Academic journal article JCT (Online)

Illuminated Footprints of Nonviolence: In Hongyu Wang's Nonviolence and Education: Cross-Cultural Pathways

Academic journal article JCT (Online)

Illuminated Footprints of Nonviolence: In Hongyu Wang's Nonviolence and Education: Cross-Cultural Pathways

Article excerpt

Introduction

THE STUDY OF NONVIOLENCE pulls the diverse parts of my personal and professional lives together into a place of interconnection and personal growth. In this essay I unpack Hongyu Wang's (2014) text, Nonviolence and Education: Cross-Cultural Pathways, and my own currere writings, seeking the blurred footprints of nonviolence. These blurred footprints are present but may be nearly impossible to see unless someone looks closely by opening to their presence, recognizing, and embracing them. My engagement with the texts is influenced by my positionality as an educator, private readings, journal entries, and discussions with my colleagues and classmates. In my analysis of Wang's work and in my own experience of currere, I find that there is an illuminating characteristic in the storytelling of teachers that can help to make clearer the blurred footprints of nonviolence. When light is cast upon the darkness of violence, greater understanding of nonviolence can occur and can open the curving pathway of nonviolence education to exploration.

Responding to the teacher stories of Wang and her four participants, this essay blends with my autobiographical work to discuss nonviolence and the pathway of nonviolence education. The participants' life-history interviews, along with Wang's insights from her selfinclusion as the fifth participant, are treated as their stories and melded with my autobiographical musings; my story as it resides in my mind and was formulated through the writing of the phases of currere. My currere experience was based in the work of William F. Pinar (2012) and involved the writing of my educational experiences through four phases: regressive, progressive, analytic, and synthetical. Taking my 'self' as a research participant, I explored my early, future, and present educational experiences and their meanings in my life. In the story writing of currere and the reading of Wang's work, I found nonviolence as dim but present footprints in our experiences of living and of teaching. For me, the pathway of nonviolence education began to open with possibility.

Just as Wang (2014) views "the educational vision of nonviolence" to be a thread that connects her study participants to one another and to her, I view nonviolence as consisting of blurred footprints which can be illuminated in all of our lives (p. xiv). Through my writing and my studies I have come to conceptualize nonviolence as an active and positive force which playfully engages the interconnectedness and relationality of all living beings. I encourage the reader to write his/her own story, seeking the illumination of nonviolence that may reside within as explorations of interconnections with others are explored. Having done this myself, I can now juxtapose Wang's position with my own "disruptive moments," calling into question my particular assumptions regarding the inherent nature of violence and illuminating the blurred footprints of nonviolence instead (Wang, 2014, p.136).

In this essay, it would be impossible to attempt to encompass all the many aspects of Wang's work; therefore, I encourage the reader to engage their own deep reading of this text to find the notion of nonviolence that exists within the 'self' (Nagler, 2004, p.76). Here I am going to first, focus on nonviolence and nonviolence education and discuss teacher storytelling through life histories and through currere. Then, I will discuss writing as a way of illuminating what lies beneath and the illumination of both emergent and playful footprints of nonviolence and finally, the curving pathway of nonviolence education. As I enter each section of this work I will present my story in italics and Wang's words, those of her participants, or those of other scholars who write regarding the notion of nonviolence, as quotations.

Nonviolence and Nonviolence Education

It is important to expand upon this notion of nonviolence before we go any further. Michael N. …

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