A Reader- Foreword by Akwasi Asabere-Ameyaw
Edited By George J. Sefa Dei
SECTION V: FUTURE CHALLENGES: CENTERING SPIRITUALITY AND SPIRITUAL WAYS OF KNOWING AND THE DISCOURS OF INDIGENEITY IN THE ACADEMY
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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