Corridor Cultures: Mapping Student Resistance at an Urban High School

By Maryann Dickar | Go to book overview

Introduction
Student Resistance and the
Cultural Production of Space

The day before school started one September, I lost my classroom on the quiet south side of the building to a new Freshman Block program. My reassigned room on the noisy east side was an old computer room filled with Mac Classics bolted to the tops of tables. Though some computers worked, most needed repairs or were missing keyboards. During the summer, workers renovating the school had cut the wires, leaving no Internet access and no network, so the few working computers were essentially useless. Trying not to start the term demoralized, I dragged the old Macs into the hall and scrambled to find real desks in other rooms. When I removed the computer tables, I discovered that the floor was lined with electrical sockets that stuck up two inches and sent up sparks when I dragged a chair over them. I tried to arrange the furniture to hide these obstacles the best I could. The room was filled with an eclectic but functional mix of desks and chairs, and the sockets were reasonably concealed when the thirty Black sophomores in my first class arrived the next day.

After we introduced ourselves, I handed out two lists of rules. I labeled one “Dictatorship Rules,” established by the school and district, such as “no fighting” as well as “no headphones,” “no cell phones” and “no hats.” I went over these rules and told students, “We don't have any say in these

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