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Kevin Burke gives kids new tools to discuss difficult topics

Kathryn Kao

October 19, 2015

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Having attended an all-boys Catholic school in Chicago, new English education assistant professor Kevin Burke wanted to return to a similar teaching environment and assess how gender, sexuality, and religion are developed in the classroom to shape student identity.

In his first book, "Masculinities and Other Hopeless Causes at an All-Boys Catholic School," Burke spent a year in a secondary classroom observing how discourse formed assumptions and practices about what it means to become a man. His research is largely focused on the intersections of gender, sexuality, and religion in schooling.

Burke is joining the College from the University of Notre Dame, where he conducted extensive research on curriculum theory, teacher education, and the notion of "liking" and "loving" in the educational sphere. His most recent study focuses on civic youth engagement and how different forms of art, like photography, poetry, and guided walks, can inspire kids to think more deeply about their role in society.

"We wanted to provide different spaces for kids to do interesting things, but also to then work with them toward social change. The idea is that kids have really powerful voices—it's just they don't necessarily have venues in which to project them."