Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Decolonial Feminisms and Education

Hello DeColonial Feminists! Recently we decided that it was time to reconvene our group and to start actively posting on our blog again during the spring 2010 semester and hopefully, beyond. We have been thinking about the links between decolonial thinking and education, whether in the classroom or outside of it and, of course, in between spaces. We might formulate a series of questions that address different aspects to this broad topic, some of which Dalida brought up in a recent email:

  • What is the curriculum of decolonial feminist education?
  • What is our archive?
  • What are the forms of knowledge and pedagogies that emerge from a decolonial feminist praxis?
  • What are the ways of knowing, senses and sensibilities, that we wish to honor, produce and/or access?
  • Where does decolonial feminist education occur?
  • What do formal institutions of learning in the U.S. have to do with decolonial feminism?
  • What does decolonial feminism have to say to those institutions?
  • What does decolonial feminist education look like as a transnational project?
As part of our goal in answering and addressing some of these questions, we want to begin putting together some readings that we can undertake together around these questions. And maybe we will decide that reading brings us to a limit, at which point we must look to other media as well as part of a decolonial educating practice and praxis. Here are some additional questions to think about: How does our performance as teachers in the classroom affect our students? How can we work to bring other media into classrooms or disciplines that are traditionally "text" based? Moreover, what are the implications of new pedagogies on the embodied experiences of students and teachers alike? That is to say, how does a student's relationship to something like physical movement change in a decolonial classroom setting and how might transformations in the classroom impact actions and spatial relationships beyond the institution? Body, space, movement. Three things I see as relevant to the discussion...

In order to collaboratively create a dialogue on this topic, what readings would you be interested in undertaking? Here are a few obvious texts to include in a running bibliography:

Augusto Boal, Theatre of the Oppressed
Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed
Chela Sandoval, Methodology of the Oppressed

Feel free to add some questions you find interesting and some suggestions for reading so that we can stitch together a bibliography and get a reading schedule in place in time for our next meeting on Monday, March 15th. Perhaps by then we can settle on a few themes to start exploring with more depth. Hope to see and talk with more of you soon.


Alisa said...

Hi decolonial feminists,

Yay for you. I wanted to share a couple of pedagogy items with you, since
we are thinking about pedagogy - thanks again Dalida and Tara for the set
of questions you formulated.

First is a college scholarship for undocumented students, from the
Association of Raza Educators. I don't know much about this organization,
maybe some of you do, but glancing at their website it seems like a group
exploring a similar set of questions about pedagogy. We should talk with
them! After my qualifying exams are over, at the end of April, I'd like to
learn more about their org. Anyway, you can pass on the scholarship info
if you wish. I will forward their flyer in a separate e-mail.

The second thing is an event this Thursday evening, a public debate by
Oakland high schoolers on the topic of poverty in the U.S. The Bay Area
Urban Debate League,which is the debate league in Oakland and SF high
schools (and founded by my partner), is a promising example of working
within and against the system, to remake-make anew the system...high
school debate in the U.S. at the national level is an expensive and
elitist activity, dominated by rational logical argumentation. The point
is to win through logic, not to contemplate solutions to the issue under
debate. The strategy of urban debate leagues is to critique the current
style of debate as corrupt. Students from these leagues use personal
experience as evidence as well as other arguments, and contest that the
activity of debate should be about really discussing the issues, not
devolving into logical nitpicking. As debate is now, they argue, it
structurally disadvantages urban students. There's more to say about it,
but I'll stop here and bring it up again in the future. I'll be at the
public debate on Thursday and invite you to attend, details about it are

I am studying for my QEs taking place in April and will be pretty
unavailable until they are over, though I will pop out for the debate on
thurs. But I wanted to share these two things with you and keep up
momentum on the list.

Take care! Be well, love,


Alisa said...

Here is info about the public debate:


On Thursday, March 11th, at 7pm the Bay Area Urban Debate League (BAUDL)
and Standing to Represent our Next Generation (STRONG) will present Part
II of The Strength in Debate Series, a night of spirited debate between
Oakland's brightest high school minds. The event will take place in the
Oakland Unified School District's Board Room at 1025 Second Ave. in
downtown Oakland. The focus of this year's debate will be an extremely
important one: the fight against poverty.

Over the course of this school year, students in Oakland high schools have
been spending hours of their time outside of school researching and
forming positions on how best to address poverty in America. They have
been also putting their ideas to the test at monthly debate tournaments
against competitors from other schools. On March 11th, BAUDL and STRONG
invite the public to witness the amazing talent of these students as they
showcase their skills and knowledge. The night will feature two debates -
one about reforming the US welfare system, and another about reforming
health care. Both promise to be tremendously exciting and informative.
Please join us and support Oakland's amazing young leaders.

Attached is a flyer for our event. Please distribute it widely. Also,
included below is some information on each of our organizations. Thanks
so much for your support.


The BAUDL is a non-profit organization that works to create and maintain
debate teams in under-resourced, inner-city high schools in the San
Francisco Bay Area. Debate in urban schools has proven to improve
academic performance, increase graduation and college matriculation rates,
and close the achievement gap in our schools. Therefor, the BAUDL is part
of a nationwide movement
dedicated to expanding opportunities for high school students in the San
Francisco Bay Area to participate in rigorous academic competition and to
become articulate and informed leaders in their schools and communities.
For more information, check out

STRONG is an organization dedicated to creating a voice for people under
the age of 30 in the landscape of American politics. We seek to increase
the participation of youth in politics as well as represent their issues.
This organization will represent the future of our country. So many
issues that are discussed today directly impact people under the age of 30
more than any other social group. It is important that these young people
have a voice in the world politics. Currently, young people are the only
social group that are not represented in policy making decisions. This is
the gap that STRONG aims to fill. For more information, check out

Alisa said...

And here is a copy of the Association of Raza Educators e-mail, about the scholarship.
Hola por favor pasar la vos a quien necesite estas becas.


Education is a Basic Human Right!

The Association of Raza Educators, A.R.E., believes that education is a
human right and that all people, regardless of citizenship status, should
have the right to an education. As educators, we often see some of the
most deserving students denied that right because they are ineligible for
financial aid.

Through its fiscal sponsor, the Raza Education Fund, the Association of
Raza Educators will provide undocumented students with an opportunity to
realize their dreams of attending college. Each year A.R.E will award
undocumented graduating seniors and continuing college students with a
scholarship. The number of scholarships awarded each year will be
determined by the amount raised and/or donated to the Raza Education

Scholarship recipients are selected based on their commitment to fighting
for social justice.
Students are required to turn in an application, and demonstrate how they
are actively involved in their community. Scholarship recipients are
expected to further the goals of A.R.E.

Deadline: March 31, 2010

ARE Annual Scholarship Information and Applications are available for
download @ or contact Pily Ochoa at

Alisa said...

thanks! and next time i'll make my blog posts prettier.

WANDA said...

Hello DeColFemers,

I love the proposed questions and for the moment I am interested in the question regarding the archive and the question about the ways/forms of knowing we wish to honor, produce, access. The second question brings me to think about this section from the DF Librito:

"We understand saber apasionado/acorazonado (passionate knowledge) to be attuned to those modes of knowledge that inhabited the bodies, habitats, relations of those who underwent the processes of the coloniality of gender [bestialization, sub and dehumanization, having their habitat and relations and senses of self in relation to their world constantly devalued, attacked, terrorized by those constituting the coloniality of gender.]

We are interested in knowledges, practices,perceptions, values, relations as they animate/are animated by people in relation.

We seek to understand the past in the present and to understand both past and present as constituted by multiple realities in tension."

As a way to respond to the question, keep the spirit of the DFL, and to begin forming our bibio/archive I propose to add these three readings:

"Language and Literature from a Pueblo Indian Perspective" by Leslie Marmon Silko, and "Facing the Fire: American Indian Literature and the Pedagogy of Anger" by Jeffrey Berglund
"Toward an Epistemology of a Brown Body" by Cindy Cruz

I'll send these out via email, um, right now...


Tara said...

Hey everyone -- Not sure if you met on Monday or not? I will investigate adding pdfs to the blog, that's a great idea Wanda.

In the meantime, I wanted to share a few more titles with you. I went to a talk at the Townsend Center the other day given by Mary Louise Pratt on indigeneity. She mentioned some books she was using in terms of approaches to pedagogy outside of an Enlightenment model, some of which I was familiar with and others which were new to me. I am really interested in adding these to our ongoing list:

Red Pedagogy. Sandy Grande.
Hilando Fino. Julieta Paredes. (Bolivia).
Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples. Linda Tuhiwai Smith. (New Zealand).

While the content of these books is not strictly on decolonial feminisms, I think that they could serve as a useful platform for thinking the intersectionality between race, gender, and sexuality and would provide various geographic contexts for our inquiry.

DAMA said...

Hello decolonial feministas,

I just came across this short piece I wrote a couple of years ago in which I was trying to think about visual art/aesthetic/sensorial pedagogies...It's a bit of a loose thread in my work right and I thought it could find a home in our discussion...

Also, I think all the suggestions are great for readings, and also, I know that some of us went to Gayatri Spivak's talk - and also that it's streamed on the berkeley site, somewhere, not sure where...I wonder if we could plan on discussing that further for our meeting? In the meantime:

On Art Education

Every moment of our lives is pedagogical. The space, the images, the architecture, the air, the people we surround ourselves with or are surrounded by haphazardly, teach us.
This is culture.

What does it mean, then, to talk about art education? To develop a curriculum is to edit. To pull out strands, threads, themes, key terms, histories. It is to carve out a space. This is obviously a political act. To choose one thing over another. To put one person or trajectory of work ahead of others; to create a hierarchy. This activity must be embraced. It is not about EVERYTHING. It is only about some things. Choosing those some things must be an activity that understands the present moment. Always, a moment of contestation. What should be taught, NOW? And further, how does the teaching of that, now, need to be translated to the present, and to the present interlocutors? What languages must be developed, which marginalized or forgotten? It is always highly contextual, regional, local. Local with an eye towards the global, with an ear to the ground.

And, where does it lead us? What possibility does it help us to imagine? What present histories, obscured, become revealed? Which objects conjure what histories and discourses? How and why do they do that? What are the different registers across which objects can signify? How do objects free fall from one register to another? The work of the artist is the translation of objects across registers of signification. This is also the work of the art educator. Translating. Re-contextualizing and re-signifiying work, artists and oeuvres. The work of looking at history is always a re-signification. It is a speaking alongside; it can never fully be in that moment. How does it look now? The critical tools are durable; these are representable, replicable. This is humanistic inquiry. This is finding critical tools with respect for their makers. Respect includes a carefully inquiry into their construction; with no attempt to own. Faith in our capacity to understand.

Thematic cross-cutting.