World-Making Through a Feminist Abolitionist Lens in a STEAM Middle School Program

Melita Morales*, Mya Franklin, Shirin Vossoughi, Sam Carroll, Onam Lansana, Megan Bang, Sahibzada Mayed

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The maker movement propagated throughout educational spaces alongside promises that technological and design literacies could be harnessed to shape equitable social futures. However, researchers have highlighted the ways makerspaces can reinforce hierarchies of race, gender, and class. This paper builds on research that seeks to support girls' making through broader sociopolitical and ethical commitments. We consider what an everyday pedagogy of feminist abolition looked like in a makerspace, with a focus on how educators responded to emergent social needs within and across gender lines. Our data sources (extensive field notes, audio–video recordings, photographs, and student interviews) are drawn from Hubspace, a 6-week summer program serving Black, Latine/x, and South Asian middle school youth and grounded in expansive forms of storytelling, coding, engineering, music, writing, and art. In closely analyzing routine forms of educator reflection alongside the design decisions, pedagogical moves and forms of student sense-making they supported, we found that student and educator sociopolitical learning emerged together to build what became possible in the culture of the space over time. Across three cases, we show how such pedagogies offered lived models and creative languages for practicing restorative and just social relationships. Each of the cases tell the story of different moments when gender became important to the ways participants were working to recognize and desettle received terms of thought and generate alternate forms of thinking, living, and relating, or the making of new stories and worlds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalReading Research Quarterly
StateAccepted/In press - 2024


  • abolition
  • feminist praxis
  • gender
  • learning
  • maker education
  • middle school
  • restorative practices
  • sociopolitical pedagogy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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