Cultivating Citizenship as Feeling: A Conversation with Three Digital Alchemists Jillian Ford, in Conversation with L’Erin Alta-Devki, Moya Bailey, and Alexis Pauline Gumbs


  • Jillian Ford Kennesaw State University


Citizenship education as exists in contemporary U.S. social studies curriculum is irrelevant and exclusionary for many youth.  A conceptual model for categorizing the ways in which issues of citizenship are taught and learned distinguishes between citizenship as status, citizenship as practice, and citizenship as feeling.  Most official social studies curriculum is heavily comprised of static facts about concepts and processes related to citizenship as status.  To the lesser extent that citizenship as practice appears in the curriculum, it is the dimension that is most inequitable in terms of students’ exposure to ideas, experiences, and opportunities to develop agency.  The variation in quality depends largely on students’ race and class.  Citizenship as feeling emerges in the official and unofficial curriculum, but it is most often regarded solely as patriotism for the United States of America.  The absence of intention to help students think about citizenship as feeling in complex ways is a barrier that impedes holistic civic development.  This paper is an attempt to highlight out-of-school initiatives that help people fill in the gaps from – or, in many cases, unlearn – what they learned in their k-12 schooling experience about civic identity.  These are excerpts from a series of conversations with three Black queer feminist digital alchemists, each of who engage in cultivating citizenship as feeling in out-of-school contexts.

Author Biography

Jillian Ford, Kennesaw State University

Jillian Ford is an Assistant Professor of Social Studies Education at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Georgia.  Her research passions include social justice education, citizenship education, and Black feminist studies, particularly related to Black and/or queer communities.  Her teaching passions include social studies methods, critical multicultural analysis, and qualitative research methods.  Her out-of-work passions include reading, laughing, and warm-weather outdoor activities.