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Paulo Freire

The Global Legacy

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Edited By Michael A. Peters and Tina Besley

This collection is the first book devoted to Paulo Freire’s ongoing global legacy to provide an analysis of the continuing relevance and significance of Freire’s work and the impact of his global legacy. The book contains essays by some of the world’s foremost Freire scholars – McLaren, Darder, Roberts, and others – as well as chapters by scholars and activists, including the Maori scholars Graham Hingangaroa Smith and Russell Bishop, who detail their work with the indigenous people of Aotearoa-New Zealand. The book contains a foreword by Nita Freire as well as chapters from scholars around the world including Latin America, Asia, the United States, United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Australia. With a challenging introduction from the editors, Michael A. Peters and Tina Besley, this much-awaited addition to the Freire archive is highly recommended reading for all students and scholars interested in Freire, global emancipatory politics, and the question of social justice in education.
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Chapter Thirty-One: Decolonizing Ways of Knowing: Communion, Conversion, and Conscientization

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CHAPTER THIRTY-ONE

Decolonizing Ways of Knowing: Communion, Conversion, and Conscientization

JON AUSTIN

INTRODUCTION

The struggle to know and name the world is a central aspect of any decolonizing project, and Freire’s notion of conscientização (conscientization) refers to a form of critical engagement with the realities of the lived experience of the colonized world. It is not enough to know the world; knowledge must be brought to bear on changing the world. This chapter looks to draw together three key ideas from decolonial activists to anchor an exploration of the experiences of the (white) author with indigenous scholars engaged in research work where indigenous ways of knowing have been, in effect, quarantined by those scholars outside the academy. The inability/refusal of these scholars to see and acknowledge the legitimacy of their culturally familiar ways of knowing (Du Bois’s [1903] double consciousness) can be seen to be a manifestation of the cultural amputation Fanon (1967) so vehemently resisted. The central concern of this chapter is to draw from the experience of deliberately engaging a process approaching that of conscientization, where shadows of vanguardism and neocolonial maneuvers were (possibly) cast unwittingly across an intent to expose and disrupt colonized ways of knowing, to consider the implications of Freire’s (1970/1972b) idea of communion for collaborative decolonial praxis.

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