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Indigenous Philosophies and Critical Education

A Reader- Foreword by Akwasi Asabere-Ameyaw

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Edited By George J. Sefa Dei

An important academic goal is to understand ongoing contestations in knowledge in the search to engage everyday social practice and experiences, as well as the social barriers and approaches to peaceful human coexistence. This reader pulls together ideas concerning Indigenous epistemologies (e.g., worldviews, paradigms, standpoints, and philosophies) as they manifest themselves in the mental lives of persons both from and outside the orbit of the usual Euro-American culture. The book engages Indigenous knowledges as far more than a «contest of the marginals», thereby challenging the way oppositional knowledges are positioned, particularly in the Western academy. Subsequently, this book is a call to recognize and acknowledge Indigenous knowledges as legitimate knowings in their own right, and not necessarily in competition with other sources or forms of knowledge. The project offers an opportunity for the critical thinker to continue on a de-colonial/anti-colonial intellectual journey in ways informed by Indigenous theorizing.

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SECTION V: FUTURE CHALLENGES: CENTERING SPIRITUALITY AND SPIRITUAL WAYS OF KNOWING AND THE DISCOURS OF INDIGENEITY IN THE ACADEMY

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To transform oneself and social existence is to embody knowledge for change. In seeking to trans-form our social setting we must place the spirit on the axis (as a substructure) on which we under- stand material, political, and cultural forces of change. Decolonizing dominant knowings requires that we nurture and uphold the strengths and vitality of spiritually centered ways of knowing. We offer a central place for spirituality and Indigeneity given that Indigenous knowings are largely mis- represented and demonized in Eurocentric discourses and public imaginations about what is valid and invalid in the hierarchy of knowing. In Western academies many of us are struggling with issues of disembodiment in the learning process. The call for re-embodiment is a recognition that learners go into schools as embodied subjects. Apart from the negation of the fact of “embodied subjects/learn- ers” in claims of the universal student (as one without race, class, gender, sexual identities, etc.) many learners are constantly dealing with the effects of dismemberment. This plays out in the tensions of “community” and the politics of fracturing communities. It is through spiritual resistance and work- ing with the “notion of repair” that oppressed and Indigenous learners survive the everydayness of spiritual wounding and mental bondage. In arguing for engaging spirituality as a theory of practice of decolonizing the academy, we are insisting on spirituality as embodied, that is, seeing learners as embodied beings. We are also ask- ing to challenge the possibilities of “spiritual death” from Eurocentric mimicry. We need...

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