Educational Necropolitics

Listen to the Sounds of Schooling

Artist: Ya-Meer McKnight

Title: “The Moment”

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Scholars across fields of education have longstanding histories of critically considering the many ways that inequities in schooling are engendered and maintained, and, just as significantly, how these forms of oppression might be resisted and refused. Drawing from these important dialogues, Educational Necropolitics shares two years of stories, sounds, and powerful images collected through a sonic ethnographic study. What emerges from this work are the reverberations of how students in this context and, more broadly, how youth across the country often negotiate the intersections of race, genders, sexual orientations, class, and other parts of their complex identities in overwhelmingly white high school settings. This book examines what is produced in the wake of educational necropolitics – the capacity for schools to dictate to what degree minoritized students’ ways of being can remain intact – and, significantly, it follows the daily lives of youth as they encounter forms of violence through what schools intend to teach, what is left out, what is learned through everyday interactions, and what is valued through the broader emergent cultural contexts. This groundbreaking work includes interactive e-features that invite readers to travel and interact with participants of the study, which utilizes deep listening in qualitative research and reflects the results of this sonic ethnography. A truly timely text for educators and administrators, Educational Necropolitics provides an immersive experience in which leaders can address and correct systemic racist practices in the school setting by drawing directly from first-hand student experiences.


“In this moment when we are resisting and enduring a number of anti-antiracist school board policies and practices, Dr. Boni Wozolek’s work in Educational Necropolitics: A Sonic Ethnography of Racism in US Schools is right on time. With deep reflection, care, theoretical strength, and attentiveness to the lives of students of color as they navigate the everyday racialized and gendered violence of schools and schooling, Dr. Wozolek offers a loud reminder of why we must continue to struggle for more and better antiracist curriculum and pedagogy as part of the work we must do to forge a praxis of regard.” 

  • Denise Taliaferro Baszile (, Associate Dean for Student Services and Diversity and Student Experience for the College of Education, Health, and Soceity, Miami University

“Grounded in the everyday materialities of young people’s everyday lives at school, Educational Necropologics: A Sonic Ethnography of Everyday Racisms in US Schools is a deftly polyphonic work that artfully negotiates important sociocultural theories and emergent methodologies. Listening deeply to how systems normalize violence against some so that others might be understood as successful, Boni Wozolek’s book is a study in how to speak difficult, critical truths with vulnerability and care so that we might decide to do otherwise.”

  • Walter Gershon (, Associate Professor of Critical Foundations of Education and Program Coordinate for the Master’s in Urban Education and Community Studies, Rowan University

“Wozolek’s questions—’How will I know when I’m ready? When will it be time?’—has been haunting me since I read her book. From being invited into memories from her dream about history, belonging, and despair, to being immersed in stories about engagements with violence, racism, and hope, this book presents a powerful discussion about relationships between schools and communities; about living, learning, and teaching; and about the perpetuation of systemic injustices. It offers us hope for deeply addressing and eradicating harms that get enacted onto people within one too many schools. Read this book and be even more encouraged to work for educational equity and justice.”

  • Valerie Kinloch (, Dean for the School of Education at the University of Pittsburgh

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