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Spiritual Discourse in the Academy

A Globalized Indigenous Perspective

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Edited By Njoki Nathani Wane, Francis Akena Adyanga and Ahmed Ali Ilmi

Spiritual Discourse in the Academy focuses on the value of spirituality as a subjugated knowledge from globalized contexts. The book's central tenet is that spirituality is the core of one's intellectual growth and that its inclusion in education acknowledges the sum total of who we are. It not only offers strategies for transformative education, but also embraces global diversity and inclusive education for the twenty-first century.
The book also provides a detailed examination of spirituality from a global context, acknowledges the detrimental legacies of colonialism on indigenous spirituality, knowledge systems, traditional justice systems, and on indigenous peoples. Spiritual Discourse in the Academy reaches out to educators, scholars, and students who are interested in the multiple roles of spirituality in schooling and society at large. It can be used for teaching courses in spirituality, education, religious studies, and cultural studies.
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Foreword

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JOHN P. PORTELLI

Many universities, both in the West and East, have their basis and inception in religious traditions. For example, the major centers of learning in Bologna, Italy and Fez, Morocco were both inspired by religious beliefs. While religion and spirituality are not identical, one cannot deny the role of spirituality in many original centers of higher learning such as the ones mentioned. However, gradually, but especially with the rise and popularization of the liberal notion that the public and secular are identical, both the religious and spiritual dimensions of learning have been marginalized in many mainstream, publicly funded institutions of higher education.

In the last 20 years or so, with the impact of neoliberalism in all aspects of life both in the West and the East, the attack on the spiritual dimensions of learning, including in the area of the humanities, has had a very negative effect. Martha Nussbaum (2010) referred to the gradual marginalization of the humanities in universities as the “silent disease”—a disease which is eroding democratic values. Neoliberalism has marginalized notions of community and cooperation, robust public discussions, and the value of the spiritual and the philosophical. The almost exclusive emphasis has been placed on the instrumental and narrow usefulness, efficiency, rampant individualism, and competition. Moreover, the neoliberal ideology has been bolstered by two major concepts: accountability and evidence. While both concepts are crucial, their proper meanings have been thwarted by popular, neoliberal sloganeering. There is much more...

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