Tag Archives: history education

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)

Be Realistic Demand the Impossible: A Rejoinder to Peter Seixas [updated with video]

“Be Realistic Demand the Impossible”[1]

Rejoinder to Peter Siexas’s
Dangerous indeed: A response to E. Wayne Ross’ ‘Courage of hopelessness’

University of British Columbia
Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy
Seminar Series: Diverse Perspectives on Curriculum & Pedagogy

February 26, 2016

1. The “courage of hopelessness” is, perhaps ironically, an optimistic position.

The publicity blurbs for Peter’s talk stated that he would offer “a way to steer a course between the two closely related traps of hopelessness and utopianism.” This is a misreading of my use of the term “courage of hopelessness,” which is a position of some great optimism.

[Read the text of my January 15, 2016 seminar “The Courage of Hopelessness: Democratic Education in the Age of Empire.” Watch video my talk here. Watch Seixas talk, my response and Q&A with audience below.]

2. Utopia – “Be realistic demand the impossible”

We need Utopia / utopian thought more than ever because we live in a time without alternatives when neoliberal capitalism reins triumphant and uncontested.

[This circumstance is captured in Margaret Thatcher’s declarations: “There is no alternative” and “there is no such thing as society.” The latter of which was embodied in Stephen Harper’s refusal to “commit sociology,” which was an ideological attempt to prevent the identification of and responses to structural injustices that result from capitalism.]

The so-called global free market works well for the One Percent, but not for rest of humanity. In my talk, I provided some examples of the ways in which capitalism trumps democracy (pun intended).

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 have argued, 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 I presented in my January seminar, in attempt to open up spaces for rethinking our approaches to learning, teaching, and experiencing the world. And these imaginaries are necessary because traditional tropes of social studies curriculum (e.g., democracy, voting, democratic citizenship) are essentially lies we tell to ourselves and our 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).

Stephen Duncombe argues that Utopia is politically necessary even for people who do not desire an alternative society,

“Thoughtful politics depend upon debate and without someone or something to disagree with there is no meaningful dialogue, only an echo chamber…Without a vision of an alternative future, we can only look backwards nostalgically to the past, or unthinkingly maintain what we have, mired in the unholy apocalypse that is now.”

3. The Nature of Method or Inquiry

I believe the key question to be posed in social studies and one that history can help us answer is “why are things as are they are?”

[Marx’s method, dialectics, is a tool that does not necessarily require a Marxist politics or practice (class struggle), see for example the dialectical approaches of individualist libertarians Chris Sciabarra and John F. Welsh.]

What we understand about the world is determined by what the world is, who we are, and how we conduct our inquiries.

Things change. Everything in the world is changing and interacting. When studying social issues we should begin by challenging the commonsense ideas of society or particular social issues as a “thing” and consider the processes and relationships that make up what we think of as society or a social issue, which includes its history and possible futures.

Inquiries into social issues help us understand how things change and also contribute to change.

In understanding social issues and how things change it helps to “abstract” or start with “concrete reality” and break it down. Abstraction is like using camera lenses with different focal lengths: a zoom lens to bring a distant object into focus (what is the history of this?) or using a wide-angle lens to capture more of a scene (what is the social context of the issue now?)

This approach raises important questions: where does one start and what does one look for? The traditional approach to inquiry starts with small parts and attempts to establish connections with other parts leading to an understanding of the larger whole. Beginning with the whole, the system, or as much as we understand of it, and then inquiring into the part or parts of it to see how it fits and functions leads to a fuller understanding of the whole.

Analysis of present conditions is necessary, but insufficient. The problem is that reality is more than appearances and focusing on appearances, the face value of evidence from our immediate surroundings, can be misleading.

How do we think adequately about social issues, giving issues the attention and weight they deserve, without the distorting them? We can expand our notion of a social issue (or anything for that matter) to include, as aspects of what it is, both the process by which the issue has come to life and the broader interactive context in which it is found. In this way, the study of a social issue involves us in the study of its history (the preconditions and connections to the past) and the encompassing system.

Remembering, “things change,” provokes us to move beyond analyzing current conditions and historicizing social issues, to project probable or possible futures. In other words, our inquiry leads to the creation of visions of possible futures.

This process of inquiry, then, changes the way we think about a social issue in the here and now (change moves in spirals, not circles) in that we can now look for preconditions of a future in the present and use them to develop political strategies (i.e., organize for change).

4. The School and “Social Progress”

The fundamental parts of human nature include a need for creative work, for creative inquiry, for free creation without the arbitrary limiting effects of coercive institutions.

Schools are continually threatened because they are autocratic and they are autocratic because they are threatened—from within by students and critical parents and from without by various and disparate social, political, and economic interests. These conditions divide teachers from students and community and shape teachers’ attitudes, beliefs, and action.

Teachers then, are crucial to any effort to improve, reform, or revolutionize curriculum, instruction, or schools. The transformation of schools must begin with the teachers, and no program that does not include the personal and collective rehabilitation of teachers can ever overcome the passive resistance of the old order.

Schools should places that enable people to analyze and understand social problems; envision a future without those problems; and take action to bring that vision in to existence.

Social progress is enhanced when we rewrite the narrative of the triumphant individual working within the system into a story of the creation of self-critical communities of educators in schools (and people in society) working collaboratively toward transformative outcomes.

People who talk about transformational learning or educational revolution without referring explicitly to everyday life, without understanding what is subversive about learning, and love, and what is positive in the refusal of constraints, are trapped in a net of received ideas, the common-nonsense and false reality of technocrats (or worse).

Schools are alluring contradictions, harboring possibilities for liberation, emancipation, and social progress, but, as fundamentally authoritarian and hierarchical institutions, they produce myriad oppressive and inequitable by-products. The challenge, perhaps impossibility, is discovering ways in which schools 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.

[1] These remarks were presented immediately following Seixas’ presentation and prepared without the opportunity to read the text of his talk in advance. As a result, they are based upon the abstract circulated prior to his seminar and my understanding of Seixas’ perspective based upon his published work and our interactions as faculty members at UBC.

Video of Seixas presentation, Ross response and Q&A with audience (February 26, 2016):

Peter Seixas talk: Dangerous indeed: A response to Wayne Ross’ “Courage of hopelessness”

Date: Friday, February 26th 2016
Venue: Scarfe Room 310
Time: 12:30 – 2:00 p.m.
Title: Dangerous indeed: A response to Wayne Ross’ “Courage of hopelessness”
Speaker: Dr. Peter Seixas, Professor, EDCP

Light lunch served at noon outside Scarfe room 310. The Lecture commences at 12:30 pm. There is no need to RSVP.

Abstract:
Yes, yes, the past gets in the way; it trips us up, bogs us down; it complicates, makes difficult. But to ignore this is folly, because, above all, what history teaches us is to avoid illusion and make-believe, to lay aside dreams, moonshine, cure-alls, wonder-workings, pie-in-the-sky—to be realistic.
–Tom Crick, the history teacher, in Graham Swift’s Waterland, p. 108

In his EDCP Seminar on January 15, Dr. Wayne Ross challenged commonplace notions of schools, teacher education, the subject of social studies, democracy and freedom. In this talk (text, video, powerpoint), I review the arguments and confront them as a colleague—in the department, in social studies education, and in the project of educating teachers for British Columbia schools. As the basis of my critique, I offer a theoretical framework through the concept of “historical agency,” which calls attention to the abilities of people to act individually and collectively to shape the course of history, as well as the limitations on those abilities. It offers a way to steer a course between the two closely related traps of hopelessness and utopianism. I sketch its utility specifically in relation to 1) understanding our own social and political situation, 2) thinking about the role of schools and teachers in democratic societies, 3) developing useful curriculum and pedagogy in Canada today, 4) educating student teachers in the Faculty of Education, and 5) conducting educational research that matters.

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