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Learning for Meaning's Sake

Toward the Hermeneutic University

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Stephanie Mackler

Universities, and the societies they serve, suffer from a crisis of meaning: We have fanatically developed our ability to produce knowledge, leaving our ability to craft meaning by the wayside. University graduates often have an abundance of knowledge but lack the wisdom to use it meaningfully. Meanwhile, people inside and outside academia are searching for meaning but are imprisoned in a lexicon of clichés and sound bites that stunts their quest.
In response, Learning for Meaning’s Sake begins with the assertion that higher education in the 21st century should renounce its obsession with job training and knowledge production and should, instead, turn toward questions of meaning. Drawing upon a diverse range of philosophical thought, Learning for Meaning’s Sake offers the vision and philosophical foundation for a new type of higher learning-one that is devoted to the existential questions at the core of human existence.

Multiple Literacies Theory

A Deleuzian Perspective

Edited by Diana Masny and David R. Cole

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Edited by Bernadette Baker

Rereading the historical record indicates that it is no longer so easy to argue that history is simply prior to its forms. Since the mid-1990s a new wave of research has formed around wider debates in the humanities and social sciences, such as decentering the subject, new analytics of power, reconsideration of one-dimensional time and three-dimensional space, attention to beyond-archival sources, alterity, Otherness, the invisible, and more. In addition, broader and contradictory impulses around the question of the nation - transnational, post-national, proto-national, and neo-national movements—have unearthed a new series of problematics and focused scholarly attention on traveling discourses, national imaginaries, and less formal processes of socialization, bonding, and subjectification. New Curriculum History challenges prior occlusions in the field, building upon and departing from previous waves of scholarship, extending the focus beyond the insularity of public schooling, the traditional framework of the self-contained nation-state, and the psychology of the schooled individual. Drawing on global studies, historical sociology, postcolonial studies, critical race theory, visual culture theory, disability studies, psychoanalytics, Cambridge school structuralisms, poststructuralisms, and infra- and transnational approaches the volume holds together not despite but because of differences and incommensurabilities in rereading historical records.

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Tony Gibbons

The word ‘reflect’ appears in curriculum documents, in texts, in proposals, and in plans. No proposal appears complete without the word. To reflect is evidently a good thing, but what does it mean? It is not just being reasonable. Without a grasp of what it means to reflect how is it possible to implement the proposals and plans? This book tackles the problem of what it is to reflect. In doing so it examines the importance of reflection for a flourishing human being and its place in two major areas of human thought and education—science and ethics. Science is essentially a reflective activity and the teaching and development of science must acknowledge this. The acquisition and practice of the virtues is also essentially a reflective activity as is evident in both the Aristotelian and the Confucian traditions. To be prudent, for instance, is to be reflective. The teaching of science and the learning of the virtues depend upon the development of the capacity to reflect. Reflection appears to be an activity that is distinctive of human beings. This book will be of interest to teachers and those responsible for the administration and development of education, whether it be primary, secondary or tertiary. It also has something to say to anyone who is responsible for planning for the future. And, as we all do that, it has something to say to all of us.
Tony Gibbons is an adjunct Senior Lecturer at the University of South Australia. After teaching science and mathematics in UK secondary schools, he trained teachers at Colleges in the UK before moving to South Australia where he taught Philosophy. Having qualified in law he appeared as a barrister in refugee cases both in Australia and overseas during the 1990s, before returning to Philosophy, in particular, virtue ethics.

Teacher Assemblage

International Perspectives

P. Taylor Webb

Teacher Assemblage is a groundbreaking report in the tradition of fieldwork in philosophy, using Michel Foucault’s and Gilles Deleuze’s ideas to better understand how accountability policy affected teachers. The case study examines different vectors of power and demonstrates how teachers interacted with each other, and interacted with their immediate policy environments. This unique book provides readers with grounded insights into Foucault’s and Deleuze’s ideas by paying close attention to the macro- and micro- political worlds of schools as teachers struggle with new forms of performance accountability. The book illustrates ideas of power, politics, and policy with a unique use of surrealist art to illustrate the philosophical ideas at play in the case study. The book will have a wide appeal to teachers, teacher educators, educational researchers, policy and curriculum scholars, art aficionados, and those interested in the thoughts of Michel Foucault and Gilles Deleuze.

Teaching Democracy

Citizenship Education as Critical Pedagogy

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Emery J. Hyslop-Margison and James Thayer

As we move forward well into the 21st century most citizens around the globe seemingly accept the rudiments of a democratic citizenship. And yet in spite of this broad acceptance, a clear articulation of what democratic citizenship entails remains somewhat elusive. In this book, Hyslop-Margison and Thayer achieve two critically important objectives in response to this problem. First, they successfully articulate the threat to democracy posed by current citizenship education programs that adopt a largely instrumental framework fostering passivity and compliance by protecting the established parameters of neo-liberal social design. Second, they show a way out of this anti-democratic trap by illustrating how critical theory, with its marvelous ability to provide trenchant critiques of capitalism and turn those critiques into concrete political action, provides the ideal pedagogical approach to educate our students effectively as future democratic citizens. The authors critique the conditions of modern democratic citizenship and distinguish a robust, or thick, version of citizenship based on citizen agency and participation in the construction of social reality from contemporary models that undermine citizen engagement. They contend that it is only through critical theory and the political agency it inspires that meaningful democratic change can and must occur. Hence, the role of education in their view is not merely to prepare students for a new economic reality, but to prepare them instead to shape that reality in more progressive and socially just ways. This book eloquently argues that the citizenship mission of schools ought to teach students what is possible rather than simply objectifying them as human capital being prepared for the inevitable impact of the policies determined by others.

Unrepentant Radical Educator

The writings of John Gerassi, edited and with interviews by Tony Monchinski

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Edited by Tony Monchinski and John Gerassi

“I trust no one more than Gerassi to make me understand America,”
Jean-Paul Sartre
Unrepentant Critical Pedagogy encompasses the life, times, and activism of John ‘Tito’ Gerassi. A lifelong political animal and radical educator, Tito has lived his critical pedagogy on the barricades and front lines of the Movement; as a newsman for Time, Newsweek, and The New York Times; as a blacklisted professor exiled in Europe; as a Korean War Green Beret; as best selling author of The Great Fear in Latin America and nine other books. Major historical figures in Tito’s life include Herbert Marcuse and Michel Foucault, Che Guevara and the Black Panthers, Simone deBeauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre, and his own father, the artist and Spanish Civil War Republican General Fernando Gerassi. Unrepentant Critical Pedagogy gathers together a collection of previously unpublished and out of print essays and articles by Tito. There are also three new interviews with John Gerassi by Tony Monchinski examining Tito’s life, his time in the Movement, and his critical pedagogy.

Obsoleting Culture

Educational Conscience after Willy Loman

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Matthew S. Rosin

As we rush headlong into the technological and disruptive world of global capitalism, the American Dream has become increasingly a story about education and learning. This contemporary myth tells that the individual can succeed if she acquires the proper dispositions, knowledge and technical know-how throughout her life. Those who fall into obsolescence do so as a consequence of educational failure.
Obsoleting Culture draws from such diverse fields as philosophy of education, sociology, anthropology, cultural studies and journalism to explore the heavy burdens this contemporary myth places on the self. Through a close reading of one of the greatest American plays of the twentieth century, Obsoleting Culture considers “learning” as the name we give to the struggle to achieve value, relevance and a place in the future plans of others.

Alternative Educational Futures

Pedagogies for Emergent Worlds

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Edited by Marcus Bussey, Sohail Inayatullah and Ivana Milojević

We desperately need the dynamic revolution in education that this book offers us, reflecting the new ways of thinking and being on this planet that will permit us to live in peace as a global family even through massive climate changes. Read it and put these ideas into practice as quickly as possible in any ways you can!” —Elisabet Sahtouris, Evolutionary biologist and futurist, author of EarthDance: Living Systems in Evolution

Decolonizing Democratic Education

Trans-disciplinary Dialogues

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Edited by Ali A. Abdi and George Richardson

The essays in this edited collection open up a hopeful dialogue about the existing state of democratic education and the ways in which it could be re-imagined as an inclusive, democratized space of possibility and engagement. Proceeding from a critique that questions the dominance of Western liberal understandings of democratic education as a series of rational, culturally neutral acts undertaken by individuals who conceive of democracy and ‘the common good’ in universalist and fundamentally exclusionary terms, the contributors give voice to those whose ideas, histories, cultures and current understanding of the world is not highlighted in the dominant relationships of schooling.
From a variety of theoretical and pragmatic approaches, the chapters in this collection engage the dialectics of history, power, colonization and decolonization, identity, memory, citizenship, Aboriginal rights, development and globalization, all in the context of providing a critique of educational systems, relations, structures and curricula that seem badly in need of reform. While the contributors who have diverse scholarly interests are not in a direct dialogue with one another, their different foci should, nevertheless, inter-topically inform each other. The book should interest students and researchers in the general foundations of education, democracy and education, citizenship education, comparative and international education, postcolonial studies in education, and cultural studies in education.