Friday, July 13, 2007

“Creating an Open Scholarly Archive on Paulo Freire”


Presenter: Joe Kincheloe, McGill University

Time: 9:40 - 10:40 AM July 13, 2007

Place: SFUHC Fletcher Challenge Theatre


Joe Kincheloe defined Critical Pedagogy - as the interdisciplinary field of study that focuses on the social, cultural and political features of schooling - and spoke to the impact of the Frankfurt School of Philosophy and Paulo Freire’s work. Kincheloe highlighted Freire's contribution to the field of critical pedagogy, particularly his passion and impact in the field of education by looking at how the discourse of power works to oppress. His conflict theory regarding the roles institutions and education play in shaping perceptions and re-enforcing dominant ideology provided a new path to insight, voice and emancipation.

Critical pedagogy has been criticized for not considering the interests, experiences and perceptions of indigenous people and women. There are also questions around the appropriation of the Latin school of thought Freire founded, as it has been tinged with a decidedly Eurocentric approach. Within critical theory, the notions of who is speaking and how those thoughts are being represented is crucial, so these major criticisms must be addressed. That is the aim of the second phase of critical theory.

In general terms, this phase would keep the idea of criticality and open it up to include indigenous and oppressed knowledge, while trying to change the ways knowledge is seen through epistemological, ideological and ontological terms. Kincheloe points to the very nature of scholars as being a privileged elite, yet ones who are often 'illiterate' with regard to the works of authors from outside the traditional North American/European boundaries. He spoke to the notion that the works generated outside of the said realm are often unread, yet these are the very works that need to be heard and read in order for scholars and readers to become truly 'global'. In a broader sense, the same mechanism is present in the relationship between Universities and the representation of indigenous or oppressed knowledge, frequently disregarded as a form of knowledge.

Kincheloe believes that instead of perceiving everything from our frame of reference as the 'center' we need to "engage in the genius of the periphery" - that we need to read the world. The project can be seen as a challenge to critical pedagogy, as it needs to become international, multilingual and less Eurocentric in order to remain critical. Kincheloe sees this as a challenge against the colonialist and patriarchal systems of the past which still influence the present. His major focus is to re-visit the idea of knowledge in a more inclusive way. Naturally, there are concerns, which include maintaining the integrity of indigenous/oppressed knowledge as it migrates to a western technology and the potential consequences therein. Kincheloe, however, pointed out that local knowledge would not be appropriated, but shared by indigenous authors and by utilizing open access, this knowledge becomes more visible. His aim is not to make profit from this knowledge, but to benefit indigenous and oppressed people by raising awareness and to transform western thinking and pedagogical mindsets around what constitutes as knowledge.

The Project:
The Paulo and Nita Freire Centre is a project that features the open access model – digitizing and archiving multi media for critical pedagogy. This network will help indigenous, colonial, and oppressed knowledge gain visibility; the intention behind the project is not to be an “add-on” to curriculum or academic canon, but to archive and disseminate the articulation of oppressed voices, told from authentic experience and highlight the transformative power behind that knowledge. As this project will challenge the critical canon, it will be a useful tool to foster critical thinking for students and the general community. It will also create a space for an international network of scholars and practitioners to engage in discussing and reframing critical pedagogy.

The foundation of the website is under construction and will be up and running by August 1, 2007. October is the grand opening at McGill and plans include having Nita Freire attend the ceremony.

"The future isn't something hidden in a corner.
The future is something we build in the present."--Paulo Freire

8 comments:

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