August 20, 2010
Lake Superior, crashing waves, grey fog. This is one of my favorites places on the earth. I’d love to live on the shores of a powerful body of water. This is my first post, and my first attempt to blog.
Praxis is reflection and action in some kind of balance. Paulo Freire articulated this notion in Pedagogy of the Oppressed. I try to live my life practicing praxis. I teach social justice to undergrads at the U. of Minnesota. Balancing theory and practice is difficult. Students think theory is inaccessible and not connected to their lives. And for good reason. Most academics teach the most inaccessible theories – the more esoteric, the better. It often makes students feel stupid. It often makes me feel stupid too. bell hooks, in Teaching to Transgress, taught me that theory has to be about our lives because good theory shapes all the choices we make. Many social justice organizers think theory isn’t important. However, without theory to guide our lives, we’d make thoughtless decisions, and take actions randomly. The most successful organizers use theory wisely. What’s worked in the past? For whom? Can we apply it to today’s struggles for social justice? Do we have to be more visionary to create the changes we need to make this world more just?
I think this blog will address many of these questions. We shall see.