We delve deeper into the status of critical pedagogy in hybrid and online teaching. The transition to remote modalities raises many issues: surveillance of students and teachers, the reproduction of capital for private tech corporations, issues of course adaptation, and the accessibility of online formats. What does a concept like “radical hope” actually mean in the context in which we find ourselves?
Reading the Word and the World: A Conversation with Shirley Steinberg
Act 1: Teaching as Bricolage
Prof. Shirley Steinberg speaks with us amid a global pandemic. For some of us, this pandemic has exposed what we already new about neoliberal higher education: the proliferation of the banking model of education, top-down power relations, undemocratic classrooms and departments, etc. In her work in critical pedagogy, Steinberg has long been challenging and resisting the status quo.
Act 2: Righteous Indignation for Change
Steinberg talks further about the Freirean foundations of her education theory and practice. She calls on teachers and students to live out righteous indignation in our educational systems and how to create resistance and change. “We have to be in stealth,” says Steinberg, and shed light on how our institutions have failed us. Steinberg finds it important to listen to students, and to engage with youth culture, in order to lead collegially with them.
About this Episode:
For our May 2020 podcast we are pleased to talk with another icon in critical pedagogy, Prof. Shirley Steinberg. She is the Werklund Research Professor of Critical Youth Studies at the University of Calgary, Canada. Steinberg embodies Paulo Freire’s dictum of “reading the word and the world,” as is evidenced in her work in youth and cultural and media studies, anti-imperial education, constructivist theory, qualitative research, critical diversity studies, refugee studies, combatting Islamophobia, and more.
Steinberg lives out her research with her global and local work, in particular with refugees and youth. With her late partner Joe Kincheloe, Steinberg co-founded The Paulo and Nita Freire International Project of Critical Pedagogy which deals with “critical, cultural community, youth and media activism,” and she serves as the Executive Director. She is the founding editor of the journal Taboo: The Journal of Culture and Education and The International Journal of Youth Studies, and is on the board of The International Journal of Critical Pedagogy. She is the author of numerous books and articles in the field of critical pedagogy.
Steinberg is the recipient of many awards, including the Paulo Freire Lifetime Achievement Award for Social Justice and Education (from the American Educational Research Association, 2011). We talked to Prof. Steinberg in the midst of a global pandemic. For some of us, this pandemic has exposed what we already new about neoliberal higher education: the proliferation of the banking model of education, top-down power relations, undemocratic classrooms and departments, etc. In her work in critical pedagogy, Steinberg has long been challenging and resisting the status quo.
Act 1: Of Decolonization and its Metaphors
Prof Yang writes in A Third University is Possible, “To be very clear, I am not advocating for rescuing the university from its own neoliberal desires but rather for assembling decolonizing machines, to plug the university into decolonizing assemblages.” In Act 1, we talk to him about how he came to the work of radical teaching, the circulation of his scholarship beyond the academy, and the wide reverberations of his co-written (with Eve Tuck) article “Decolonization Is Not a Metaphor.”
Act 2: A Third University Is Always Happening
The University of California San Diego is on Kumeyaay land. The chancellor’s house is on an indigenous burial ground. How do universities move beyond guilt and toward a rematriation of the land? How do we teach, and train teachers, in these places with such violent history? How do we live and teach sustainably on this land? Yang, as his avatar la paperson, believes “a third university is possible. We talk about it in Act 2.
About this Episode:
K. Wayne Yang is a scholar and organizer whose work transforms lines between these domains, and—we think we can say with confidence—spurs his many readers to engage in that same project. With over 15 years of experience as a high school teacher in Oakland, CA and as a current professor of ethnic studies at UC San Diego, Prof. Yang employs multiple qualitative methodologies in his research and activism, from youth participatory action research, to ethnographies of youth popular culture, to ethnographies of central administration, to critical cartographic methods. His work on settler-colonialism and ghetto colonialism within university initiatives to liberal so-called “community engagement” have been particularly powerful in calling educators to methods of refusal that “make transparent the metanarrative of knowledge production” and which “generate territories that colonial knowledge endeavors to settle, enclose, domesticate” (to quote the article “Unbecoming Claims” co-written with Eve Tuck).
Alongside and inseparable from his published work, Prof. Yang is the co-founder of nonprofit youth development organization Avenues Project and the co-founder of East Oakland Community School. He is the author (under the avatar la paperson) of A Third University is Possible (2017) and, with Eve Tuck, Yang has completed an edited book Youth Resistance Research and Theories of Change. His current book manuscript Organizing the Common Sense: Popular Culture and School Reform examines strategies for organizing in three educational landscapes—youth, community, and bureaucracy.
“Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” — Frederick Douglass
In Part Two Scott describes ways of integrating the community (university, city, state, nation) with the classroom. Students are citizens, with power, who have the knowledge and tools to change public policy. Students determine the issues they want to work on.
Act 1, Young People as Citizens
Tina and Lucia speak to Dr. Beth Corrie, Associate Professor in the Practice of Youth Education and Peacebuilding and Director of the Youth Theological Initiative (2007-2019) at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University. We talk about her transformational work on the page and the classroom and in mentoring relationships with young adults has helped empower countless people to emerge as leaders in their communities and live out commitments to peace and justice.
Act 2, The Practice of Transforming Power
In Act 2 Lucia and Tina talk with Beth about her Freirean model of sharing power with youth. Beth shares the practices of deliberative pedagogy and the ways that youth and staff in the Youth Theological Initiative faced difficult social and communal issues with transparency, mutual accountability, and intentionality.