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Framing Peace

Thinking about and Enacting Curriculum as «Radical Hope»


Edited By Hans Smits and Rahat Naqvi

The language of frames suggests the need to rethink self and other in fostering ethical relationships as a foundation for peaceful existence. Educational writers and practitioners from many parts of the world, including New York, Denver, Minneapolis, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Israel, and Canada offer their perspectives on peace as an aim of curriculum.
Possibilities for learning about peace conceived in terms of Jonathan Lear’s (2006) notion of «radical hope» are illustrated in the contexts of diverse settings and challenges: the aftermath of apartheid in South Africa, re-imagining post-colonial history curricula in Zimbabwe, exploring the meanings of truth and reconciliation and restorative justice in Canada, examining the quality of pedagogic relationships in elementary school classrooms, attending to experiences of gay and lesbian students in schools, experiences of marginalized students, children’s experiences of civic engagement, Islamophobia in high schools and teacher education classes, fraught relationships between Palestinian and Jewish students in a teachers’ college in Israel, and the inclusion of First Nations culture and knowledge in Canadian teacher education classes. As whole and in each of its parts, Framing Peace encourages us to think about peace as an urgent and fundamental responsibility of curriculum at all levels of education.


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Chapter 3: Framing Peace as Tensioned Engagement


Framing Peace as Tensioned Engagement diane p. watt If Islam is such a peaceful religion, why are so many Muslims terrorists? (grade 11 student, in wat t, 2011b) A 16-year-old Ontario student asked this question in an 11th-grade world reli- gions class. During the ensuing discussion, several classmates grappled with similar assumptions about Muslims and their connections to terrorism (Watt, 2011b, p. 31). Narratives linking Muslim bodies and identities to terror and fear continue to circu- late widely in the spaces of schooling, in the mass media, and in our everyday social interactions (Watt, 2007, 2008, 2011a, 2011b, 2012, 2013). We are living in a “weird admixture of thoughtfulness and fear these days regarding Islam and its current self- and other-exaggerations” ( Jardine, Naqvi, Jardine, & Zaidi, 2012, p. 25). More than a decade after George W. Bush declared a war on terror following the tragic attacks of September 11, 2001, we remain complexly caught up in the material and discursive manifestations of 21st-century warfare. In such times, the tendency to view our selves and others in simplistic binary terms intensifies and impacts inter/cultural relations locally and globally. Drawing from my research with Muslims, females, and youth (Watt, 2011b) and my practice as a teacher educator, I share my ongoing struggle to make sense of our entanglement in the language of terror and fear and frame peace as tensioned engagement. In addition to new forms of warfare, climate change, environmental degradation, neoliberal economic forces, and poverty threaten our very existence on the...

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