Revolutionary Pedagogies: Cultural Politics, Instituting Education, and the Discourse of Theory

By Peter Pericles Trifonas | Go to book overview

Introduction

How does contemporary critical theory encounter pedagogy? radicalize it? revolutionize it? make it revolutionary? This is the central question, among others, that this volume seeks to address. It does so by highlight-ing the work of contemporary theorists who are also very well known for their revolutionary teaching and the radicality of what they have taught with respect to cultural politics, instituting education, and the discourse of theory. Although this characterization of the chapters presented in this volume is self-consciously fore-fronted by the title of the anthology (and any title worthy of the appellation “title” should surely thematize the heterogeneity of a body of work so as to do just that!), the text does not speak only to those who have embraced the ethical value of opening the empirico-conceptual and epistemic limits of one's work and oneself to the risk of less than canonical modes of thinking. It also addresses those who would wholeheartedly blame contemporary theorizing for all that is perceived to be “wrong” with the state of the humanities and the social sciences today. By containing the idiomatic values of such arguments within the thematic trajectory of this titular enframing of the topic, the essays sustain a probing articulation of the tensions among the discursive spaces and the real-world dimensions of an interdisciplinary nexus of theory that informs and manifests practice in the application of ideas. For any engagement or identification with a theoretical position or direction (for instance, a theorem, a system, a methodology, a “proof, ” an ideology, an argument) implies the critical outworking of an academic responsibility to uphold an obligation owed to the search for truth at all costs. This is what makes theory practice and provides a justifying principle, a principle of reason for what we think, do, and write. The collection converges upon specific interpretations of the obligation we have to respond responsibly to the alterity of those we teach for beyond ourselves. The interplay between texts I have included thereby challenges us to reflect upon and to reexamine the logic and the boundaries of “thought” and “action, ” “theory” and “practice, ” and what comprises and displaces the opposition of these two entities in the name of revolutionizing pedagogy, radicalizing the normative limits of its ethics so as to make it more responsive to the difference of an Other.

Of course, the relating of “idea” to “performance” and vice versa is most certainly nothing new, especially as it relates to the teaching body and a body of teaching. As I have said, the desire motivating the appearance of this text is not to offer

-xi-

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Revolutionary Pedagogies: Cultural Politics, Instituting Education, and the Discourse of Theory
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction xi
  • I - Cultural Politics 1
  • Diasporas Old and New 3
  • Strange Fruit 30
  • All-Consuming Identities 47
  • References 59
  • The Touch of the Past 61
  • II - Instituting Education 81
  • Where a Teaching Body 83
  • Notes 106
  • Notes 112
  • Technologies of Reason 113
  • Notes 135
  • Unthinking Whiteness 140
  • Postmodern Education and Disposable Youth 174
  • Multiple Literacies and Critical Pedagogies 196
  • Notes 218
  • III - The Discourse of Theory 223
  • The Shock of the Real 225
  • References 249
  • The Limits of Dialogue as a Critical Pedagogy 251
  • The Social Sciences as Information Technology 274
  • Responsible Practices of Academic Writing 289
  • Degrees of Freedom and Deliberations of “self” 312
  • References 349
  • Permissions 353
  • Index 359
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