Translated by Donaldo Macedo
In this impressive volume, Peter McLaren and Peter Leonard have attempted to bring together a group of international scholars and educators in order to reflect upon my work as it has been taken up in various educational and political contexts in England, Africa, New Zealand, Latin America, and the United States. More than a testament to my work alone, however, this volume attempts to grapple with a number of pivotal issues currently engaged by critical scholars who have set out to refine and develop a critical pedagogy attentive to the changing face of social, cultural, gender, and global relations. These issues include, but are no means limited to, the manner in which subjectivity is constituted in language; the relationship among discourse, social action, and historical memory; the connection between interpretation and historical practice; and how forms of authority may be addressed and justified in the context of feminist pedagogy and practice. In short, this volume represents a foundational inquiry into the relationship between power and pedagogy.
I do not wish to direct attention to each of the chapters in turn, but rather to affirm some of the central principles of my work which are reflected therein, and in so doing attempt to clarify some issues which have been raised about my position on the politics of liberation.
Over the years, educators such as Henry Giroux, Peter McLaren, Ira Shor, Carlos Alberto Torres, Donaldo Macedo, and bell hooks, among others, have tried to reinvent my writings and research on literacy and pedagogy so that they may be applied to North American struggles for liberation in schools, the workplace, the home, and universities and colleges. In my view, this has been exceedingly productive work. A number of these authors have attempted to bring my work into conversation with European thinkers who represent what has come to be called ‘modernist’ and ‘postmodernist’ strains of thought.
Although my own work does not specifically address many of the issues contained in the work of those thinkers who are currently assessing the merits of postmodern critical thought, I nevertheless appreciate how much has been accomplished by what Giroux describes as ‘critical