More than Precious Knowledge: A Critical Review of Precious Knowledge


  • Connie Wun University of California, Berkeley


Precious Knowledge (2011; dir. Ari Palos) is an award winning documentary that follows the debate over the ethnic studies curriculum (ETHS) in the Tucson Unified School District (TUSD), including the political climate that surrounded the passage of House Bill 2281--the bill that dismantled the program. The film connects the struggle over ETHS with a history of racism and xenophobia in the state of Arizona. It highlights the capacities of ETHS/MAS teachers and curricula to transform the academic and personal lives of traditionally marginalized students. Despite its emotional intentions and rhetorical strategies, the film leaves itself open to questions regarding how ETHS/MAS and its supporters can analyze racism, anti-immigrant policies and practices from a critical race and feminist framework, a framework that explores the relationship among the state, race and gender. It also leaves unanswered, questions regarding how to support ETHS programs while encouraging an abolitionist critique of the state and its institutions.

Author Biography

Connie Wun, University of California, Berkeley

Connie Wun is a PhD candidate in the Graduate School of Education at the University of California, Berkeley. A National Science Foundation Research Fellow and Chancellor’s Fellow at UC Berkeley, she examines school discipline, punishment, race and gender. She has published in Educational Philosophy and Theory and The Feminist Wire.