Open Admissions

Now available for pre-order

Duke UP, August 2024

Use code E24SVNCK for a 30% discount

In Open Admissions Danica Savonick traces the largely untold story of the teaching experience of Toni Cade Bambara, June Jordan, Audre Lorde, and Adrienne Rich at the City University of New York (CUNY) in the late 1960s and early 1970s. This period, during which CUNY guaranteed tuition-free admission to every city high school graduate, was one of the most controversial moments in US educational history. Analyzing their archival teaching materials—syllabi, lesson plans, and assignments—alongside their published work, Savonick reveals how these renowned writers were also transformative teachers who developed creative methods of teaching their students both to navigate and change the world. In fact, many of their methods, such as student-led courses, collaborative public projects, and the publication of student writing, anticipated the kinds of student-centered and antiracist pedagogies that have become popular in recent years. In addition to recovering the pedagogical legacy of these writers, Savonick shows how teaching in CUNY’s free and open classrooms fundamentally altered their writing and, with it, the course of American literature and feminist criticism.

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