The goal of this article is to clarify how current dominant understandings of community-engaged scholarship (CES) can be strengthened to incorporate lessons from critical theory and to focus on justice more explicitly. A prior analysis of how CES is defined across multiple disciplinary literatures revealed that scholars define CES as partnerships between universities and communities that collaboratively develop and apply knowledge to address public issues. Six components of CES were frequently recommended for practice within this scholarship as well. However, neither the goal of CES—to support the “public good”—nor the six recommended CES components consistently included an explicit focus on justice and critical theory. By explicitly naming and defining the goal of justice—as opposed to the “public good” —I aim to highlight the importance of conducting routine analyses in CES of whose interests motivate conceptions of the public good and how dominant cultural structures, values, and traditions negatively impact minoritized community members' lives. Thus, this article employs teachings from critical theory—such as race-conscious analyses, asset-based understandings of community, and privileging subaltern experiences—to envision how critical CES could support university and community partnerships in producing knowledge that more effectively dismantles systemic sources of racial and social injustice.

Cynthia Gordon da Cruz (2017) Critical Community-Engaged Scholarship: Communities and Universities Striving for Racial Justice, Peabody Journal of Education, 92:3, 363-384, DOI: 10.1080/0161956X.2017.1324661

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