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This image shows a photo of Janine de Novias and a word bubble with classroom vocabulary, language from her research, and the names of black writers.

In today’s political climate, marked by the Black Lives movement and other protests, conversations about race are difficult to have, especially as social media often fuels racial tensions rather than fostering productive dialogue.

“In lives dominated by the isolation and polarization of social media, college classrooms are fast becoming rare spaces where people can still engage with the complexities of a multicultural, unequal democracy face-to-face,” said Janine de Novais, assistant professor in the School of Education at the University of Delaware. “On the one hand, research has shown that college is indeed an optimal time to direct American undergraduates to confront the challenges, as well as the possibilities, of the country’s racial diversity. On the other hand, research evidences that learning about race in college, both in and outside of classrooms, can be fraught.”

Through her research, de Novais has developed a new theory of “brave community,” which describes the emergence of a classroom community that allows students to interact productively with one another as they engage with difficult content.

Read more on the School of Education website