GSE please click here.