In Defense of Safe Spaces: A Phenomenological Account
The notion of “safe space” is one example of a theoretical and pedagogical resource grounded in studies of marginalized experiences that has recently undergone backlash in dominant culture and the academy. In this essay, I offer a defense of safe spaces using the theoretical resources of phenomenology and offer suggestions for moving past the dichotomy of safe versus unsafe space. I argue that safe space should be understood not as static and acontextual, as truly “safe” or “unsafe,” but through the relational work of cultivating such spaces. Furthermore, far from restricting dialogue in the classroom, safe spaces encourage dialogue through requiring students to utilize critical thinking in their exchanges and through supporting marginalized students whose positions and humanity often fail to be recognized in dominant spaces.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
1. Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication, with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
2. Authors are aware that articles published in Atlantis are indexed and made available through various scholarly and professional search tools, including but not limited to Erudit.
3. Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
4. Authors are permitted and encouraged to preprint their work, that is, post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process. This can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work. Read more on preprints here.