The Work of Classroom Safe Spaces

  • Rosemary Clark-Parsons


Rosemary Clark-Parson’s critical reflection, “The Work of Classroom Safe Spaces,” historicizes and contextualizes the ongoing debate of “safe spaces” on university campuses in the United States. She offers an intervention into the safe spaces debate, arguing that safe space is a pedagogical practice, something contextual, contingent, and above all, a form of work, rather than a stable, closed concept. Drawing on her own ethnographic work, Parsons asks three fundamental questions regarding what constitutes a safe space: who is the space for, what is this space safe from, and what is safe to do in this space. She carries these questions into the classroom to collaborate with her students on the possible answers.