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International Education in Global Times

Engaging the Pedagogic


Paul Tarc

This book illuminates the changing landscape and expediency of international education in global times. Within this larger picture, the book focuses on the educational effects of international encounters, experiences and lessons – the complex processes of learning and subject formation in play during and after one's international/intercultural experience. These complex processes, hinged on past and present self-other relations, are illustrated by employing the parable of «The Elephant and the Blind Men.» In contrast to more narrow, developmentalist conceptions of intercultural learning, Paul Tarc attends to each of the linguistic, existential, structural, and psychical dimensions of difficulty constituting learning across difference. Becoming aware of, and reflexive to, these dimensions of difficulty and their implications for one’s own learning and resistance to learning, represents the domain of cosmopolitan literacy. The key intervention of this book is to re-conceive pedagogical processes and aims of international education as fostering such cosmopolitan literacy. Graduate courses on international education, study abroad, global citizenship education, and preservice education courses focusing on international education and teaching internationally could be primary candidates for this text.


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In a period widely proclaimed as promoting global interconnectedness through widespread flows of peoples, finances, goods and knowledges, critical analyses of the educational implications of such a mentality and set of conditions are urgent and welcome. Paul Tarc’s work represents a significant contribution. From my own perspective, located within an educational institution in Latin America and more specifically, in Brazil, one of the major issues in critical considerations of trans-/inter-cultural/global citizenship education is being able to locate and identify, in a trans-/intercultural/global encounter, where one (and one’s interlocutor) is speaking from and to use this awareness as a basis for understanding the ensuing interchanges and the possible misunderstandings which may probably arise. Given the unpredictable nature of such encounters, educating for such a context can present immense difficulties (many of which Tarc engages in this book). However, once again calling attention to where I myself am speaking from–the so-called global South, the ‘unpredictability’ of such global encounters is already an issue; in contrast, dominant conceptions seem to presuppose the possibility of predictability, control and the guarantee of understanding in communicative and knowledge exchanges in such encounters. As innumerable post-colonial and Latin American thinkers have recently shown, these global encounters are usually marked by histories of inequality; though they may not be consciously present in the minds of the actual participants in the exchange or encounter, they are there epistemologically in the inherited paradigms of unequal language and meaning-making which constitute the interlocutors on both sides of the encounter. International...

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