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Dr. Lester Spence

Professor, Political Science and Africana Studies, Johns Hopkins University
Lester Spence

We need to think about what political resistance looks like at this time. This is just the beginning. We need to think about what taking politics seriously means. What does people fighting for their interests look like?

Dr. Lester Spence

Key Interview Takeaways

We are going through a moment at the intersection of two movements. One is a wave of attempts to seize the moment to expand the borders of what is politically possible within all of the levels of higher ed. This is intersecting with an austerity movement that will affect everything from school delivery mechanisms to labor situations.

Instructional design can play a really critical role in rethinking what kind of structures we need in order to create a pedagogy more appropriate for the moment we are in. What opportunities does this situation create for learning?​

Given the future that’s coming, we need everybody… All populations have to have access to what higher ed can provide.​


Lester Spence is a Professor of Political Science and Africana Studies at Johns Hopkins University. He specializes in the study of black, racial, and urban politics in the wake of the neoliberal turn. Dr. Spence is an award winning scholar, author, and teacher, has published two books (Stare in the Darkness: Hip-hop and the Limits of Black Politics winner of the 2012 W. E. B. Du Bois Distinguished Book Award, and Knocking the Hustle: Against the Neoliberal Turn in Black Politics, winner of both the Baltimore City Paper and Baltimore Magazine 2016 Best Nonfiction Book Awards), one co-edited journal, over a dozen academic articles and several dozen essays and think pieces in a range of publications including The American Journal of Political SciencePolitical Research Quarterly, The New York Times, Jacobin, Salon, and The Boston Review. He is currently at work on two book length projects examining the contemporary AIDS crisis in black communities, and the growing role of police in major American cities.