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Smith's Decolonizing Methodologies

Phil. Foundations of Education

Matthew Dearmon

on 30 May 2013

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Transcript of Smith's Decolonizing Methodologies

The Tuskegee Experiment 1932-1972 "PAST" "PRESENT" Source: Matt Dearmon, 2005 Source: Matt Dearmon, 2007 "FUTURE" "Communities have also made themselves, however, despite policies aimed at fragmenting family bonds and separating people from their traditional territories. Indigenous communities have made even their most isolated and marginal spaces a home place imbued with spiritual significance and indigenous identity" (Smith, p. 126) "Only through new words might new worlds be called into order."
(Saul Williams, 2003) "The development of theories by indigenous scholars which attempt to explain our existence in contemporary socity ... has only just begun. Not all these theories claim to be derived from some 'pure' sense of what it means to be indigenous.... What is claimed, however, is that new ways of theorizing by indigenous scholars are grounded in a real sense of, and sensitivity towards, what it means to be an indigenous person."
(Smith, p. 38) photo: http://shantology.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/mardi_gras_indian.jpg Exhibit A: Hip-hop as a specific past, present, and future manifestation of indigenous urban culture. Specifically, hip-hop grew out of New York African American street culture of the 1970's, yet now it is a worldwide phenomenon, and could easily be considered one of the most dominant contemporary art forms. By locating urban Black experience and culture within the nexus of indigenous peoples, a bulwark is established against the oppressive mechanisms of western capitalism. Witness the continued resilience of the Katrina diaspora in the face of great odds against returning to and rebuilding the city of New Orleans. For the educational researcher, such a linkage implies that the measure of care and organization that Smith champions must be reckoned by outsiders seeking to "help" urban school districts. photo: Matt Dearmon, 2008 While the battle is still waging, to be sure, one could argue that any measure of success finds at least part of its source in the cultural, social, filial, and historical roots of the city's African American and Creole peoples. This conception also points to the organizational structures
that might support successful resistance by those willing to align with more
traditionally identified indigenous peoples. Argument for culturally relevant pedegogy "What may have begun as early fanciful, ill-informed opinions or explanations of indigenous life and customs quickly entered the language and became ways of representing and relating to indigenous peoples..." (Smith, 2007, p 79) Culturally relevant pedagogy uses “the cultural knowledge, prior experiences, frames of reference, and performance styles of ethnically diverse students to make learning more relevant and effective” (Gay, 2000). understanding our "subjects" "There is a direct relationship between the expansion of knowledge, the expansion of trade and the expansion of empire" (Smith 88) Pedagogy refers to a deliberate attempt to influence how and what knowledge and identities are produce within and among particular sets of social relations. It can be understood as a practice through which people are incited to acquire a particular “moral character.” As both a political and practical activity, it attempts to influence the occurrence and qualities of experiences. When one practices pedagogy, one acts with the intent of creating experiences that will organize and disorganize a variety of understandings of our natural and social world in particular ways…Pedagogy is a concept which draws attention to the processes through which knowledge is produced (Giroux & Simon 1989) "Culturally based curriculum is, in fact, a misnomer, since all curricula are culturally based. The key questions is: Whose culture is it based on?" (Lipka, Yanez, Andrew-Ihrke & Adam 2009, p 264) Math in a CULTURE Context (MCC): The Yup'ik eskimo project "We do not attempt to teach elders' knowledge; elders are best equipped to teach their knowledge. However, what we try to accomplish is an authentic representation of both local and Western knowledge, bringing them together..."(Lipka et al, 2009, p. 266) "Local or indigenous knowledges are even more at risk now than ever before. According to Vandana Shiva, 'Over and above rendering local knowledge invisible by declaring it non-existent or illigitimate, the dominant system also makes alternatives disappear by erasing and destroying the reality which they attempt to represent' " (Smith, 2007, p. 100)
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