Activist, organizer, writer and social change agent Chris Crass (http://www.chriscrass.org/) is committed to the long haul of justice work. In Part One of our conversation, Chris talks about his background, the many movement building mentors and the collective liberation of oppressed groups. He is the author of two books, Towards Collective Liberation: Anti-Racist Organizing, Feminist Praxis, and Movement Building Strategy (PM Press, 2013) and Towards the “Other America”: Anti-Racist Resources for White People Taking Action for Black Lives Matter (Chalice Press, 2015). In his anti-racist work he begins with the historical and structural definition of racism from The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond (http://pisab.org/): racism is individual race prejudice plus structural/institutional power. Chris works to build dynamic multiracial alliances, with an intersectional framework—“working class-based, feminist, multiracial movements for collective liberation.”
Dr. Stephen D. Brookfield’s website:
The 99ers Band website:
Brookfield, Stephen, ed. 1987. Learning Democracy: Edward Lindeman on Adult Education and Social Change. London: Routledge, Kegan & Paul.
_____. 2004. The Power of Critical Theory: Liberating Adult Learning and Teaching. New York: Jossey-Bass.
Here’s some homework: find out about the use of the asterisk:
Avery Tomkins, “Asterisk,” TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly 1 (1-2): 26-27: http://tsq.dukejournals.org/content/1/1-2/26.full. See also: “Why we used trans* and don’t anymore”: http://www.transstudent.org/asterisk
Movement Strategy Center: http://movementstrategy.org/
Link to The Transitions Initiative and Transitions Labs: http://movementstrategy.org/msc-approach/transition/
Out of the Spiritual Closet: Organizers Transforming the Practice of Social Justice, Kristin Zimmerman, Neelam Pathi Konda, Brenda Salgado Taj James, MSC, 210:
Freedom University Georgia: http://www.freedomuniversitygeorgia.com/
New Yorker Video on Freedom University Georgia: “The University That Won’t Be Stopped”:
Laura Emiko Soltis, “From Freedom Schools to Freedom University: Liberatory Education, Interracial and Intergenerational Dialogue, and the Undocumented Student Movement in the U.S. South,” Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture, and Society, Vol. 17, Issue 1-2, June 2015:
Georgia Undocumented Youth Alliance (GUYA):
Aviva Chomsky, Undocumented: How Immigration Became Illegal, Beacon Press, 2014.
Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, The New Press, 2012.
Coalition of Immokalee Workers: http://www.ciw-online.org/
In Part 2 Stephen introduces us to Eduard Lindeman (1885-1953), a pioneer in adult education who wrote one of the first books on community development (The Meaning of Adult Education, 1926; Brookfield, Learning Democracy: Eduard Lindeman on Adult Education and Social Change, 1987). Lindeman explored “life-centered learning,” believing that “education is life” and that student and teacher experiences and autobiographies mattered in the classroom. The learner is central in Lindeman’s educational theory; the starting point is always the lives of the learners and the primacy of experience. Co-operative education leads to social justice action. Stephen talks about his friendship with Myles Horton, one of the founders of the Highlander Center in Tennessee who linked education with democracy, and the biggest single influence on Stephen. He then talks about his use of aesthetics, the imagination, and storytelling/narrative in the classroom. What does he want to subvert in higher education?—the capitalist ethic. Hear Stephen talk about the dominant ideologies at work in higher education, and how as a counternarrative/action we can begin by taking students seriously as co-learners and creators.
Dr. Stephen Brookfield is the John Ireland Endowed Chair at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He has been evolving as a teacher and teaching others how to evolve through critical, reflective practices for almost fifty years. He is the author of 18 books on adult learning and education, critical race theory and adult education, teaching through discussion, democratic spaces, power dynamics in the classroom, social justice teaching, and activist education. He incorporates critical theory (e.g. Gramsci, Marcuse, Habermas) and pedagogical theories (e.g. Paulo Freire, Myles Horton, Ira Shor, John Dewey, Eduard Lindeman) in his writing.
In Part 1 Stephen talks about his background and what drew him into teaching. He models what it means to be a critically reflective teacher—in Freire’s words, authoritative, not authoritarian. He continually searches for what’s new, what is yet to be realized—and that awareness involves a critique of power in the classroom. “There is no such thing as a power-free classroom,” he writes. Everything, including naming, reifies power dynamics. “Efforts to introduce more student-centered, empowering activities sometimes, in a teasing contradiction, underscore teachers’ power,” he has written, and faculty have to know and reflect on their own social locations and privileges as they challenge white supremacy, patriarchy, heteronormativity, and capitalism.