Legal Education as Contemplative, Multicultural Inquiry

Posted on May 7, 2012

On Wednesday, May 16th, Rhonda Magee, Professor of Law at the University of San Francisco, presented “Legal Education as Contemplative, Multicultural Inquiry: Lessons from a (Lifelong) Course on Race, Law and Beloved Community.”

This webinar examined how we can better develop the cognitive, personal and interpersonal skills necessary to identify and effectively dismantle structures of privilege and subordination in our midst. How can we better learn, work and thrive together in diverse communities as we seek to create a more just world?

Over the past thirteen years, Rhonda V. Magee has developed a pedagogical method for the study of race and legal history in diverse groups that promotes “change for good.” It rests on three distinct methods of inquiry and examination:

  • Engaging in contemplative personal storytelling to honor and recognize the importance of our own experience, and to help locate relevant socio-historical legal history and its impact in our own lives
  • Developing, facilitating and supporting contemplative inquiry into the nature of core concepts in our disciplines–in law, concepts like equality, citizenship and race but also privilege–to understand, unpack, deconstruct and reconstruct those terms
  • Learning, teaching, practicing and modeling mindful interpersonal dynamics.

Together, these methods comprise a skill set she calls “Contemplative Narrative Practices.” While she’s introduced these methods for legal education, the practices can be adapted for other academic fields.

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