Peggy A. Sissel and Vanessa Sheared
As Phyllis Cunningham so aptly details in the foreword to this book, in 1992 the Commission of Professors of Adult Education (CPAE) officially cited the exclusion of certain voices and knowledge bases within the adult education literature. The development of this book is a response to that growing awareness. While debate leading up to it was not without contention, ultimately CPAE members both recognized and honored the fact that learners, practitioners, and scholars of adult and continuing education represent both genders and a multiplicity of ethnicities, languages, classes, lifestyles, and cultural experiences. Furthermore, their advocacy not only emphasized the need to incorporate varied perspectives, but also the importance of addressing and analyzing the reasons why the adult education literature had previously excluded the voices of women and “others.” 1
As editors, we have attempted to provide scholars and practitioners representing a wide range of adult education and lifelong learning frameworks (both established and previously unheard voices in the field) a forum to dialogue about adult education as a social phenomenon, a field of practice, and a body of research. Broadly stated, we offer this book as the beginning dialogue and critique of our social, political, economic, and historical forms of hegemony operating in the field. We provided the authors with a forum to explore hegemony, within the contexts of their lived experiences. Throughout this book we have attempted to examine the ways in which hegemony has constrained our thinking about adult education and learning; influenced practice, structured learning environments; and limited the participation of some people because of their language, sexual orientation, race, gender, and class. Relatedly, the book addresses the ways in which hegemony has silenced and made invisible the voices and contributions of those who have historically been marginalized.