Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (MALS)


In the face of political and ideological division, effective social justice training is urgent. Teachers and facilitators in higher education are working to change and train minds and hearts towards justice, and need all available tools. Content experts like identity studies professors have theoretical knowledge but may lack tools for effective facilitation. Likewise, facilitators, such as student affairs professionals, may be skilled trainers but lack sufficient knowledge of social justice concepts. As a new tool for social justice dialogue, Arao and Clemens (2013) proposed “brave space” as a facilitation framework, and this theory can serve as an effective bridge to serve both content experts and facilitators. Arao and Clemens conclude their research with a call for more analysis: “we welcome your additional philosophical and theoretical analysis of the framework as articulated here” (2013, p. 149-150). The purpose of this thesis, then, is to begin to answer this call to enrich brave space as a potentially powerful educational tool: provide pedagogical and socio-political context for its inception, introduce and apply cutting-edge interdisciplinary theory to undergird the framework, and bridge the gap between theory and praxis, towards effective trainings for positive change.


A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Liberal Studies.