The curse of totalitarianism and the challenge of critical pedagogy

by Henry A. Giroux
The forces of free-market fundamentalism are on the march ushering in a terrifying horizon of what Hannah Arendt once called “dark times.” Continue reading The curse of totalitarianism and the challenge of critical pedagogy

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Hope in the age of looming authoritarianism

by Henry A. Giroux I can understand pessimism, but I don’t believe in it. It’s not simply a matter of faith, but of historical evidence. Not overwhelming evidence, just enough to give hope, because for hope we don’t need certainty, only possibility. — Howard Zinn In the current historical moment, the line between fate and destiny is difficult to draw. Dominant power works relentlessly through its major cultural apparatuses to hide, mischaracterize, or lampoon resistance, dissent, and critically engaged social movements. This is done, in part, by sanitizing public memory and erasing critical knowledge and oppositional struggles from newspapers, radio, … Continue reading Hope in the age of looming authoritarianism

Teaching democracy and revolution

by Angelo J. Letizia The next dialectal step toward demolishing capitalism and bringing the next phase of the Enlightenment is brewing. As Marx noted, the present world contains the seeds to its own destruction. The present world is the womb of the new world. But this dialectic or historical movement is not immutable; we cannot sit around and wait for it to sweep us into the golden age of history like Marx prophesized (Zizek, 2009). We must take control of it and the first step to controlling the dialectic of history and the Enlightenment is through education, this includes higher … Continue reading Teaching democracy and revolution

Academic freedom and the purposes of universities

(Reflections on a talk by Stanley Fish) by Patrick Colm Hogan Academic freedom is an important concept in the United States. Indeed, it is a concept fundamental to our system of higher education. The basic idea of academic freedom is that the purposes of universities are not served if faculty members are intellectually subservient to state or religious doctrine or to public opinion. For example, if physics has to conform to the beliefs of Stalin or biology has to conform to the dictates of Hitler, then neither field will advance intellectually. Academic freedom is therefore of particular concern to faculty … Continue reading Academic freedom and the purposes of universities

The teachers strike: An emerging revolutionary ideal

by Henry A. Giroux What the world is witnessing in Chicago as thousands of teachers, staff and support personnel strike is the emergence of a revolutionary ideal. This is an ideal rooted in the promise of democracy — one that challenges corrupt neo-liberal practices, such as giving corporations and markets the right to define the purpose and meaning of public education; opposes policies that systemically defund public education by shifting the burden of low tax rates for the rich, and the cost of bloated military expenditures, to teachers and other public servants; and refuses to support educational reforms that help … Continue reading The teachers strike: An emerging revolutionary ideal

Beyond the politics of the Big Lie

by Henry A. Giroux “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” — Martin Luther King, Jr. The American public is suffering from an education deficit.  By this I mean it exhibits a growing inability to think critically, question authority, be reflective, weigh evidence, discriminate between reasoned arguments and opinions, listen across differences, and engage the mutually informing relationship between private problems and broader public issues. This growing political and cultural illiteracy is not merely a problem of the individual, one that points to simple ignorance. It is a collective and social problem that goes … Continue reading Beyond the politics of the Big Lie

Occupy and the unleashing of possibilites

by Henry A. Giroux “To be truly radical is to make hope possible rather than despair inevitable.” – Raymond Williams American society has lost its claim on democracy. One indication of such a loss is that the crises produced on a daily basis by crony capitalism operate within a discourse of denial. Rather than address the ever proliferating crises produced by market fundamentalism as an opportunity to understand how the United States has arrived at such a point in order to change direction, the dominating classes now use such crises as an excuse for normalizing a growing punishing and warfare … Continue reading Occupy and the unleashing of possibilites

Free speech, war, and academic freedom

by Peter Neil Kirstein To justify American expansionism, presidential war messages frequently contained nationalistic proclamations of American innocence and virtue. President James Knox Polk in seeking war with Mexico on May 11, 1846 as a mandate of the nation’s “Manifest Destiny,” demonized it as a “menace,” lied that it had invaded the United States and argued war was necessary to protect American democracy. “[W]e are called upon by every consideration of duty and patriotism to vindicate with decision the honor, the rights, and the interests of our country.”[1] President William McKinley in asking Congress for a declaration of war to … Continue reading Free speech, war, and academic freedom

Dangerous pedagogy

by Henry A. Giroux All over the world, the forces of neoliberalism are on the march dismantling the historically guaranteed social provisions provided by the welfare state, defining profit making and market freedoms as the essence of democracy, while diminishing civil liberties as part of the alleged “war” against terrorism. Secure in its dystopian vision that there are no alternatives to a market society, free market fundamentalism eliminates issues of contingency, struggle, and social agency by celebrating the inevitability of economic laws in which the ethical ideal of intervening in the world gives way to the idea that we “have … Continue reading Dangerous pedagogy