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

Message from Francine:

Annalisa et al,

In regard to the development of the prefrontal cortex:
      This is an important area of research in contemporary neuroscience that
arose directly out of Vygotsky and Luria's collaboration (especially, from the last
two years of Vygotsky's life when both he and Luria were attending medical school).
>From a Vygotsky-Luria perspective the development of the prefrontal cortical connections
with the rest of the brain is the result of the internalization of the verbal guidance
of a more knowledgeable person. For social or neurological reasons this might
not occur. Also, chemical agents (such as drinking and smoking pot) as a preteen
or teen can interfere in the last critical stages of prefrontal development.
Without internal self-guidance, one needs the guidance of another person or a group
(hopefully that other person or group is a good influence).
In regard, to my speaking "from the outside" that certainly is true.
Many XMCARs know that I am not an advocate of Leontiev's Activity Theory or
of CHAT. But I am an advocate of Vygotskian theory and Luria's neuroscience.
So we share an interest in Vygotsky's writings.

Also, I am not a person of color. Politically, I am an independent -not a liberal,
not a conservative. I admire people like Christopher Hitchens who could think
for themselves and called things as they saw it. 

I can empathize with the oppressed because of my own background and that of my
people. Poland did not exist for 150 years. My great-grandmother ran an underground schoolhouse where she taught children how to read and write Polish under the Czarist
threat of being shot for doing so. [Ironically, I translate Russian into English.] My parents grew up in a ghetto in Chicago during the Great Depression where they usually had no food to eat. My Dad had the 'white man's privilege' of doing four beach heads in the Pacific during WWII. While on Okinawa he received a letter from my mom trying to raise his spirits by telling him
that his parents would have heat during the winter because they took wood planks from
a condemned building during the night to burn in their wood stove (scavenging was against
the law). After the war my dad was a factory worker, when I was 13 he died from a
bad aortic heart valve (rheumatic fever when he was 7 - he should never have
been drafted). My parents never attended high school - I worked my way to a Ph.D.
from the University of Chicago. No one told me to learn Russian or translate Vygotsky,
I figured that out myself. 

I know my opinions are not in line with a lot of the 'group think' that goes on
among some XMCARs. But one of my former students is an XMCAR who has never
posted on a thread, so I figure there are other XMCARs reading our threads who
might appreciate some alternate perspectives.

Also Annalisa, I  really appreciate the way you give serious consideration to my
comments. And I think you deserve a lot of credit for these threads moving forward
into new emerging perspectives.

> From: annalisa@unm.edu
> To: xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu
> Date: Tue, 6 Jan 2015 00:04:00 +0000
> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: What is a Pedagogy of the Oppressors?
> Hi Francine,
> I don't think I disagree with you.
> Certainly there are biological reasons involved as well, but is the lack of prefrontal cortical activity a cause of or is it an effect of oppression?
> Aren't we looking at the genesis of oppression? or more specifically how oppression is taught? The pedagogy? The ethical reasons are always clear that we do not want it. 
> I believe the way you speak about it is "from the outside." I am saying that from a place of care, not of criticism.
> Speaking "from the outside" makes it hard to understand what is happening in the minds of those "from the inside," and reminds me of telling a pregnant teen she should have used birth control or abstinence. 
> I don't mean to be antagonistic by saying that. 
> Without legitimizing the acts of oppressors, we must understand how they are taught, right? It is for me an examination of their subjectivity. What is it like for them? Why do they want to oppress? What is their motivation? What are their feeling lives like? Why do they believe oppression is the only option?
> Otherwise, there is no answer as to the "why" that "individuals" surrender their self-responsbility to the "group."
> It may be difficult to empathize with the other, but I don't know any other way to face the problem. 
> Kind regards,
> Annalisa