Libraries advertize their relationship with “alternative facts”. Religious schools voice strong opposition to presidential actions. Silenced government employees create rogue Twitter accounts to voice concerns. Super Bowl ads champion immigration and opportunity in defiance of Islamophobic executive orders and xenophobic border walls. In this world we now occupy, everything is political. Everything, we so often think, except our schools. We somehow believe learning in schools can be isolated from the surrounding society, even when that society creates, funds, and staffs our schools. We can no longer pretend our classrooms are separate from current political conditions and discourse.
Today’s curriculum should be today’s issues. Kids bring the world inside when they walk through that door- don’t pretend it’s not there. https://t.co/EAL8bjMn8K
— Ben Kovacs (@KovacsTeach) February 4, 2017
For years, we at Hybrid Pedagogy have said that teaching — and this journal — are not ideologically neutral. As critical pedagogues, we work first toward liberating the oppressed — a lofty goal in the face of oppressive political regimes. As Audrey Watters puts it in Ed-Tech in a Time of Trump,
We need to identify and we need to confront the ideas and the practices that are the lingering legacies of Nazism and fascism. We need to identify and we need to confront them in our technologies. Yes, in our education technologies. Remember: our technologies are ideas; they are practices.
This journal has worked to highlight those technologies-as-ideas present in education — the philosophical and theoretical perspectives on classroom practice — mostly by discussing our approach to education and the mindsets we should adopt. We aim to influence the mindsets of classroom practitioners, administrators, librarians, and instructional designers to see critical digital pedagogy adopted broadly and beneath the policies, assignments, and courses we create. Our intention at Hybrid Pedagogy has been to host the broader conversation about critical digital pedagogy and make it accessible to educators of all stripes.
That approach is no longer sufficient. The current international political climate demands action, not just intentions. Grassroots political groups are springing up around the world, creating action plans and mobilizing massive groups of people. Here we empower a grassroots group of educators. In the past, that empowerment has not been explicitly politically motivated. But we can no longer afford to push politics to the side because it affects us all, at every turn. Political actions clearly affect
- our finances, protecting consumers (or not) from corporate misdeeds and economic turmoil;
- our health, dictating who has access to care and insurance;
- our curricula, setting policies for funding, testing, and course content;
- our professional development opportunities, limiting the freedom with which we can travel across national borders;
- and our employment protections, determining who can and cannot be fired for demographic reasons.
As these actions and decisions often grant power to a few at the expense of many, our mission to advocate for the oppressed has never been more vital.
You may have the luxury to forget about what’s going on in the world, because it doesn’t impact you. But the oppressed by the system don’t.
— Rusul الربيعي (@RusulAlrubail) February 4, 2017
This call for articles moves the journal’s work closer to the front lines, more into the thick of battle as it plays out on the international stage. Strong voices have already begun to set the tone; we hope to add to the cacophony. Ryan Williams-Virden calls us to be accomplices to disruption within our classrooms and workplaces. Maha Bali warns that we cannot afford to be helpless bystanders, no matter how distant or powerless we may feel. Sherri Spelic cautions against complacency, refusing to bear witnesses to the allegedly peaceful. From these voices and others like them, one challenge resonates: Talking about our ideas only helps so much. We must act.
With this call, Hybrid Pedagogy seeks to build a collection of hands-on, classroom-ready articles that illustrate what critical digital pedagogy looks like when it’s turned against fascist, racist, misogynist, xenophobic, homophobic political powers. What can our readers do to politicize critical digital pedagogy in their learning spaces, be they libraries, classrooms, or online networks? How can we leverage politics to earn students’ trust?
My daughter asks me: “I know some of my teachers voted for him. How do I trust them to educate me?” A Q? that made me pause, speechless.
— Kameelah M. Rashad (@KameelahRashad) February 5, 2017
Our articles have always balanced personal experience with a theoretical approach. That theoretical foundation remains critical, both in our work and in our writing. But on top of that foundation, responses to this call should go one step further than our typical article into the practical, instructive space. With critical theory as a foundation, responses to this call should present actionable suggestions for immediate implementation. Responses should not be reading lists masquerading as “a #resist syllabus” any more than they should be manifestos against a political regime. Each approach has its uses, but we aim here to focus on the way learning environments can instill political resistance in learners. How can we create spaces of political resistance in our classes?
This is a rolling call, and we will begin accepting and publishing submissions immediately. To submit an abstract or article, visit Hybrid Pedagogy’s submissions page.