Category Archives: Education Reform

Sneak peak at New Book: Social Studies Education in Latin America

I’m pleased to provide a sneak peak of a new book coming out from Routledge later in 2022.

Social Studies Education in Latin America: Critical Perspectives from the Global South will be the first entry in a new Routledge books series titled Social Studies and Citizenship Education in the Global South. The book and book series are edited by  Sebastián Plá (Professor at the National Autonomous University of Mexico) and me.

This book offers a path forward, for the growing collaboration in social studies education between Global North and South educators, practitioners, and researchers. In this volume, leading critical social studies education researchers from Latin America explore the constant presence of colonialism, capitalism, patriarchy, and state violence.  Chapter contributors represent a large part of the continent, and offer perspectives on a wide range of topics, including; recent history and memory, cultural dimensions of social studies education, and comparative studies among Latin American countries.

By bringing together this critical work in one volume, the book fosters conversation across geographic regions to transcend the national contexts for which these analyses are generally produced. This collection provides insights into issues of curriculum, teaching, teacher education and research in the region and will be of interest to readers both familiar with and new to research on social studies, history, citizenship, and geography education in Latin America.

Table of Contents

Preface

1. The New Social Studies Research in Latin America: An Introduction
Sebastián Plá & E. Wayne Ross

2. Educational Trajectories in an Adverse Political Context: The Social Sciences and History in the Colombian School
Sandra Patricia Rodríguez Ávila

3. Education, History, and Memory in the Chilean School: A Perspective on Chile’s Recent History from the Narratives of High School Students
Fabián González Calderón & Graciela Rubio Soto

4. Interculturalism in the Training of History Teachers: Persistence of the Disciplinary Code
Omar Turra Díaz & Juan Salcedo-Parada

5. Decolonial Pedagogy: Intersections and Resistances of Memory and History, in Mapuche Communities of Southern Chile
Carolina Huenchullán Arrué

6. Afrodescendant in Latin America and Social Studies: A Perspective from Mexico
Gabriela Iturralde Nieto

7. When Gender and Sexuality Intersect with History Teaching: Brazil is Burning
Fernando Seffner

8. Crossroads of History Teaching and Learning and Political Science in Latin America: TheResidenteProject
Luis Fernando Cerri

9. Disciplinary Codex in History Education
María Paula González

10. On the History We Teach Every Day: Historics, Historiography and Philosophy of History
Ana Zavala

11. The Critical Reading of the Southern Geographical Reality: The Challenge of School Geography
José Armando Santiago Rivera

12. The Panorama of Social Studies in Latin America Curricula
Sebastián Plá

Advance Endorsements

“The New Social Studies Research in Latin America is an achievement and an opportunity to facilitate a better exchange of ideas and more equal academic discussion. Written by leading researchers in Latin America and edited by key authorities in the field, it opens access to Latin American social studies research in their own words. The book is an essential read for social studies academics and practitioners who are open to being challenged and engaging in more ethical constructions of knowledge.” – Dr. Edda Sant, Reader in Education, Manchester Metropolitan University (UK)

“There is an essential uniqueness to The New Social Studies Research in Latin America that could truly benefit social studies education in North America. We are in urgent need of a global lens and vital dialogue that examines the political, economic, and social histories inherent to Central and South America. Like none before, this book will bring to our classrooms perspectives on power and a wonderful opportunity to shift our practices.” – Dr. Cinthia Salinas, Ruben E. Hinojosa Regents Professor in Education, University of Texas at Austin (USA)

“The collection of critical research on social studies in Latin America, in dialogue with global issues, makes The New Social Studies Research in Latin America an indispensable contribution to the renewal of critical social studies education.” – Dr. Antoni Santisteban Fernández, Professor & Director of the Department of Didactics of Language and Literature, and Social Sciences, Autonomous University of Barcelona (Spain)

The New Social Studies Research in Latin America offers readers vital insights into critical teaching and learning. The chapters call upon educators to account for the classed, gendered, and racialized nature of systems born in Empire and inequality and for the capacities of communities to learn themselves into a more just co-existence.” – Dr. Kent den Heyer, Professor, Department of Secondary Education, University of Alberta (Canada)

“Language has become a barrier to knowledge and exchange between research carried out in countries whose language is of Latin origin, in our case Spanish and Portuguese. It is important to promote and discuss the knowledge created in Latin America, which makes The New Social Studies Research in Latin America relevant.” – Dr. Ángel Díaz-Barriga, Institute for Research on the University and Education, National Autonomous University of Mexico (Mexico)

Encyclopaedia of Marxism and Education

Encyclopaedia of Marxism and Education

Brill has just published the Encyclopaedia of Marxism and Education, edited by Alpesh Maisuria, who is a professor in Education Policy in Critical Education at the University of the West of England, Bristol, UK.

“This encyclopaedia showcases the explanatory power of Marxist educational theory and practice. The entries have been written by 51 leading authors from across the globe. The 39 entries cover an impressive range of contemporary issues and historical problematics. The editor has designed the book to appeal to readers within the Marxism and education intellectual tradition, and also those who are curious newcomers, as well as critics of Marxism.

The Encyclopaedia of Marxism and Education is the first of its kind. It is a landmark text with relevance for years to come for the productive dialogue between Marxism and education for transformational thinking and practice.”

I co-authored, with Sandra Mathison,  a chapter titled “Critical Education” for EME. In this chapter we define critical education broadly as a field or approach that works theoretically and practically toward social change that anticipates a post-capitalist world. We explore multiple foundational sources for critical education including Marxism and critical theory, but also democracy and anarchism. And finally, we provide an overview of several manifestations of critical education. While many conflate critical pedagogy with critical education, we contend critical education has a broader reach.

Please contact me if you would like a copy of our chapter on critical education, as I have a limited number of offprints I can share.


Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
List of Figures and Tables
Notes on Contributors

1 Introduction
Alpesh Maisuria
2 The 4th Industrial Revolution, Post-Capitalism, Waged Labour and Vocational Education
James Avis
3 Alienation and Education
Richard Hall
4 Alternatives to Capitalism
Peter Hudis
5 Capital Accumulation and Education
John Fraser Rice
6 Colonialisms and Class
Spyros Themelis
7 Communism: The Party – Pedagogy and Revolution from Marx to China
Collin L. Chambers and Derek R. Ford
8 Corporate State: “Downhill All the Way” – Education in England from Welfare to Corporate State
Patrick Ainley
9 Critical Education
Sandra Mathison and E. Wayne Ross
10 Critical Realism
Grant Banfield
11 Cuban-Marxist Education
Rosi Smith, Leticia de las Mercedes García Rosabal and Maikel J. Ortiz Bosch
12 Dialectical Materialism (Materialist Dialectics)
Constantine (Kostas) Skordoulis
13 Disaster Education
John Preston
14 Early Childhood, Feminism, and Marx
Rachel Rosen and Jan Newberry
15 Employment: Education without Jobs – Young People, Qualifications, and Employment in 21st Century Britain
Martin Allen
16 Ethnography of Education and Marxism: Education Research for Social Transformation
Dennis Beach
17 Freire, Paulo (1921–1997) as a Marxist Revolutionary for Education
Juha Suoranta
18 Gramsci, Antonio (1891–1937): Culture and Education
Peter Mayo
19 Green Marxism
Simon Boxley
20 Guevara, Ernesto “Che” (1928–1967)
Peter McLaren and Lilia D. Monzó
21 Intersectionality: Scaling Intersectional Praxes
Gregory Martin and Benjamin “Benji” Chang
22 Lenin, Vladimir (1870–1924) and Education
Juha Suoranta and Robert FitzSimmons
23 Liberation Theology
Peter McLaren
24 Luxemburg, Rosa (1871–1919) and Education
Julia Damphouse and Sebastian Engelmann
25 Managerialism and Higher Education
Goran Puaca
26 Marxism and Education: [Closed] and … Open …
Glenn Rikowski
27 Marxism and Human Rights against Capitalism
Daniel Hedlund and Magnus Nilsson
28 Marxist Feminism and Education: Gender, Race, and Class
Sara Carpenter and Shahrzad Mojab
29 Middle Classes of the World
Göran Therborn
30 Neo-Liberalism and Revolution: Marxism for Emerging Critical Educators
Alpesh Maisuria
31 New Left, Anarchism and Education
Nick Stevenson
32 Palestine: Education in Mandate Palestine
Bernard Regan
33 Plebs League: Towards a Modern Plebs League
Colin Waugh
34 Postdigital Marxism
Petar Jandrić
35 Poverty: Class, Poverty and Neo-Liberalism
Terry Wrigley
36 Public Pedagogy
Mike Cole
37 Public University: The Political Economy of the Public University
David Harvie, Mariya Ivancheva and Robert Ovetz
38 Social Class: Education, Social Class and Marxist Theory
Dave Hill and Alpesh Maisuria
39 State and Private Capital: Education, State and Capital
Ravi Kumar and Rama Paul
40 World-Systems Critical Education
Tom G. Griffiths

Index

THE REGIMES OF TRUTH OF (GLOBAL) CITIZENSHIP EDUCATION

Event cancelled based on UBC recommendations regarding COVID-19.

Public Seminar
Institute for Critical Educational Studies

THE REGIMES OF TRUTH OF (GLOBAL) CITIZENSHIP EDUCATION

Marta Estellés, PhD
University of Cantabria (Spain)

Thursday, April 2, 2020
12:30 – 1:30 pm
University of British Columbia, Vancouver — Scarfe 1209

 Abstract

The aim of this presentation is to briefly problematize current ways of thinking and talking about (global) citizenship education. Citizenship is a process more than it is an attribute, since the concept has incorporated the main characteristics both of the political transformations experienced by the State and of the State’s relations with society. The successive battles for the definition of citizenship have an impact on that institution of socialization that is school. Examining the evolution of curricular prescriptions and orientations is enough to glimpse changes in the languages and frames through which certain relations between the individual, the community, and the State are naturalized.

The results of our research show that the two major cycles of socio-institutional restructuring in Western countries – from the crisis of the nineteenth-century liberal regimes to the present – have imposed different trends in relation to citizenship education in schools. The first cycle reached its culmination with the implementation of Welfare States after the Second World War. It was not a coincidence that the first major defense for democratic citizenship education appeared in this moment, with the reformist impulse that gave rise in 1916 to Social Studies in the US. The recognition of socio-economic rights and the formation of citizenship appeared inextricably linked in the texts of the reform, in an attempt to establish a new “regime of truth” that radically redefined the meaning of education for all, and not only for a privileged minority. This redefinition also implied a criticism of the patriotic and nationalistic purposes of education. This language, however, started to become blurred as neoliberal policies instituted their own frames in the 1980s with Reagan in the US and Thatcher in the UK. Citizenship education began to adopt the rhetoric of accountability with its emphasis on testing, performance levels, skills, etc. and the focus was on promoting responsible and active citizenship that clearly emphasized duties over rights. Thus, it began to be assumed that citizens should be responsible for their own well-being and not the State. Recent discourses on global citizenship education should be seen as heirs of this last redefinition. After all, global citizenship education “aims to empower learners to engage and assume active roles, both locally and globally, to face and resolve global challenges” (UNESCO, 2014, p. 15), assuming that the responsibility of solving those challenges lies with the individuals, not on governments or international organizations.

Marta Estellés, PhD, is Assistant Professor of the Department of Education at the University of Cantabria (Spain). Her research interests include citizenship education, social studies education, curriculum policies and teacher education. She has published several works on the intersectional field of democratic citizenship education and initial teacher education. She is currently working on a research project related to teachers’ political views and behaviors and their attitudes towards including controversial issues in the classroom. She is also part of the Fedicaria collective (http://www.fedicaria.org), which advocates for critical social studies education.

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Sandra Mathison: Privatizing private schools should top list of funding changes

Published in The Province (Vancouver, BC)
October 9, 2019
Since 2013, the province has subsidized private schools to the tune of $2.6 billion. The subsidies for 2018-19 alone were $426 million, and projections for this school year are $436 million. Julia McKay / The Whig-Standard

Privatizing private schools should top list of funding changes

By Sandra Mathison

Opinion: With a public system still reeling from more than 15 years of cuts by the previous government, there is no excuse for funnelling billions of dollars to private schools.

As the B.C. education ministry rethinks how to fully and adequately fund the province’s schools, at the top of their list should be privatizing private schools by discontinuing public subsidies to independent schools.

Since 2013, the province has subsidized private schools to the tune of $2.6 billion. The subsidies for 2018-19 alone were $426 million, and projections for this school year are $436 million.

These subsidies to private schools have increased at an astronomical rate: funding increases (adjusted for inflation) to private schools have increased by 122.8 per cent since 2000-01, compared to a 15.9-per-cent increase in funding to public schools during this same period.

According to recent surveys by the Institute for Public Education, CUPE B.C. and the B.C. Humanist Association, most British Columbians believe public funding of private schools needs to end. In a poll that Insights West conducted for us in May, four in five British Columbians (78 per cent) oppose providing taxpayer funds for elite private schools. Sixty-nine per cent of British Columbians oppose funding to faith-based schools.

Let private schools be private, and let them deserve the label “independent schools.”

Private schools cost taxpayers by direct taxpayer-supported subsidies, but also by exemptions from paying property taxes, numerous personal tax benefits for individuals, and collecting large sums of tax-deductible donations.

Private schools also cost B.C. in non-economic ways. Faith-based schools are allowed to ignore human-rights laws and discriminate against employees based on marital status or sexual orientation. Our poll shows that few British Columbians are aware that faith-based schools are exempted from the B.C. Human Rights Code, but once they were aware of this, 81 per cent of respondents did not believe they should be allowed this exemption.

Let private schools be private, and let them deserve the label “independent schools.”

Private school admission processes segregate students by class and/or beliefs, rejecting students who don’t “fit” their values. These schools are therefore isolating students from peers who are not like them. Many B.C. taxpayers’ children would not be admitted to these private schools — because they can’t afford them, do not have academic credentials, or they are not suitable given the school’s philosophy.

Private schools reject the idea that schools ought to be about equity, about providing an education for all students regardless of their individual attributes.

If the education ministry needs a plan, they could immediately end subsidies to elite “Group 2” schools, those spending more per student than public schools and charging significant tuition fees. These are schools such as St. George’s in Vancouver and Shawnigan Lake on Vancouver Island.

Then they could phase out subsidies to faith-based schools over a short period of time, say two to three years.

The ministry should review private schools that serve needs not currently well met by the public schools (possibly, Indigenous schools and programs for students with special needs) and work toward integrating those schools/programs into the public education system. They should ensure there is sufficient funding provided to public schools to meet those needs.

And at the same time, tax exemptions that diminish revenue that could support public education need to change.

With a public school system still reeling from more than 15 years of cuts by the previous government, and students with special needs bearing the brunt of the underfunding, there is no excuse for funnelling billions of dollars to private schools. That money should be allocated to the public school system where it can help every child achieve their fullest potential.

Sandra Mathison is the executive director of the Institute for Public Education B.C., a professor of education at the University of B.C., and co-director of the Institute for Critical Education.

The Many Faces of Privatization

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.

Cultural Logic 2017 – Scholactivism: Transforming Praxis in and Beyond the Classroom

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.

Scholactivism: Reflections on Transforming Praxis in and Beyond the Classroom

In Memoriam, Edmond Caldwell

Contents

Articles

Editors
“Editorial Note”

Marc Bousquet
“Here We Come”

Joseph G. Ramsey
“Introducing Scholactivism
Reflections on Transforming Praxis in and beyond the Classroom”

Edward J. Carvalho
“The Activist-Scholar:
A Responsibility “to confront and dismantle
Interview with Ward Churchill”

Babak Amini
“Scholactivism:
A Roundtable Interview with Ricardo Antunes, Pietro Basso, Patrick Bond, Michael Lowy, Jose Paulo Netto, and Leo Panitch”

Carl Grey Martin and Modhumita Roy
“Narrative Resistance:
A Conversation with Historian Marcus Rediker”

Toby Miller
“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
“Schol…Exodus?
Learning Within/Against/Beyond the Institution”

Jeffrey Noonan
“Resolving the Contradictions of Academic Unionism”

Gary Zabel
“Critical Revolutionary Praxis in the Neoliberal University”

Bradley M. Freeman
‘”Better Days Ahead”
Teaching Revolutionary Futures and Protesting the Present’

John Maerhofer
“Lukács, Mariátegui, and the Dialectical Roots of Edu-Activism”

Stephen C. Ferguson II and Gregory D. Meyerson
“Shred of Truth:
Antinomy and Synedoche in the Work of Ta-Nehisi Coates”

Ian Butcher
“Student Evaluations, Neoliberal Managerialism, and Networks of Mistrust”

Demetrius Noble
“I am Not that Corpse:
A Working Praxis for Black Lives Matter”

Jill McDonough
“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
“Top Cover:
On Administrative Activism in the Neoliberal Academy”

Katie Hogan
“Complicit:
On Being a WGSS Program Director in the Neoliberal University”

Vincent B. Leitch
“Letter on Scholactivism:
To Graduate Students and Young Colleagues”

Marisol Cortez
“Occupy Los Intersticios!
Or, In Defense of Carbon-Free Unicorns”

Tony Van der Meer
“Fighting to be Different in the Academy”

Kim Emery
“Rights and Rebellion: The Faculty Role, Revisited”

Victor Wallis
“Richard Levins and Dialectical Thinking”

Joel Woller, Courtney Maloney, Charles Cunningham
“On the Ground with David Demarest:
Toward a Methodology of Scholar Activism”

Christopher Craig
“John Trudell and the Spirit of Life”

Contributors

 

The Fear Created by Precarious Existence in The Neoliberal World Discourages Critical Thinking

I was recently interviewed about the impact of neoliberal capitalism on schools, universities, and education in general by Mohsen Abdelmoumen, an Algerian-based journalist.

Over the course of the interview we discussed a wide-range of issues, including: the fundamental conflict between neoliberalism and participatory democracy; the Global Education Reform Movement (GERM) and the possibilities of transforming schools and universities into forces for progressive change and, in particular, academic freedom and free speech on campus, schools as illusion factories, curriculum as propaganda; what it means to be a dangerous citizen; and the role of intellectuals/teachers as activists.

The interview has been published in English and French, links below.

American Herald Tribune

Algérie Résistance II

Palestine Solidarité

 

Rethinking Alternatives to Neoliberalism in Education (ICCE 2017)

Earlier this month, I was a plenary speaker at the VII International Conference on Critical Education at the University of Athens (and Marasleios Pedagogical Academy of Athens), Greece. The conference theme was “Rethinking Alternatives to Neoliberalism in Education.”

The Athens newspaper Documento published an article on the conference by Anna Papadimitriou, which includes interviews with several conference plenary speakers including Dave Hill, Marnie Holborow, Grant Banfield and myself.

Documento, Ο νεοφιλελευθερισμός εισβάλλει σε σχολεια και πανεπιστημια [Neoliberalism invades schools and universities], July 2, 2017, pps. 33-35),

My talk was titled “Democratic Education in the Age of Empire: Critical Pedagogy in the Pursuit of Dangerous Citizenship.” Here is the abstract of the talk:

There is a disconnect between the rhetoric and reality of democracy in that subverts traditional approaches to democratic education. The tropes that have historically dominated the discourse on democracy and democratic education now amount to selling students (and ourselves) a lie about history and contemporary life. Our challenge is to re-imagine our roles as educators and find ways to create opportunities for students to create meaningful understandings of the world. 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.

New Book: Rethinking Social Studies: Critical Pedagogy in Pursuit of Dangerous Citizenship

I’m please to announce the publication of my new book Rethinking Social Studies: Critical Pedagogy in Pursuit of Dangerous Citizenship (Information Age Publishing, 2017).

The book is published as a volume in the series: Critical Constructions: Studies on Education and Society, which is edited: Curry Stephenson Malott, West Chester University of Pennsylvania. Brad J. Porfilio, CSU, East Bay. Marc Pruyn, Monash University. Derek R. Ford, DePauw University. Thanks to all the editors for their support of this project.

I would also like to thank Peter McLaren for writing the Foreword to the book. You can read of version of McLaren’s foreword to Rethinking Social Studies here: A Message to Social Studies Educators of the US in the Coming Trump Era.

Book Overview

Social studies is the most dangerous of all school subjects. Its danger, however, is a matter of perspective.

Like the schools in which it is taught, social studies is full of alluring contradictions. It harbors possibilities for inquiry and social criticism, liberation and emancipation. Social studies could be a site that enables young people to analyze and understand social issues in a holistic way – finding and tracing relations and interconnections both present and past in an effort to build meaningful understandings of a problem, its context and history; to envision a future where specific social problems are resolved; and take action to bring that vision in to existence. Social studies could be a place where students learn to speak for themselves in order to achieve, or at least strive toward an equal degree of participation and better future. Social studies could be like this, but it is not.

In practice social studies has been and continues to be profoundly conversing in nature. Social studies is the engine room of illusion factories whose primary aim is reproduction of the existing social order, where the ruling ideas exist to be memorized, regurgitated, internalized and lived by. If you don’t eat your meat, you can’t have any pudding! If you do not memorize these facts, accept these myths as truths so you can pass these exams to get those credentials, then you will not get any pudding. That is the way the world works. And good social studies teachers are here to make the meat palatable because they want everyone to be able to have some pudding.

Social studies too often teaches myths instead of encouraging critical explorations of human existence. Schools are fundamentally authoritarian, hierarchical institutions, they produce myriad oppressive and inequitable by-products and social studies is an integral component in this process.

The challenge, perhaps impossibility, is discovering ways in which schools in general and social studies in particular can contribute to positive liberty. That is a society where individuals have the power and resources to realize and fulfill their own potential, free from the obstacles of classism, racism, sexism and other inequalities encouraged by educational systems and the influence of the state and religious ideologies. A society where people have the agency and capacity to make their own free choices and act independently based on reason not authority, tradition, or dogma.

Does that sound too idealistic to you? Utopian even? I would not be surprised if it did. Many of my students (and more of my colleagues) say the same. They argue for the importance of being “realistic” or “adjusting to circumstances as they are” as if the really existing social studies classes in all their boring and socially reproductive glory are natural phenomenon beyond human capacity to change. I can understand this point of view, but cannot embrace it. You can just throw up your hands or argue for being realistic, but in the face of a world filled with injustices I do not believe sustaining the status quo is an admirable goal and neither is sustaining a social studies that offers conventional (non)explanations of the world.

In 1843, Arnold Ruge overcome with revolutionary despair, wrote a letter to Karl Marx lamenting the impossibility of revolution because the German people were too docile: “our nation has no future, so what is the point in our appealing to it?” To which Marx replied “You will hardly suggest that my opinion of the present is too exalted and if I do not despair about it, this is only because its desperate position fills me with hope.” This is an example of what philosopher Giorgio Agamben has called “the courage of hopelessness.” The courage of hopelessness is an optimistic response to pessimistic circumstances. The equivalent of responding to the criticism that you are “being too idealistic” with “be realistic, demand the impossible!”

The hegemonic system of global capitalism dominates not because people agree with it. It rules because most people are convinced “There Is No Alternative.” Indeed, as I argue in this book the dominant approach to schooling and curriculum, particularly in social studies education, is aimed at indoctrinating students into this belief.

Utopian thinking allows us to consider alternatives, such as the pedagogical imaginaries which this book explores, in attempt to open up spaces for rethinking our approaches to learning, teaching, and experiencing the world. These imaginaries are necessary because traditional tropes of social studies curriculum (e.g., democracy, voting, democratic citizenship) are essentially lies we tell ourselves and students (because democracy is incompatible with capitalism; capitalist democracy creates a shallow, spectator version of democracy at best; democracy as it operates now is inseparable from empire/perpetual war and vast social inequalities).

We certainly have plenty of fuel for our hopes. The challenge we face as social studies educators is to not warm our students’ hearts with empty hopes, but rather confront what are seemingly hopeless times for freedom and equality with a pedagogy and curriculum that come from a courage of hopelessness.

This book aims to rethink social studies so it becomes a site where students can develop personally meaningful understandings of the world and recognize they have agency to act on the world, to make change. Social studies should not be about showing life to students, but bringing them to life. The aim is not getting students to listen to entertaining lectures, but getting to speak for themselves, to understand people make their own history (even if they make it in already existing circumstances). These principles are the foundation for a new social studies, one that is not driven not by standardized curriculum or examinations, but by the perceived needs, interests, desires of our students, our communities of shared interest, and ourselves as educators.

*****

Rethinking Social Studies is organized into three parts. Part 1 – Redrawing the Lines, expands on the basic premises discussed above. Chapter 1 presents a description and critique of traditional social studies education. The chapter deconstructs the ideology of neutrality, which is frequently taught as part of social studies teacher education and examines the deleterious effects of conceiving of learning and citizenship as spectator projects. Chapter 2 presents a case study of right-wing think tank report on social studies as an example of the politics of the social studies and its connections to movement conservatism. By taking a close look at neo-conservative efforts to control the field and destroy the (at least theoretical) pluralism that has long characterized social studies we can better understand the normative nature of social studies and the inadequacy of adopting a neutral stance as social studies educators. Chapter 3, “Insurrectionist Pedagogies and the Pursuit of Dangerous Citizenship,” is in many ways the heart the book. This chapter presents an analysis of neoliberal education reforms in North America. Part of a Global Education Reform Movement (GERM), these corporate-driven reforms include three key strategies: (1) School choice and privatization; (2) human capital policies for teachers; and (3) standardized curriculum coupled with an increased use of standardized testing. The idea of “dangerous citizenship” is presented as a possible antidote to the stultifying effects of GERM on the freedom to think, learn, and teach social studies outside of a hegemonic worldview that is authoritarian and harbours racially, sexually, and class-based discriminatory traditions. Various possibilities for creative disruption of dominant assumptions and practices of social studies teaching and curriculum are presented as imaginaries for what might become insurgent pedagogies that foster dangerous citizenship.

The chapters in Part 2 ­– Social Education for Critical Knowledge for Everyday Life explore questions such as: What is the social justice? Chapter 4 takes a look at the relationship of social justice and power and argues that social justice requires much more that adopting a new vocabulary and socially and culturally inclusive curricula, rather it requires a revolution of everyday life.

Chapter 3 asks, What is critical pedagogy? Then takes a critical look at an approach that is filled with contradictions and too often comes across as either a theory-laden field for left wing academics or a radical idea that is domesticated by liberal teachers and teacher educators, or both. The chapter emphases the importance of everyday life and becoming as part of what it means to practice critical pedagogy.

Why is class an invisible concept in social studies? What would social studies look like if we put class at the center of the curriculum? Chapter 6, “Why Teaching Class Matters” describes both the invisibility of class in the social studies curriculum (and research) and presents an example of how class can be (and is) used as the organizing concept for a high school American Studies course. Chapter 7 analyzes the American empire – making connections between politics, foreign policy and the economy to illustrate the really existing class war in the United States (and the world) – as the context for the political and pedagogical project that is teaching and organizing for social change.

In an era marked by regimented curriculum, bureaucratic outcomes-based accountability systems, and corporatized educational aims, how do you keep your ideals and still teach? The answer to this question is multifaceted, but as argued in Chapter 8, there are at least two necessary, if insufficient responses. First, working in opposition to the mainstream of educational practice requires a question-posing approach. Secondly, collaborative thought and action are crucial to understanding and transformation of educational practices and social relations. Two counterstories are presented in this chapter. The first is based on the individual perspectives of two novice teachers. The second is the counterstory of a collective known as the Rouge Forum.

I often ask the social studies teachers to write about and examine the beliefs that inform their practice as educators. This task is useful in unearthing unstated assumptions that underlie our classroom practices and broader beliefs regarding the role of schools in society and reasons we teach what we teach. In Chapter 9, I have taken my own assignment and completed it, presenting a “my pedagogical creed” (based on the framework of John Dewey’s famously titled article). My hope is that you will be inspired to write your own pedagogical creed as a way analyzing and gaining insight into your practice as a social studies educator.

Part 3 – Beyond the Classroom, extends some themes from earlier in the book and provides an overview of key ideas found in Parts 1 and 2 (plus a few new ones). Democracy within the social studies curriculum is too often presented in its most weak and superficial form, that is, as process of electing of representatives and the functions of government. I say, “don’t vote, engage politics!” and Chapter 10 presents one approach to political engagement, writing for popular media. Chapter 11 is my own “educational autobiography,” another assignment I ask my students to complete, this activity aims to make sense of our current assumptions, thinking, and practices as educators by historicizing and analyzing their preconditions. The idea is that if we can better understand the sources of our present thinking and practice we can then better understand our present circumstances and more clearly envision how what we think and do today can help us achieve our goals in the future. The book closes with an interview conducted by Carlo Fanelli in which I discuss a wide-range of topics, including corporate education reform, critical pedagogy, and educational and politic activism. In many ways this interview is an overview and summary of ideas from the previous chapters.

*****

As researcher, teacher, book and journal editor I have had the privilege and honour to collaborate with many fine educators and scholars. When considering my work it is impossible to separate ideas and accomplishments that could be described as my own from those that are the result of collaboration with others. Mark Twain said,

“There is no such thing as a new idea. It is impossible. We simply take a lot of old ideas and put them into a sort of mental kaleidoscope. We give them a turn and they make new and curious combinations. We keep on turning and making new combinations indefinitely; but they are the same old pieces of coloured glass that have been in use through all the ages.”

Twain is right, but only up to a point. If we continue to manipulate that kaleidoscope at some point we will witness something entirely new, yet carrying forward aspects of what it was. We can understand and change the world and in the process we create ourselves anew. This is what I have experienced in my collaborative relationships with others and it is important for me to acknowledge those folks who contributed to who I am today as a person, a teacher, and a scholar.

This book emphases my collaborations with Kevin D. Vinson, Perry Marker, Rich Gibson, and Gregg Queen.

Kevin and I have had a long and fruitful collaboration as writing partners, but most importantly as friends. I came to now him when he submitted an manuscript to a journal I was editing and I like it so much I had to call him up and talk about it. That was, of course, back in the day when people actually called each other on the phone. Our interests and thinking has been so intertwined over the years that each of us has written pieces then given the other credit for writing. We allowed ourselves the conceit that our relationship was not unlike Lennon and McCartney, without the hits.

Perry and I met as graduate students when Ohio State University and Indiana University regularly held colloquia for social studies students and faculty, since then we have worked together on nearly twenty presentations, articles, and journal issues. Perry’s work as a social studies teacher educator and curriculum scholar is the exemplar of critical, democratic praxis and I have long admired his dedication to both the ideals of democracy and his students, but most of all I appreciate his friendship, particularly his willingness to engage with me in spirited discussions of politics and baseball, which are often fuelled by bourbon whiskey.

I was chairing the question and answer part of a conference session when this fellow wearing a black leather jacket stood up and asked a question that pulled the rug out from under the assumptions of all the prior presentations. Afterwards, I chased the guy down and found out his name was Rich Gibson and soon learned he was a full-time troublemaker and revolutionary. We began working together almost immediately, helping to found the Rouge Forum and writing articles for newspapers, political and academic journals, co-editing books and journals. He has been my mentor on Marx, martial arts, spaghetti westerns, revolution, and all things Detroit (and I reciprocate by sharing obscure blues, R & B, and rockabilly recordings with him).

Greg Queen is Rich’s former graduate student and in my mind he is one of the most unique and accomplished high school social studies teachers ever. He has provided leadership for social change in his community and nationally as the Community Coordinator for the Rouge Forum. His teaching embodies a critical, revolutionary spirit and he has been honoured for his dedication to teaching against the grain with the National Council for the Social Studies’ defence of academic freedom award. Greg does what most social studies teachers are afraid to do, objectively teach the unvarnished truth of United States history. When my students say nobody can teach that way and keep their job, Greg is the person I point to.

The influences of Kevin, Perry, Rich, and Greg are easy enough to spot in the pages of this book, but I must acknowledge a number of others who have influenced my thinking and practice as an educator. As a social studies educator I am deeply indebted to my professors, particularly Richard C. Phillips (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill) and M. Eugene Gilliom (The Ohio State University) and my teachers at Independence High School in Charlotte, NC, the epitome, in a curricular sense, of the “shopping mall” high school.

I have learned much from many superb colleagues in the field of social studies education, including: Ceola Ross Baber, Jane Bernard-Powers, Jeffrey W. Cornett, Margaret Smith Crocco, Abraham DeLeon, Ronald W. Evans, Stephen C. Fleury, Four Arrows (aka Don T. Jacobs), Todd Hawley, Neil O. Houser, Gregg Jorgensen, Joseph Kahne, Gloria Ladson-Billings, Christopher R. Leahey, Merry Merryfield, Jack L. Nelson, Nel Noddings, Paul Orlowski, Valerie Ooka Pang, Marc Pruyn, Doug Selwyn, Özlem Sensoy, Walter Werner, Joel Westheimer, and Michael Whelan.

It has been a privilege to collaborate with many great scholars on a variety of projects including, Derek Ford, David Gabbard, David W. Hursh, Kathleen Kesson, Johnny Lupinacci, Curry Stephenson Malott, Gail McCutcheon, Stephen Petrina, Ken Saltman, Patrick Shannon, Larry Stedman, Ken Teitelbaum, John F. Welsh, and Mark Wolfmeyer.

All the people in, and around, The Rouge Forum have continued to be a huge inspiration to me as a scholar, teacher, and activist, most especially Brad Porfilio, Faith Agostinone Wilson, Gina Steins, Bryan Reinholdt, Joe Wegwert, Amber Goslee, Dennis Carlson, Peter McLaren, and Adam Renner (1970-2010).

Colin and Rachel continue to make me a proud father. And, as always, the person who provides my life with love, happiness, and excitement is Sandra Mathison.

Table of Contents
Foreword, Peter McLaren.
Acknowledgments.
Preface.
Permissions.
PART I: REDRAWING THE LINES
CHAPTER 1: Redrawing the Lines: The Case Against Traditional Social Studies Instruction.
CHAPTER 2: If Social Studies Is Wrong, I Don’t Want to Be Right (with Perry Marker). CHAPTER 3: Insurrectionist Pedagogies and the Pursuit of Dangerous Citizenship (with Kevin D. Vinson).
PART II: SOCIAL EDUCATION AND CRITICAL KNOWLEDGE FOR EVERYDAY LIFE
CHAPTER 4: Social Studies Requires a Revolution of Everyday Life.
CHAPTER 5: Broadening the Circle of Critical Pedagogy.
CHAPTER 6: Why Teaching Class Matters (with Gregg Queen).
CHAPTER 7: Education for Class Consciousness (with Rich Gibson).
CHAPTER 8: How Do I Keep My Ideals and Still Teach (with Rich Gibson, Greg Queen, and Kevin D. Vinson).
CHAPTER 9: Teaching for Change: Social Education and Critical Knowledge for Everyday Life.
PART III: BEYOND THE CLASSROOM
CHAPTER 10: Social Studies as Public Pedagogy: Engaging Social Issues in the Media. CHAPTER 11: A Sense of Where You Are.
CHAPTER 12: Critical Education and Insurgent Pedagogies: An Interview With E. Wayne Ross.
About the Author.