Edited By Eser Ördem
Professor in School of Educational Studies at the University of Washington, Bothell; Former Visiting Associate Professor , Faculty of Education and Human Development, Education University of Hong Kong
The call for rediscovery and the resumption of our language is a call for a regenerative reconnection with the millions of revolutionary tongues in Africa and the world over demanding liberation. It is a call for the rediscovery of the real language of humankind: the language of struggle. (Ngũgĩ, 1986, p. 108)
We know that language is central to the construction of human consciousness (Vygotsky, 1987), and that, by extension, it is also a carrier of culture (Ngũgĩ, 1986). These fundamental connections are critical because, over the last several hundred years, we have witnessed the spread of the English language across the globe through the powerful and exploitative forces of colonization, white supremacy, and imperialism (Adams, 1995; Pennycook, 1998; Phillipson, 2003). The worldwide spread of English has in turn continued into modern times through globalization and the economics of neoliberalism (Pennycook, 2017).
Systems of education are particularly implicated in this process. Schools, particularly those established through colonizing forces, ultimately serve the inequalities of capitalist social, economic, and cultural relations (Au, 2018). The teaching of the language of the colonizer is central to the project of colonization itself (Ngũgĩ, 1986). As but one possible example among many, here in my home country of the United States, special schools were established by...
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