Oral Presentation Session
Reviewed by: Council on Anthropology and Education
Of interest to: Practicing and Applied Anthropologists, Teachers of Anthropology in Community Colleges
Primary Theme: Resistance
Secondary Theme: Identity and Equity
Given the current climate of hate, misogyny and white supremacy since our last presidential election it is imperative that we implement pedagogies that promote resistance to this overarching hostility and perhaps even fascism. However, bids to do so remain overwhelming in the face of push back to our initiatives.
This session will document our attempts at generating pedagogies of resistance as well as the resistance we face in reaction to our efforts. The focus of the panel is on studying cultures of activism generated through pedagogical initiatives ranging from challenging white privilege among communities to facilitating student responses to various “isms” on campus and in society as well as neoliberalism, militancy and militarization across the US and globally. Turning the gaze on ourselves, how do we implement classroom practices and curricular processes to not only develop critical consciousness among students and community members but inspire them to translate that consciousness into action that promotes social justice in general but also includes activism on campus and in specific communities? Our approach remains inspired by Freirean notions of education, but we use these ideas from a critical perspective given that these notions do not take into account that what students might bring to the classroom are identities of privilege and complicity with oppressive thought, action and structures (Torres, 2003).
We use field journals and ethnographic interviews to address the following questions: What are the outcomes we envision as we construct our pedagogies as resistance or activism? What ideologies do we draw upon as we prepare to implement such processes or knowledge? What mechanisms do we employ during the actual pedagogical experiences? What obstacles or hurdles do we encounter during our implementation initiatives? What are examples of how we address or tackle these obstacles or hurdles? What are some examples of our successes and our failures? How do we measure or assess the outcome of our efforts?
This session contributes to learning about cultures of education and educational enterprises that facilitate activism and resistance to hegemonic practices and discourses. It emphasizes how ethnographer educators can be agents of change. It contributes to the anthropology of education by bringing in critical and feminist pedagogical thinking into its purview. Scholars have been writing about pedagogies of resistance for a while (for example, Giroux, 1983, 2003; Freisinger, 1994; Trifonas, 2000; McLaren, 2001; Kirlyo, 2013; Casey, 2016). Examples of scholarship that actually research how pedagogies of resistance can be put into practice have started to appear but they remain few and far between (for example, Joseph et al., 2016; Miller & Tolliver, 2017). Furthermore, these examples of research do not utilize systematic anthropological methodology nor do they effectively contextualize pedagogical exercises within structural analyses or examine constraints to educational initiatives. Our session will fill a gap by providing such exemplars of research. We look forward to raising questions about pedagogies of resistance and their effectiveness through our enactment of self-reflexivity (Lather, 1991).