Ruha Benjamin
Keynote Presenter 2024

Educators As Imagination Incubators:

Possibilities & Practices Toward Liberatory Education

A world without prisons? Ridiculous. Schools that foster the genius of every child? Impossible. A society where everyone has food, shelter, love? In your dreams. Exactly.

In this Keynote, Ruha Benjamin takes us into the liberating power of the imagination. Deadly systems shaped by the school to prison pipeline, ableism, digital surveillance, and eugenics emerged from the human imagination, and have real-world impacts. To fight oppressive systems and create a world that works for all of us, we will have to imagine things differently. Ruha Benjamin will show us how educators, artists, technologists, and more are experimenting with new ways of thinking and tackling seemingly intractable problems. Let’s explore the possibilities and practices required to imagine and create more just and habitable worlds of learning and being.

Ruha Benjamin is the Alexander Stewart 1886 Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University, founding director of the Ida B. Wells Just Data Lab, and author of the award-winning book Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code, among many other publications. Her work investigates the social dimensions of science, medicine, and technology with a focus on the relationship between innovation and inequity, health and justice, knowledge and power. She is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the Marguerite Casey Foundation Freedom Scholar Award and the President’s Award for Distinguished Teaching at Princeton. Her most recent book, Viral Justice: How We Grow the World We Want, winner of the 2023 Stowe Prize, was born out of the twin plagues of COVID-19 and police violence and offers a practical and principled approach to transforming our communities and helping us build a more just and joyful world.