Challenging the Illusions of Higher Education: A Plea for Meaning and Connection in the Anthropocene
Call for Submissions
For this edited volume we seek submissions that explore the complex contradictions between the ideals of what higher education students supposedly learn (and what educators supposedly teach), simplified by the umbrella notion of ‘critical thinking’, and the prevailing realities, also simplified by the umbrella notion of what we refer to as ‘content memorization’. We recognize that these pedagogical ‘ideals’ and ‘realities’ are on a dynamic spectrum upon which their ‘practices’ overlap as much as they are oppositional. That said mere content memorization was best labeled by Paulo Freier in The Pedagogy of the Oppressed (1972) as the “banking method” of education. Simply put, the banking method is the process whereby faculty ‘deposit’ information into students, who then later ‘withdraw’ the information when needed for exams and other faculty directed assessment measures. As Freier states of students subjected to this pedagogical method , “The more completely they accept the passive role imposed on them, the more they tend simply to adapt to the world as it is and to the fragmented view of reality deposited in them” (60). This process of ‘adaptation’, as identified by Freier, becomes increasingly problematic, not just because it fails to promote authentic critical thinking and embodied critical practice, equaling what Freier refers to as conscientization, but because such individual and collective complacency to the status quo only furthers humanity’s entry into the Anthopocene era . The Anthopocene is the emerging era of anthopogenic climate change and what is being referred to as the sixth extinction. Therefore, we seek entries that creatively explore and challenge this process of ‘adaptation’, as it plays out in the increasingly technologically based illusion of higher education, while putting forth pedagogical alternatives that do promote authentic critical thinking and embodied critical practice - conscientization- in the quest for more complex collective meanings and intimacies, against the backdrop of the Anthopocene. It is from the collaborative practices of such alternative pedagogies, both within classrooms and communities, that we are creating not just innovative and interrelational pedagogies within higher education but more saliently new socially just possibilities that are ecologically and socially grounded for collective and interrelational resiliency.
We seek submissions from academics, activists, students (undergraduate/graduate, high school or recently graduated), parents, community members and anyone else who wishes to explore within this framing either their experiences as a teacher, as a learner and/or as both . Submissions can be written in a variety of styles including more traditionally academic, as well as first person narrative, as well as verse and poetry..
Topics to focus on while engaging with our larger goal can include but are not limited to:
*Questions as to the purposes of teaching / learning from the perspective of the Anthopocene, possibly including, but not limited to, critical pedagogy / critical feminist pedagogy / critical race pedagogy / Latino critical race pedagogy / critical queer pedagogy / critical indigenous pedagogy / holistic, engaged, progressive, democratic pedagogy / ecopedagogy …etc.
* Negotiating differences as broadly defined such as issues of race, social class, gender, sex, sexuality, abilities …etc both as educators and as learners and how different pedagogical methods can both enhance and transcend divisions
*The creative and reflexive pursuit of self and collective knowledge for both teachers and learners as part of the pedagogical process
* Dealing with, allowing for and encouraging meaningful ideological conflicts within teachers and learners, between teachers and learners, between teachers, learners and institutions, between learners and learners..etc
* Questions as to how ‘embodied critical thinking’ is defined in relation to the concepts and practice of social justice, equality, democracy and freedom, within the context of social and ecological resiliency
* The role of embodied contemplative / spiritual practice for both teachers / learners in helping to develop more integrated and compassionate individuals / communitites
* Explorations as to how the geography of the classroom, the perceived divisions between social and natural space, the physical presence or not of community members all influence the pedagogical practices
* Education which places ecological and socio-emotional balance and ‘just sustainability’ firmly at the center of the goals of education, regardless of subject-matter.
* Practices which involve multisensory, and specifically non-visual consciousness
* Educational practices which involve the body and heart intelligence as means to promote both personal and social well-being
* Practices which question and move beyond humanist-anthropocentric premises regarding the purpose of education as human freedom, whether involving ecological or spiritual orientations, and which engage interrelational /across species learning
* Indigenized education which includes study/practice of key aspects of indigenous societies including but not limited to: gift economics, animist and spiritualized cosmologies, life force energy, an ethics of relatedness (vs individualism), historical study of the trauma of ‘development,’ intuitive forms of knowing, a sacred connection to people and place.
*Reflections on / critiques of the pitfalls and woundings experienced from ‘banking methods’ / oppressive pedagogies both on the part of teachers and learners
Other topics that fit under our scope of interest…
Send comments and questions to H-Net
Webstaff. H-Net reproduces announcements that have been submitted to us as a
free service to the academic community. If you are interested in an announcement
listed here, please contact the organizers or patrons directly. Though we strive
to provide accurate information, H-Net cannot accept responsibility for the text of
announcements appearing in this service. (Administration)