This book introduces central assumptions that govern postmodern and feminist theory, offering educators a language to create new ways of conceiving pedagogy and its relationship to social, cultural, and intellectual life. It challenges some of the major categories and practices that have dominated educational theory and practice in the United States and in other countries since the beginning of the twentieth century.
Rejecting the apolitical nature of some postmodern discourses and the separatism characteristic of some versions of cultural feminism, the contributors take a political stand rooted in concern with cultural and social justice. In so doing, these essays represent a linguistic shift regarding how we think about ethics, foundationalism, difference, and culture. The selections present a concern with developing a language that is critical of master narratives, racism, sexism, and those technologies of power in schools that subjugate, infantilize, and oppress students.
The authors also develop a language of possibility that focuses on analyzing how power can be linked productively to knowledge, how teachers can construct classroom social relations based on notions of equity and justice, how critical pedagogy can contribute to an identity politics that is grounded in democratic relations, and how teachers can develop analyses that enable students to become self-reflective actors as they transform themselves and the conditions of their social existence.
Henry A. Giroux is Professor and Renowned Scholar in Residence in the School of Education and Allied Professions at Miami University, and Director of the Center for Education and Cultural Studies. He is the author of Ideology, Culture, and the Process of Schooling; Theory and Resistance in Education; Education Under Siege; Teachers as Intellectuals; Schooling and the Struggle for Public Life; Popular Culture, Schooling and Everyday Life; Postmodern Education: Politics, Culture and Social Criticism; and editor with Peter McLaren of Critical Pedagogy, the State, and Cultural Struggle, also published by SUNY Press.