Cultural Studies of Science Education

, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp 73-103

First online:

Movement expressiveness, solidarity and the (re)shaping of African American students’ scientific identities

  • Rowhea ElmeskyAffiliated withWashington University in St. Louis Email author 
  • , Gale SeilerAffiliated withMcGill University

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Science educators have yet to identify ways to enable inner city African American high school students to experience success in science. In this paper, we argue that understanding the ways in which cultural practices from fields outside of school mediate what happens inside classrooms and contribute to the learning of students is crucial to addressing current disparities in science performance. Specifically, we explore the significance of movement expressiveness dispositions to the lives and the learning of economically disadvantaged African American youth. These particular dispositions have been repeatedly observed in our research, and they can be important resources for the creation of individual emotional energy, collective solidarity, and heightened engagement in learning activities since they provide resources for the (re)shaping of identity. Thus movement expressiveness dispositions hold potential for transforming the teaching and learning of these students.


African American students Cultural dispositions Movement expression Hybrid identities Creolized science