This March 2019 podcast is for anyone who teaches/studies social movements, movement building, labor history, union organizing, non-violent activism, social justice teaching, and direct action for social change! Hear Teamster Local 728 Organizing Director Ben Speight give an overview of union organizing and connections to our current times. He visited my REL/EDU 385: Religion, Education, and Activism class in February 2019 to plug us into the history of workers and why unions are still relevant more than ever.
Rev. Noelle Damico (United Church of Christ) is an activist educator and movement builder with the Alliance for Fair Food.[http://www.allianceforfairfood.org/]. She coordinated the 2 million member Presbyterian Church USA’s involvement in the Coalition of Immokalee Worker’s Campaign for Fair Food [https://ciw-online.org/], among many other food justicecampaigns. This podcast takes place in an actual class setting, my Religion and Ecology class at Agnes Scott College, a historic women’s liberal arts college in Decatur, GA. Noelle joined us via Skype in our unit on connecting issues of economic justice to the larger topic of sustainability.
What is often missing in mainstream discussions of the organic food movement is workers. Noelle takes us through the founding of the Coalition of Immokalee Worker’s campaign and the “sea-change” it brought, and continues to bring, in the food system, to create a system that works for all people. Issues of safety, forced labor, human trafficking, gender violence, poverty wages, wage theft, and worker abuse are all parts of the history of injustices that CIW addresses.
A worker-driven social responsibility model begins at the work site, determined by the workers who become organizers and change-agents through marches, education tours, hunger strikes, boycotts, and other direct actions. Joining CIW are faith leaders and students as partners. One outcome on university campuses has been the cutting of contracts with Taco Bell on over 25 campuses. The current Boycott Wendy’s campaign [http://www.boycott-wendys.org/] seeks to continue to move companies beyond their “corporate responsibility codes” to real food justice. The CIW campaign has shown that changing the conditions in the field is at the root of a sustainable food future.
Pedagogy is an action verb here. On my campus the tomatoes in our dining hall are part of the fair food system; Aramark was (reluctantly but eventually) one of the signers. But our Aramark dining staff continue, through their own worker-driven campaign, to fight for fair wages and a workplace that offers respect and human dignity (through their union, SEIU). Though unionized, their struggle is difficult. Thus, fair farm and campus food workers are connected.
As part of the class students engage in a practicum with the campus Office of Sustainability in a variety of areas (climate change events, organic farming, National Audubon wildlife site, bees, and also economic justice with the campus Living Wage Campaign). One student working with the campaign joined the Aramark union steward and me on the WRFG Labor Forum, as well as our Economic Justice Teach-In. She also assisted with our “love poster” action in the dining hall for the staff—big posters we are hanging each week, signed with notes of appreciation and affection by community members, for each dining services staff member.
Theme music for Nothing Never Happens is by Aviva and the Flying Penguins and Lance Eric Haugan. Additional music is by Paul Myhre: “Dreams of Winter Sans Guitar (2019).”
My audio engineers are: Reagin Turner, China Wilson, and Megan Simmons. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Buber, Martin. I and Thou. Trans. Walter Kaufmann. Touchstone, 1971.
Freire, Paulo. Pedagogy of Freedom: Ethics, Democracy, and Civic Courage. Rowan & Littlefield, 2000.
Kirylo, James D. Paulo Freire: The Man from Recife. Peter Lang, 2011.
Kirylo, James D.and Drick Boyd. Paulo Freire: His Faith, Spirituality, and Theology. BrillSense, 2017.
Shor, Ira. When Students Have Power: Negotiating Authority in a Critical Pedagogy. University of Chicago Press, 1997.
In Part Two Leopando continues to explore the theological influences on Freire’s thought and activism that sustained him through exile and institutional work (in government and higher education). We discuss the institutional boundaries on using a Freirean method in the college or university classroom, and I admit to being a “failed Freirean.” We talk about what it means to live into as much democracy as possible in our classrooms, and acknowledge the restraints of institutional time (the semester length), grades, the tenure process, and other academic demands. In the end, Freire calls us to accountability—to risk and to dream, and to live into our “vocation.” Tune into the podcast for a fuller definition of what Freire meant by such a theologically infused term as“vocation,” and how this vision forms the basis of his pedagogy of freedom.
Special music at the end of each segment is ”Prayer for Immigrant Children” (2018) by Paul Myhre:
Twitter feed: @trans_killjoy
Trans* Studies in Higher Education Syllabus:
Brookfield, S.D. (2012). Becoming a critically reflective teacher. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Catalano, D. C. & Griffin, P. (2016). Sexism, heterosexism, and trans* oppression curriculum design. In M. Adams, L. A. Bell, D. Goodman, & K. Joshi (Eds.), Teaching for diversity and social justice (3rd edition, pp. 183-211). New York: Routledge.
Catalano, C., & Shlasko, D. (2013). Transgender oppression. In M. Adams, W. J. Blumenfeld, R. Castañeda, H. W. Hackman, M. L. Peters, & X. Zúñiga, (Eds.), Readings for diversity and social justice (3rd ed., pp. 425-459). New York, NY: Routledge.
Garvey, J. C., Chang, S. H., Nicolazzo, Z, & Jackson, R. (Eds.). (2018). Trans* policies and experiences in housing and residence life. Sterling, VA: Stylus.
Hall, D.E. & A. Jagose (Eds.). (2012). The Routledge queer studies reader. New York, NY: Routledge.
hooks, b. (1994). Teaching to transgress: Education as the practice of freedom. New York, NY: Routlege.
Nicolazzo, Z. (Ed.). (2018). What’s transgressive about trans* studies in education now? Routledge Special Issues as Books. Oxfordshire, UK: Routledge.
Nicolazzo, Z. (2017). Trans* in college: Transgender students’ strategies for navigating campus life and the institutional politics of inclusion. Sterling, VA: Stylus.
Recipient of the 2017 Publication of the Year Award from the American Educational Research Association’s Division J (Postsecondary Education)
Nicolazzo, Z, Susan B. Marine, & Francisco J. Galarte (Eds. and Introduction). (2015). Trans*formational Pedagogies: A special issue of T*SQ (Transgender Studies Quarterly. Vol 2, No. 3 (August).
Stryker, S. & S. Whittle (Eds.). (2006). The transgender studies reader 1. New York: Routledge.
Stryker, S. & A. Aizura (Eds.). (2013). The transgender studies reader 2. New York: Routledge.
Read to Respond: Trans Rights:
Nicolazzo asks us, “How do we think about the most vulnerable students on our campuses,” especially those who are multiply marginized? How do we work toward “a practice of freedom” (hooks)? Nicolazzo shows us a broader vision of trans*studies and pedagogies in higher education, and how attention to these intersections of oppression and freedom benefit all students and faculty. “What are we willing to risk in the name of justice?” And how can we collaborate in our classrooms and beyond in a “critical hope”?
Part 1: Toward a Critical Collaborative Pedagogy
From the field of studies in higher education come deep insights into pedagogical theory and practice. In the second of a series on trans*pedagogies, and on the recommendation of Dr. T.J. Jourian, I invited Dr. Z. Nicolazzo to talk about teaching and activism.
Nicolazzo is assistant professor of Trans*Studies in Education in the Center for the Study of Higher Education, University of Arizona, and the author of Trans*in college (Stylus, 2017), and numerous articles.
In Part 1 we discuss the components of “a critical collaborative pedagogy”: “Each time I teach a course, I introduce our classroom as a community in which we all-students and myself—both have responsibilities for our shared learning” (“Teaching Philosophy Statement: Arriving at a Critical Collaborative Pedagogy”). How do we (both trans* and non-trans* educators) do critical pedagogy and how do we practice pedagogy intersectionally? What does it mean for our classrooms and curriculum to pay attention to and learn from trans*pedagogies?
Music for this podcast is provided by fabulous artists:
Opening theme and interstitial music is by Aviva & the Flying Penguins and Lance Eric Haugan.
Ending music on Parts 1 and 2 is “Prayer for Paradise” by Paul Myhre, co-created with Mike Shelton.
In Part 2 Torres talks about the origins and work of the UCLA Paulo Freire Institute in social justice education. He discusses his many influences (Gramsci, Marx, liberation theology, Alves, Dussell, Habermas, Bourdieu, Illich, Rawls, Dewey, Gadotti, to name a few), and the new theoretical directions of his graduate students in ecopedagogies and anarchist pedagogies.
From his discipline of the sociology of education, Torres exposes the dilemmas of global citizenship, and the role institutions of higher education play in perpetuating the status quo. In a meeting with Freire soon before his death, Freire gave Torres a second mantra: “We have to confront neoliberalism as the new demon of our times.” Torres shares with us ways to head this call to equity, empowerment, and freedom.
Victoria Rue’s website:
Augusto Boal, Games for Actors and Non-Actors, trans. Adrian Jackson (Routledge, 1992).
Sandra Butler and Barbara Rosenflum, Cancer in Two Voices (2nd Ed., Spinster Ink Books, 1996).
Joe Chaikin, The Presence of the Actor (Theatre Communications Group, 1972).
Maha Elgenaidi, founder of the Islamic Networks Group (ING):
Vsevold Meyerhold, Meyerhold on Theatre (Bloomsbury Meuthen Drama, 1978).
Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed Conference:
Anna Deavere Smith, Fires in the Mirror (Anchor, 1993).
Viola Spolin, Improvisation for the Theatre: A Handbook of Teaching and Directing Techniques (3rd Edition, Northwestern University Press, 1999).
James H. Cone, A Black Theology of Liberation (Orbis, 2010).
Beverly Harrison, Making the Connections: Essays in Feminist Social Ethics (Beacon, 1986).
_____. Our Right to Choose: Toward a New Ethic of Abortion (Beacon, 1983).
Carter Heyward, God in the Balance: Christian Spirituality in Times of Terror (Pilgrim, 2002).
Dorothee Soelle, Thinking about God: An Introduction to Theology (Wipf & Stock, 2016).
Additional resources for theatre of the oppressed:
Bell, Lee Anne, Storytelling for Social Justice: Connecting Narrative and the Arts in Antiracist Teaching (Routledge, 2010).
Melisa Cahmann-Taylor and Mariana Souto-Manning, Teachers Act Up!: Creating Multicultural Learning Communities through Theatre (Teachers College Press, 2010).
Cohen-Cruz, Jan, Local Acts: Community-Based Performance in the United States (Rutgers, 2005).
Hannah Fox, Zoomy Zoomy: Improv Games and Exercises for Groups (Tusitala Publishing, 2010).
Katherine S. McKnight and Mary Scruggs, The Second City Guide to Improv in the Classroom: Using Improvisation to Teach Skills and Boost Learning (Jossey-Bass, 2008).
Stanley Pollack and Mary Fusoni, Moving Beyond Icebreakers: An Innovative Approach to Group Facilitation, Learning, and Action (The Center for Teen Empowerment, Inc., 2005).
Michael Rohd, Theatre for Community, Conflict & Dialogue: The Hope Is Vital Training Manual (Heinmann, 1998).
Mady Schutzman and Jan Cohen-Cruz, Playing Boal: Theatre, Therapy, Activism (Routledge, 1994).
In the second half of our conversation Victoria Rue talks about the
importance of theatre in the classroom as a way to break out of the ruts and old habits of traditional teaching. She offers suggestions for tools on the journey, as well as stories of her own experiences of transformative teaching and learning with students. Rue, like Marc Weinblatt in the previous podcast in July, calls attention to theatre as a necessary pedagogical method for social justice education.