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[Xmca-l] Re: What is a Pedagogy of the Oppressors?



Surely there's more to world society than the binary of oppressed and oppressors, usually presented as mutually exclusive categories?

-----Original Message-----
From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of FRANCIS J. SULLIVAN
Sent: Sunday, January 04, 2015 8:16 PM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: What is a Pedagogy of the Oppressors?

Wow, this is a great thread, one I think about all the time, as one of the oppressors. Not by choice, as I see this as a structural, or rather a "positional" category, akin to the workings of power in terms of one's relationship to the means of production. I can still recall Horkheimer and Adorno's anecdote in *Dialectic of Enlightenment*, one the ways that the songs of the Sirens went unheard by Odysseus' crew--as he had stoppered their ears--yet remained useless to Odysseus as he was lashed to the mast.
So, I certainly agree that we need a pedagogy of the oppressors as a complement to that of the oppressed. I always thought that was the major effort of the Frankfurt School.
As someone who teaches secondary school pre-service teachers, I am quite aware of my structural position as an "officer of the State." I was in the middle of revising my syllabi for the upcoming semester when I saw this thread emerge. The advent of the corporate reform of schooling called Common Core poses a fundamental threat to the democratic roots of education in the US, yet I can neither ignore it nor simply trash it. The students I prepare must be able to address the Core if they are to have a career at all. So, for better or worse, I find the best resistance to be the tightest embrace of the "principles" embedded in the Core, an embrace that, I hope, lets me transform them into a useful and useable critique of the Core itself. So, this semester, we examine "speaking" and "writing" standards in terms of dialect, code, and register differences. We develop lessons and units in which high school students grapple with the reality of "code-switching," and the choices one can make to successfully navigate speech and writing situations defined by conflicting purposes and relational hierarchies.

Of course, all this is news to my students, almost all of whom are white and middle-class, and most of whom are male. So, I approach these topics by emphasizing that learners develop best when teaching meets them where they are and builds on what they know. I choose texts that de-emphasize the kinds of oppression that plays out in the lives of urban students. So, where does someone like me fit in this mosaic? Are we "leading the resistance from behind; or allowing ourselves to be co-opted?" My answer to that changes at least weekly, sometimes daily. I can only say that I'm doing what I can.

Francis J. Sullivan, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Teaching and Learning
College of Education
Temple University
Philadelphia, PA 19122


Find out what any people will quietly submit to and you have the exact measure of the injustice and wrong which will be imposed on them.

 Frederick Douglass

On Sun, Jan 4, 2015 at 3:46 PM, Annalisa Aguilar <annalisa@unm.edu> wrote:

> Hi,
>
>
> I am peeling off from the old thread to begin a new thread!
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> Our inquiry hear appears to be: What is a Pedagogy of the Oppressors?
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> I suggest "a" and not "the" because there could be more than one, surely?
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> For new arrivers to this thread, it commenced from this thread here:
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> http://xmca.ucsd.edu/yarns/15848
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> With its genesis here, thanks to Greg!
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> http://xmca.ucsd.edu/yarns/15848?keywords=#52332?
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> Kind regards,
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>
> Annalisa
>
>