Date: Friday, September 28, 2018
Venue: Scarfe Room 1130
Time: 12:30 – 2:00 p.m.
Title: Why “Indigenizing” Curriculum and ‘Pedagogy’ is Vital for Our Survival:
An Interactive Engagement with Four Arrows
Speaker: Four Arrows (Wahinkpe Topa), aka Don Trent Jacobs
Professor, Fielding Graduate University, USA
Light refreshments and informal conversation at noon. The Lecture commences at 12:30 pm.
There is no need to RSVP. Everyone is welcome!
This presentation will clarify the various meanings, goals, concerns and potential outcomes relating to school-wide efforts to “teach” the relevance of Indigenous worldview, knowledge and perspectives. This includes giving support to sovereignty while exposing settler hegemony. Ideas on foundational ways to transform learning accordingly are also introduced.
Four Arrows (Wahinkpe Topa), aka Don Trent Jacobs, Ed.D., formerly Dean of Education at Oglala Lakota College, is currently a professor in the School of Leadership Studies at Fielding Graduate University. Selected by AERO as one of 27 visionaries in education, he is the author of 21 books including Point of Departure: Returning to Our Authentic Worldview for Education and Survival (IAP, 2016); Teaching Truly: A Curriculum to Indigenize Mainstream Education (Peter Lang, 2014); and The Authentic Dissertation (Routledge, 2008). Four Arrow is also the subject of a book about his life and activism entitled, Fearless Engagement by R. Michael Fisher (Peter Lang, 2018).
In 2017, the Graphic History Collective launched Remember | Resist | Redraw: A Radical History Poster Project, a collaborative project featuring works by artists and writers committed to promoting art, activism, and alternative history in what is today known as Canada.
Remember | Resist | Redraw posters offer alternative perspectives on well-known historical events, and highlights histories of Indigenous peoples, women, workers, and the oppressed that are often overlooked or marginalized in mainstream historical accounts.
Public funding for private schools may be the most obvious way public education in British Columbia is being privatized, but there are other less obvious privatizing strategies at work. The Many Faces of Privatization is a background paper I co-authored with Sandra Mathison and Larry Kuehn as part of Funding Public Education project of the Institute for Public Education / British Columbia.
The paper offers analysis of 1) the common neoliberal narrative that legitimizes and promotes privatization thus drawing the public into a manufactured consent of privatization and 2) specific contexts in which this privatization in manifest, such as personalized learning (especially with technology), choice programs, school fees and fund raising, business principles of school administration, corporate sponsorships, fee paying international students, and publicly funded private schools.
[Read the talk here.]
I am very pleased and honoured to be giving the keynote address at the XV International Conference on the Research of Teaching Social Sciences /XV Jornades Internacionals de Recerca en Didàctica de les Ciències Socials (February 8-10 at the Autonomous University of Barcelona), a homage to one of the leading scholars in the field in the past half century, Professor Joan Pagès i Blanch.
In my talk I’ll respond to the questions posed in the conference title “What teachers, citizenship, future for research in social studies education?”
What kind of teachers?
Those who understand their role in creating classrooms where students can develop personally meaningful understandings of the world and recognize they have agency to act on the world, to make change.
What kind of citizenship?
The dangerous kind.
What kind of future?
One where social studies education emphases the connection between the social and the individual, between the political and the existential; where a focus on institutional transformation is pursued in tandem with concerns for the existential dimension of meaning, that is personal desire for belonging, community, and moral commitment.
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
International Research Seminar on Social Studies Education
Place: Sala de Juntes de la Facultat de Ciències de l’Educació, & Seminari de Màster 2 (Building G5)
Dates: 6 and 7 February 2018
Critical research on Curriculum and Social Studies Education
1. What should we investigate today? Critical research and selecting a topic of research.
2. How should we investigate the social studies curriculum to do critical research? Research methodology.
With the participation of:
Dra. Liliana Bravo Penjeam. Professor of the Department of History at Universidad Alberto Hurtado (Chile)
Dr. E. Wayne Ross. Professor of Social Studies Education, at the University of British Columbia (Canada)
Dr. Joan Pagès. Emeritus Professor of Social Studies Education, at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Dr. Antoni Santisteban Professor of Social Studies Education, at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Presentation by the speakers and debate in small groups.
Documento, a newspaper in Athens, Greece, published Anna Papadimitriou’s interview with me on October 22, 2017. Over the course of the interview we covered a variety of topics including the state of democracy in the world today, the ways in which democracy submits to capitalism and the role of schools in the creation of democratic citizens.
We discussed, in particular, the concept of dangerous citizenship, a notion I developed along with Kevin D. Vinson.
The interview was published in Greek. Below I have posted the unedited version of the interview in English.
Interview with Anna Papadimitriou for Documento (Athens, Greece)
- Your research interests focus on the role of teaching in building a democratic society in the face of antidemocratic impulses of greed, individualism, and intolerance. Nowadays, many countries define themselves as democracies, but one can find one or more of the antidemocratic impulses you mention. How would you define a modern democratic society? Is there any country on the planet that corresponds to your description?
Our default for understanding the world is typically to use fixed terms and ideas that we believe correspond to some unchanging reality. The problem is that our language of democracy is static, but the real world is constantly changing. Our thoughts, ideas and terminology about democracy are merely representations of what we think it is and in many ways these ideas no longer correspond to reality, indeed the reality is nearly the opposite.
Here are some examples of what I mean. This past summer Poland’s parliament passed a law undermining the independence of courts, even though separation of powers is a key idea defining liberal democracy. Earlier this month the Spanish government sent police to attack voters and confiscate ballot boxes in the Catalan independence referendum. Poland and Spain are considered democratic governments, but they are not acting in accordance with the typical ideas we hold about how a democracy works. I could add many examples from the United States, Turkey and other so-called democracies.
We generally accept the idea that the more people participate in a democratic society the more democratic it becomes, but some political scientists now question whether citizen participation is actually good for democracy, arguing that political participation and deliberation makes things worse. There are now political scientists advocating epistocracy, the rule of the knowledgeable, as better than democracy.
This is not a new idea. In 1975, the Trilateral Commission published a report, The Crisis of Democracy, which described the problems faced by governments in Europe, U.S. and Japan as stemming from “an excess of democracy” and advocated restoring the power of centralized institutions.
U.S. political scientists Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page produced a major empirical study in 2014 that illustrates that the United States is a functioning oligarchy (which they described as “economic elite domination”). The study concluded that the public has almost no influence over policies the US government adopts, but the central features of democratic governance persist, outwardly.
In Brave New World Revisited, Huxley described our current circumstances:
“by means of ever more effective methods of mind-manipulation, the democracies will change their nature; the quaint old forms—elections, parliaments, Supreme Courts and all the rest—will remain. The underlying substance will be a new kind of non-violent totalitarianism. All the traditional names, all the hallowed slogans will remain exactly what they were in the good old days. Democracy and freedom will be the theme of every broadcast and editorial … Meanwhile the ruling oligarchy and its highly trained elite of soldiers, policemen, thought-manufacturers and mind-manipulators will quietly run the show as they see fit.”
What counts as democracy today, that is state-capitalist electoral politics, is a spectacle, which Chris Hedges calls “meaningless theatre” and Paul Street describes as “fake-democratic ‘marionette theater’ for a corporate and military deep state” that grinds down democracy, if such a thing ever really existed.
- In your various works, you address the idea of dangerous citizenship. How would you define it?
If we, here I’m speaking of educators, are truly committed to building a more equitable world we have to re-imagine our roles and find ways to create opportunities for students to construct personally meaningful understandings of the world. What we understand about the world is determined by what the world is, who we are, and how we conduct our inquiries. Education is not about showing life to people, but bringing them to life. The aim is not getting students to listen to convincing lectures by experts, but getting them to speak for themselves in order to achieve, or at least strive for an equal degree of participation and a more democratic, equitable, and just future. This requires a new mindset, something I call dangerous citizenship.
Schools are the primary source of citizenship education and a key site where the state attempts to shape young peoples’ understanding of the world. It is the place where myths of democracy are propagated. Dangerous citizenship is, firstly, a radical critique of schooling as social control. It is also a collection of strategies that might be used to disrupt and resist the conforming, anti-democratic, anti-collective and oppressive potentialities of schools and society.
Dangerous citizenship requires people take on actions and behaviours that bring with them certain necessary dangers; it transcends traditional manoeuvres such as voting and signing petitions, etc. Citizenship from this perspective, is a praxis-inspired mindset of opposition and resistance, an acceptance of a certain strategic and tactical stance. Of course, the implication here is that dangerous citizenship is dangerous to an oppressive and socially unjust status quo, to existing hierarchical structures of power.
We need new pedagogical imaginaries for teaching because traditional conceptions of “democratic” citizenship are bankrupt, perverted by capitalism’s triumph over the interests of the people.
Dangerous citizenship embodies three fundamental, conjoined, and crucial generalities: political participation, critical awareness, and intentional action. Its underlying aims rest upon imperatives of resistance, disruption, and disorder.
Dangerous citizenship embraces political participation, but not necessarily traditional means. For example, if state-capitalist electoral politics is meaningless theatre, then voting is perhaps not a meaningful or useful way to be politically engaged. Voting can even be seen as non-democratic, particularly when is suppresses minority viewpoints and enhances the beneficiaries in what is essentially an oligarchy or plutocracy.
Secondly, dangerous citizenship is informed by Paulo Freire’s idea of conscientization, that is a consciousness-raising that facilitates the perception and exposure of social and political contradictions. Dangerous citizenship asks how can we achieve that kind of critical awareness and understanding?
Thirdly, dangerous citizenship promotes intentional, critical action, behaviours designed to instigate human connection, true engagement with everyday life, meaningful experience, communication and change.
Democracy, in this context, is not about electoral politics, but a force that breaks down the barriers that separate people – class, race, national territory – and creates community. The more porous the boundaries of social groups, the more they welcome participation from all individuals, and as the varied groupings enjoy multiple and flexible relations, society moves closer to fulfilling the democratic ideal.
- Do dangerous citizens have a place in a democratic society or are they needed when democracies are fading?
Democracy, as I see it, is something that is yet to be achieved.
The first premise of dangerous citizenship is that democracy does not dominate capital. Capital always trumps democracy – pun intended.
As an unfinished, or never finished project democracy cannot exist in a space where critical social analysis is discouraged. This is a key point for educators to understand. We cannot achieve democracy when curriculum is standardized and regulated. Teachers and curriculum have been subject to ever intensifying policy regimes that attack academic freedom and discourage critical thought. This is happening world-wide and has been taken to extremes, for example, by the Erdoğan government in Turkey.
The primary role of capitalist schooling is social control, most evident in the aims to win children of poor and working classes to be obedient, dutiful and useful to the ruling class under a variety of myths, such as “we are all in this together.” Governments would have us believe that civil disobedience is our problem. But has historian Howard Zinn observed our problem is civil obedience in the face of extreme inequalities that produce poverty and starvation, war and cruelty.
The majority of countries in the world describe themselves as some kind of democracy, a republic or constitutional monarchy. But these are shallow and hollow examples of democracy at best and perversions of the idea of democracy at worst.
Democracy as an associated way of living – where citizens are concerned with the development of shared interests that lead to sensitivity about repercussions of their actions on others and a critical examination of existing social, economic, and political inequalities are at the centre of the endeavour should be our goal. Achieving democracy in this sense is a struggle.
Being a dangerous citizen means living in ways that challenge – are dangerous to the existence of – the status quo and the many inequities that define our world today and that brings with it inherent dangers because enemies of equity and justice can be ruthless.
- You were born, raised and educated in the US, but you also have a Canadian citizenship after having spent years in Canada. Can you provide some examples of dangerous citizens in these two countries? How are they confronted by the political authorities?
My goal has been to challenge teachers to examine examples of creative disruption of everyday as potential sources for new critical pedagogies of resistance to be employed in schools. This is an effort to subvert the traditional aims and methods employed in state-capitalist sponsored schools.
The idea of dangerous citizenship is inspired by my interest in post-left, insurrectionist anarchism (such as Guy Debord and the Situationist International) and politically inspired performance artists who aim to creatively disrupt everyday life. These are models for creative pedagogies of resistance.
For example, the “brandalism” – Situationist inspired détournement of corporate advertising – at the 2015 Paris Climate Talks is a good example of dangerous citizenship. As are the “ethical spectacles” practiced by Greenpeace, Yes Men, and the Clandestine Insurgent Rebel Clown Posse.
Occupy Wall Street, the indigenous Canadian Idle No More movement are, I think, excellent examples of dangerous citizenship, challenging the status quo, refusing to work within a system that perpetuates social and economic inequalities and generally using direct action tactics to achieve change. But I believe the larger civil society movement, where people are organized to express the will of the “third sector” (non-governmental, non-capitalist), also fits in mould, particularly the anti-austerity movement in Greece and Spain (e.g., the Indignant Citizens Movement), which illustrates the double-edged dangers of dangerous citizenship in practice.
In the mid-twentieth century philosopher Paul Taylor argued “we must decide what ought to be the case. We cannot discover what ought to be the case by investigating what is the case.” We—educators and citizens—must decide what kind of world we want to live in. That means asking, in particular, in what sense of democracy do we want this to be a democratic society? We must engage these questions not as merely abstract or rhetorical, but in relation to our lived experiences.
Call for Manuscripts
Learning Vietnam, Again
Rich Gibson, San Diego State University
E. Wayne Ross, University of British Columbia
January 2018, marks the 50th anniversary of the Tet uprising in Vietnam.
While American elites belittled Tet as a military failure (if they noted it at all—General Westmoreland insisted the Battle of Hue was really nothing), their myopic view of the many Tet battles reflected their past and current inability to connect all the factors of modern warfare: the political, economic, military, international, and cultural matters that the National Liberation Front always tied as one.
To recognize the courage, perseverance, and later victory of the Vietnamese over the many invading empires, we plan a special issue of Cultural Logic, “Learning Vietnam, Again.”
We also hope to contend with the false narratives built up since the US fled Vietnam in April, 1975. These would include the fairly well known myths such as the “spat upon veteran,” and the “stabbed in the back” stories, as well as the Obama administration’s more recent whitewash, neatly exposed by Nick Turse, and the Ken Burns/Lynn Novick PBS documentary “The Vietnam War.”
We seek essays that address any aspect of the Vietnam war, but are especially interested in pieces that link the war and education—in any way you can imagine.
After all, the core project of the Vietnamese revolutionaries was education, while on the US side, the effort was either military propaganda, or promoting ignorance. Essays might also relate the United States’ contemporary problems with insurgencies to the history of the wars on Vietnam—and the national education programs of today.
Submissions may include essays, interviews, reviews (books, films, and other media) or poetry. Please use any one of the commonly accepted scholarly formats (e.g., APA, MLA, Chicago, Humanities, etc.).
Deadline: February 1, 2018.
For more information or to submit manuscripts email the editors:
rg [at] richgibson.com
wayne.ross [at] ubc.ca
Cultural Logic, which has been on-line since 1997, is a non-profit, peer-reviewed, interdisciplinary journal that publishes essays, interviews, poetry, reviews (books, films, other media), etc. by writers working within the Marxist tradition. The editors will also print responses to work published in earlier issues. Texts may be of varying length and may conform to any of the commonly accepted scholarly formats (e.g., APA, MLA, Chicago, Humanities, etc.). Because this is an interdisciplinary journal, we do not demand that contributors adhere to one particular format, with which they might be unfamiliar. Copyright on texts appearing in Cultural Logic remains with the author. These texts may be republished by the author provided that Cultural Logic is acknowledged as the original place of publication.
Texts appearing in Cultural Logic are indexed in MLA Bibliography, EBSCO Databases, MLA International Directory of Periodicals, International Progressive Publications Network (ippn). Cultural Logic is archived by universities participating in the LOCKSS project initiated by Stanford University. Direct correspondence to E. Wayne Ross, Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy, University of British Columbia, 2125 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z4, Canada. Email: email@example.com
The editors of Cultural Logic are pleased to announce that our latest collaboration with with Works & Davids is now available online.
This triple issue of articles, reviews, and poetry was edited by Joseph G. Ramsey.
Thanks to David B. Downing and his staff at Works & Days as well as Cultural Logic co-editor David Siar and Jarib Rahman for their technical assistance in publishing this issue of Cultural Logic.
In Memoriam, Edmond Caldwell
“Here We Come”
Carl Grey Martin and Modhumita Roy
A Conversation with Historian Marcus Rediker”
“We Are All Activists Now”
Patrick Colm Hogan
“Politically Engaged Scholars:
An Analytic of Positions and Norms”
The MLA Subconference Collective: Bennett Carpenter, Laura Goldblatt, Lenora Hanson, Karim Wissa, and Andrew Yale
Learning Within/Against/Beyond the Institution”
“Resolving the Contradictions of Academic Unionism”
Stephen C. Ferguson II and Gregory D. Meyerson
“Shred of Truth:
Antinomy and Synedoche in the Work of Ta-Nehisi Coates”
“I am Not that Corpse:
A Working Praxis for Black Lives Matter”
“Amos D. Squire,
Chief Physician of Sing Sing 1914-1925”
Ali Shehzad Zaidi
“The Promise and Peril of the Virtual University”
Efadul Huq and Xavier Best
‘Untangling the Scholactivist Web
“What’s on Your Mind”‘
Sophia A. McClennen
“What’s Wrong with Slactivism? Confronting the Neoliberal Assault on Millenials”
Jeffrey R. DiLeo
On Administrative Activism in the Neoliberal Academy”
Vincent B. Leitch
“Letter on Scholactivism:
To Graduate Students and Young Colleagues”
Tony Van der Meer
“Fighting to be Different in the Academy”
“Richard Levins and Dialectical Thinking”
Joel Woller, Courtney Maloney, Charles Cunningham
“On the Ground with David Demarest:
Toward a Methodology of Scholar Activism”
“John Trudell and the Spirit of Life”
Reblogged from: David Palumbo-Liu
Invitation to Endorse and Join the Campus Antifascist Network
The election of Donald Trump has emboldened fascist and white nationalist groups nationwide, on campus and off, and their recent upsurge requires antifascists to take up the call to action once again. Since Trump’s election, fascists, neo-fascists, and their allies have used blatantly Islamophobic, anti-semitic, racist, misogynistic, homophobic, transphobic, and ableist messaging and iconography to recruit to their ranks and intimidate students, faculty and staff. As we wrote this letter, hundreds of torch-bearing white supremacists were marching on the campus of University of Virginia chanting “Jews will not replace us” and other vile slurs. An antifascist activist was murdered by these same forces in Charlottesville, raising the stakes of resistance to new heights.
Fascists have used “free speech” as a façade for attacking faculty who have stood in solidarity with students against the threat that these organizations and individuals pose, and as an excuse to march and organize around slogans drawn directly from “blood and soil” rhetoric of Nazi Germany. White supremacists like Richard Spencer have invoked classic tropes of white supremacy to scapegoat and target immigrants, non-whites and the foreign-born. Such organizations and individuals have also engaged in outright physical violence up to and including murder, like those tragic incidents that occurred in Oregon, Virginia, and Maryland.
The so-called ‘alt.right’ and their fellow travelers have also aggressively sought to smear, bully and intimidate faculty, especially faculty of color. Progressive scholars such as Keeanga Yamahtta-Taylor, Johnny Williams, Dana Cloud and George Ciccariello-Maher, among others, have each been threatened with violence, or firing, for strong anti-racist social justice commitments.
The time to take action is now. We call on all interested individuals and organizations to support or join the Campus Antifascist Network (CAN). CAN will help you organize a local antifascist chapter on your campus that can help support, educate and defend faculty, students and staff, and share information on fascist organizing in the U.S., planned fascist activities, and organized antifascist responses. CAN has already expressed its solidarity with the Charlottesville protests: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1E-JyaGwG4HLgJixeYxflInlw_Z6eLuNH6TfobzM4ZnA/edit?ts=5990393a
CAN has also devised a public, open access Syllabus on Fascism that may be used for any educational purpose:
To become a member of the Campus Antifascist Network, or to endorse, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org