POPULAR EDUCATION AND KNOWLEDGE IN COMMONS | Mao Mollona & Rebecca Tarlau, Lea Ana Blaustein, Zeynep Tul Sualp, Alessandro Mariano

School of Mutation within the framework of the iteration Future of Art & Cultural Institution. The online meeting is on Tuesday, July 21 at 16:00 CET; 10:00 US; 11:00 Argentina & Brasil; 18:00 Istanbul. Facilitated by Mao Mollona, with Rebecca Tarlau, Lea Ana Blaustein, Zeynep Tul Sualp, Alessandro Mariano
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This session will bring in conversation the radical pedagogies of the Bachilleratos Populares in Argentina, the Landless Movement in Brazil and the Academic Without Campus (Kampussuzler) in Istanbul for the construction of a common imaginary of horizontal, grassroots, post-capitalist and non-Eurocentric practices of learning and study. 

Epistemologies of the South are those ecologies of knowledge that exist outside the western, patriarchal and capitalist episteme. They are varied and different, but they are all born out of struggle. For de Sousa Santos, they are ‘diverse practical, empirical, popular and vernacular knowledges with one feature in common: they were not produced separately, as knowledge practices separated from other practices’ (de Sousa Santos, 2018). In them, theory is inseparable from the grassroots struggles for the socialization of knowledge and life. Militant knowledge production is production in commons and for the commons. Epistemologies of the south are not just struggle for liberation of knowledge, they are also sociologies of absence – investigations of the radical invisibility and irrelevance produced by western colonialist and capitalist episteme. But in parallel to such sociology of absences, epistemologies of struggle points also at radical emergences – the new possibilities and potentialities associated for instance, with the decolonizing, feminist, workers and landless movements.

This iteration brings in conversation three popular pedagogies – three post-capitalist and decolonised modes of study (Meyeroff, 2019): the Bachilleratos Populares in Argentina, the Landless Movement in Brazil (MST) and the Academic Without Campus (Kampussuzler) in Istanbul. These three pedagogies have emerged in liberated zones, outside state control and in connection with powerful social movements. Although their social constituencies vary – some are rural some urban, some deal with primary education and other with higher education –they are all connected to feminist, anti-capitalist and decolonial struggles. Some have been incorporated and perhaps also co-opted, into those progressive/populist states emerged from such counter-hegemonic struggles. Some have maintained autonomy or even a healthy collaboration with it. Lastly, radical pedagogies are not educational, as in the western ‘banking model’ (Freire, 1970). But they involve practices of restorative justice, aimed at healing, curing and reconnecting what it has been torn apart by capitalist and colonial enclosures.

The aim of this panel is first, to generate an intercultural translation between these different epistemologies and imagine their possible ‘unity in difference’ and second, to imagine how these radical pedagogies can be invoked to liberate the Eurocentric, capitalist and patriarchal imaginary associated with contemporary Western educational institutions.

In particular, the panel will address the following questions:

  • What is the relationship between radical pedagogy and social movement activism? How do these forms of militant engagement with the world, overlap, intersect and dialogue?
  • Do states enhance or stifle radical pedagogy? And what is the desirable relationship between nation-states and popular schools?
  • What are these schools’ central principles of governance, methodologies and curricula? 
  • What can our western education system learn from these militant modes of learning?
  • What has been the impact of the pandemic on these popular schools?

Mao Mollona is Senior Lecturer in Anthropology at Goldsmiths’ College, London. His work focuses on politico-economic anthropology and film, especially on ideas of participation, labor, class and activism. He has done extensive fieldwork and several film projects in Brazil and the United Kingdom.

Rebecca Tarlau is an Assistant Professor at The Pennsylvania State University affiliated with the Adult Education and Lifelong Learning program, the Comparative and International Education Program, and the Center for Global Workers’ Rights. Her ethnographic research agenda has three broad areas of focus: (1) Theories of the State and State-Society Relations; (2) Social movements, Labor Education, and critical pedagogy; (3) Latin American education and development. She is the author ofOccupying School, Occupying Land: How the Landless Workers Movement Transformed Brazilian Education (2019, Oxford University Press).

Ana Lea Blaustein is Professor of Literature and Linguistics graduated from the University of Buenos Aires (UBA), she is a PHD candidate in Education at the same institution. She is a member of the Group of Studies on Social Movements and Popular Education (GEMSEP) and lecturer in the research seminar “Popular Education and Social Movements in Latin America” (Sociology-UBA). She also teaches Spanish as a foreign language and works in teacher training institutes. She was part of a team responsible for a research project selected by CLACSO-TNI-IEALC grant “Support Programme for Engaged Research: Struggles over Public Sphere in Latin America and the Caribbean” (2016-2017). Her research interests include literacy practices, youth and adults’ education, popular education and social movements. She worked in Bachilleratos Populares (Secondary Schools for Youth and Adults) for nearly ten years.

Z. Tül Akbal Süalp has a BA degree in Psychology and studied Political Science, Cinema Studies and Sociology in New York and İstanbul in MA and PhD levels and taught cinema, media and cultural studies in various Universities in Istanbul.  Since 2016 Spring She has become part of the members of Academics with no Campus (KAMPÜSSÜZLER) Academics with No-Campus is an initiative mainly organized by people who have been dismissed from their university positions in Turkey because they signed a petition entitled “Academics for Peace–We will not be a party to this crime”We insist that learning could take place only through a process within which theory and practice reinforce and feed each other. We aim at the wholeness, mutuality and relationality at all stages of the formation and dissemination of knowledge.

Alessandro Mariano National Education Sector for the Brazilian Landless Workers Movement.