OverviewTranscriptTranslationResources

Today I speak with Elizabeth Sumida Huaman and Tessie Naranjo about indigenous women and research. They have co-edited the latest issue of the International Journal of Human Rights Education, which was released last week.

Elizabeth Sumida Huaman is an associate professor of Comparative and International Development Education at the University of Minnesota. An Indigenous education researcher, her work focuses on the link between Indigenous lands and natural resources, languages, and cultural and educational practices in the North and South America. Tessie Naranjo lives in northern New Mexico and is an internationally recognized Indigenous community education, language revitalization, and arts advocate. She is a founder of the Pueblo Indian Studies Program at Northern New Mexico College where she served as faculty, and former co-Director of the Northern Pueblos Institute.

Citation: Huaman, Elizabeth Sumida & Naranjo, Tessie, interview with Will Brehm, FreshEd, 179, podcast audio, November 4, 2019. https://freshedpodcast.com/indigenouswomen/

Will Brehm 2:55
Elizabeth Sumida Huaman and Tessie Naranjo, welcome to FreshEd.

Elizabeth Sumida Huaman 3:00
Thank you for having us, Will.

Tessie Naranjo 3:01
I am glad to be here.

Will Brehm 3:03
So, let’s start by talking about colonization – a big topic. In your new co-edited volume, in your introduction, you call it a “strategy of imperialism that has left an indelible mark on colonized lands and people.” What sort of narratives has colonization constructed about indigenous peoples and lands?

Elizabeth Sumida Huaman 3:25
I can address that. We talked about this a little bit in our introduction, but I think maybe one of the things that we can clarify is that we’d like to differentiate colonization as a set of actions or patterns that empires will use towards expansion of their empire, and oftentimes that’s bounded by time. So, there is a period of colonization, and then what we’ve seen around the world in different national contexts, is that there’s then a time of decolonization or post-colonization, often referred to as “independence.” I think what Tessie and I are referring to, and what our authors are speaking to, is a condition called “coloniality.” And so, there is an Argentinian scholar that Tessie and I use; his name is Walter Mignolo, and he talks about “coloniality,” which is the ongoing condition of colonial oppression and struggle that’s exemplified through four domains. So, these are four areas where indigenous peoples are encountering resistance and struggle. So, we think very closely about those four domains as: control of economy, which includes manipulation of land and natural resources; control of authority, which is the creation of institutions – political and legal institutions, as well as military; this creation of what is considered normative, so that oftentimes is heavily influenced by ideas of religion, as well as gender and sexuality; and then, this control over knowledge, which is oftentimes most clearly exemplified by the construction of education, and what constitutes knowledge. So, in our issue, we really think very closely about how indigenous peoples are speaking to, or speaking back to, conditions of coloniality in all of those areas. And all of our authors, I think, write about those areas in one way or another. So, they address, really, that entire system of domains, and they address coloniality as a whole, but taking up different lenses. So, one of the things that I think is really important for us to think about is not just how coloniality has left, or leaves us, in a condition where there is that, you know, as we might refer to, this mark on lands and peoples. “Lands” meaning the impact to our natural resources: you know, our earth, our water, our animals, our skies, and so forth. But then also peoples, meaning bodies and psyches. And I think what’s really critical is that our authors who put forth their work so lovingly, speak to that condition. They speak to coloniality in some way or another. And so, for example, we have one author, June Lorenzo, who is from Laguna Pueblo, who talks about this idea, counters this idea, that land and natural resources are only for human exploitation or for capital gain. And she writes about uranium mining in her own village of Paguate in Laguna Pueblo. And we also have authors like Robin Minthorn and Heather Shotton, who take up this idea. So, they would be countering this normative view of gender and sexuality. And primarily, this idea of women in leadership; they take up this idea that you know, women are not leaders because they are not visible, for example, or as visible as men. And they really challenge that.

Tessie Naranjo 7:25
Well, I was thinking about answering the question in terms of fences. I am from one of the pueblos in northern New Mexico, and I have enough knowledge about the history of our place. And I was thinking about when the colonizers came in, first the Spaniards, and then later on the white Americans. And the idea of fences became a part of our understanding. Reluctantly. And so, I was thinking of fences in terms of creating borders and boundaries, and I was thinking of how these fences psychologically make us feel less than.

Will Brehm 8:15
It is interesting. I mean putting up these fences and borders and boundaries and feeling “less than” when thinking about coloniality. And Tessie and Elizabeth, you both sort of mentioned issues of knowledge and even education. And so, you know, I want to ask a little bit about how coloniality has impacted the very meaning of research. So perhaps, Elizabeth, maybe you can start.

Elizabeth Sumida Huaman 8:44
Sure. So, in terms of how coloniality has impacted research, you know, Tessie and I are, we are community members, and we are educators, and we write as well. And we think. And we speak. I think that you know, but we also come from places. We come from very strong peoples and places that we have very strong connections to. And I think one of the ways that coloniality has shaped dominant understanding of research is to devalue those places, and to devalue our interactions as intellectual beings, as spiritual beings, with those places. So, there are wonderful scholars, some of them in our special issue. Others like Linda Smith, who is a very highly regarded Māori scholar, who has really informed our thinking around decolonizing research approaches, who do that work very well. And they help us to understand how research can be transformed by indigenous peoples. I think one of the issues that we encounter consistently as indigenous peoples is that our knowledge isn’t really knowledge – that what we know, and how we’ve managed to live in a particular place over time, isn’t necessarily something that is considered valuable. You know, it’s this idea that: well, maybe indigenous peoples didn’t really know that much about their environment, or they lived in a way that was haphazard, or they were lucky. When in reality, indigenous peoples have very strong systems and ways of interacting and of living and of thriving in places. And I think that that’s one of the key issues that we are interested in as community members is this idea that we, too, have had research for a very long time as indigenous peoples. We maybe didn’t call it “research.” There’s lots of different ways in our languages that we think about inquiry, and we think about knowledge production. But I also think that there are different reasons that we sought to understand, or to know something, and there were different uses for what we did learn.

Will Brehm 11:15
I mean, it is interesting, the idea that you know, this coloniality, the domain of the normative, as you were saying earlier, and how that has sort of narrowed the very meaning of what science is, to, you know, the scientific method or Western science. But, in fact, there’s so many other and diverse ways of knowledge, of inquiry, of what we might call research, very broadly. And, you know, your special issue really sort of draws out all of these different, diverse traditions of what research could be, and has actually been marginalized by this sort of normative stance of what modern research is supposed to look like.

Tessie Naranjo 11:57
Well, I was thinking about the community that I come from and the pueblo world, that I know more about than any other tribal group. And I was thinking about how we have our own way of researching, so that we understand our place and our land, and I was thinking that our methods are different from that non-tribal world. And I was thinking of how we are more circular in our thinking, we are more fluid in our thinking, and in contrast to the Western way of researching, which is, I don’t know if you call it regimented, but it’s different than the way that we understand how to do things. And I will give you maybe an example or so of how we have learned to live off the land. For example, the irrigation. We are a traditional agricultural people, and so how we learn how to grow corn and beans and squash is something that we learn through experimentation. And so, “researching,” if you want to call it that, has been very much a part of our lives. And in terms of, for example, the pottery making that is a traditional part of our lives: how we’ve learned how to mix clays, and how we’ve learned how to use the plants for coloring the designs on our pots, all of that is a researching. Our place, our land, so that we know what its resources are. Our methods are different, but it is researching, nevertheless.

Elizabeth Sumida Huaman 13:50
Will, you know, to speak to your point about the Western scientific method, I think Tessie really exemplifies that with her description of pueblo knowledge and living as agricultural people. I think that one of the things that is really disturbing that we’re seeing about the condition of the earth. And what we are seeing in terms of environmental catastrophe today is the distancing of our relationship from our respect and our regard for place. Our respect and our regard for natural resources and land as living beings. And I think that one of the things that, you know, Western science is not our enemy. Western science in many ways, scientists today, I think, are starting to wake up to, and have been, you know, at least for the last several decades. There are voices and people who are talking about. And they are naming it different things. So, they are calling it things like biocultural diversity, you know, or concentric ecology, for example. So, there are people who are understanding and delving more deeply into this idea of relationships. And I think that indigenous peoples, because of our relationships and our regard and our exercise of values, we don’t just talk about the values of respect or the values of love for the things around us. We have ceremonies, we have activities, we have daily things that we do as community members and as individuals, that put those into practice. And I think that people are seeing the importance and the value of that, and certainly, our authors are seeing that. So, for example, we have Danelle Cooper and her coauthors, her wonderful professor-mentors, who have really shaped a beautiful submission that highlights a couple of different sacred places, one of them being Mauna Kea in Hawaii. And we see there the tension between Western science and this drive to build, you know, super telescopes and more telescopes, and things that can really help humans to explore the universe in ways that assume that indigenous peoples didn’t have the capacity, or the technology, to do that. And I think we are talking about different purposes and different uses of technology, different definitions of technology. And I think so much of it comes back to purpose: Why do we seek knowledge? Why do we think about science the way we do? What is the ultimate goal for us? And for many of us who are really attempting to reclaim those connections to the beautiful things around us, and to appreciate the gift of life that we’ve been given, the purpose is to sustain life and to live a life of values and quality where, you know, children and communities and all the creatures can flourish. So, I don’t know that it’s necessarily a clash of Western science because Western science can be used as a tool of and as a resource for us. But it is: what is the purpose, you know? And I think that you know, those of us who were colonized by the Spanish – and there were many communities that were colonized by the Spanish back in the 1500s – you know, we joke about the Spanish being some of the very early colonial researchers. They were very early anthropologists, and they would ask questions, you know, there’s lists of questions that you can see in the archives. What were the questions that they would ask of community members? You know, they would ask questions like … and they knew, they knew that we had a relationship with place. So, for example, our mountain deities are called Apus, and so they would say, “Okay, we know this Apu. You know, the Quechua people, for example, believe that this Apu has a wife and children and so forth. We know that you know, the Quechua people believe that these mountains are families.” And they would ask the question, “Well, okay, what is the name of this Apu? Who is his wife? You know, who are his children?” And then they would say, “And where are his treasures?” And we can see a very early and primitive approach to science, a primitive approach to social science, a primitive approach to inquiry, that is material gain based. And I don’t think that you know, indigenous peoples today – what our authors, especially the authors who are participating in this special issue – are really interested in, is reclaiming our connection. For the purpose of, not just survival, but of really honoring our existence, and the existence of the things that are in creation.

Will Brehm 18:58
I mean, I love that idea of sustaining life rather than exploiting and advancing economic gain in anyway. I mean, you know, it is a very different purpose, as you said. So, Elizabeth, could you talk a little bit about why, in this special issue, you and Tessie basically situate indigenous women at the center of this conversation, in a way. Can you speak a little bit about why that is the case?

Elizabeth Sumida Huaman 19:22
Sure. So, Tessie and I were very interested in promoting and supporting a special issue that involves indigenous women because we are indigenous women. And we do research, we interact with community members, we work with institutions that serve indigenous peoples. And we do that from our own experience. And I can speak for myself to say that I began doing work with generations of Quechua  grandmothers – people from my own communities – and I was very interested in, “Well, if I’m having these kinds of experiences and thoughts as an indigenous woman, as a descendant of these women that I’m speaking with, what might be the unique lenses that indigenous women bring to the conversation? Are other women having these kinds of questions? Are they having these kinds of discussions? What feelings are coming up that might be distinct to indigenous women, particularly women who are from the communities where they’re doing the research, or who are serving the people that they hope their research will highlight in some way, uplift, bring forward?” So that’s one of the reasons why I became interested in working on this project with Tessie. And of course, I’ve held her in such high regard for so many years, and have heard the stories of her talking about her mother and her grandmother, and how she was raised by very important people, women who lived daily lives. And similarly, in my own family background, I was raised by people and had a grandmother, who is no longer with us, and aunties, who are people living daily lives in community. Experiencing certain struggles that in many ways are distinct, gender-based struggles for women in my community; I will only speak from my experience. And you know, these are women that, they are not necessarily scholars, they are not necessarily researchers. But in many ways, I think both Tessie and I wanted to pay homage to what we’ve learned from them as well. And to bring together women in this special issue that also come from somewhere, that also have aunties, that also have grandmothers, that also themselves are living daily experiences, and encountering struggles and challenges as women, and that they too have something to offer a broader conversation that is often very lofty – that’s considered very lofty, and academic, and intellectual – which is a conversation about human rights.

Will Brehm 22:22
Tessie, would you like to add anything?

Tessie Naranjo 22:24
Well, I’d first like to get started in my thoughts, and knowing that, in the pueblo world, our world is constructed with the feminine in mind, the female in mind. So, it is a natural understanding that it is the female who is a part of our beginnings. And so, I’ll start with that. And then, Elizabeth invited me to be part of this project; I did not know what I was getting into. But I was resistant, admittedly, because I thought it was too much for me, because I am pretty much, home is important to me, and I don’t stray too far from home. But in the reading, and the helping edit the articles that were submitted, I began to feel that I had the best opportunity to look at what other indigenous females were very passionate about in the work that they were doing to better the lives of their home communities. And I got all of this understanding in appreciation of the feminine through my great grandmother, who was born in 1867, and then raised my mother. Because my mother was raised by my great grandmother, who did not know how to talk English or any other language, except my language, which is Tewa. I have very much appreciation for the strength of the women in my family, as well as for the strength of women in all other tribal communities, and we are doing our part as individuals, whatever place we live at, and whatever our passion is, whatever fight, whatever cause we want to get involved in. I have been able to look at all of these, or read all of these, articles, and just I am so proud of the dedication of the females who have submitted their articles, showing that they are lifelong contributors to bettering the health of their communities.

Will Brehm 24:59
Recently, I guess, I have noticed a lot of talk about indigenous research through, or within, international organizations, like the United Nations. And I just wonder in your opinion, to what extent is the United Nations, and even places like the World Bank – I have seen them promoting ideas of indigenous research, as well. And, you know, what is your take on it? How does that all fit in? Is it helpful? Is it problematic in ways? You know, how do you see the sort of the international push, through international law and human rights groups, advocating for, and supporting, indigenous research and knowledge?

Elizabeth Sumida Huaman 25:41
So, there is undoubtedly value to international organizations like the United Nations, that are comprised of, and promote and highlight and create spaces for dialogue, that involve indigenous peoples and recognize indigenous peoples as actors in their own self-determination. There is absolutely a place for that. And I think there is a lot of tremendous work that’s been done by the United Nations. For example, the folks who worked on, including one of our authors, June Lorenzo, who worked on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. And at the same time, I think that we have to recognize what era we’re in. So indigenous human rights, or indigenous rights, are considered to be third generation, the third generation of human rights discourse. So, the first generation, you know, in many ways, really focused on what we might think of as these very normative approaches to rights. So, the first generation was really about political and civil liberties. We also hear a lot about European constructions of rights in terms of male property rights; you know, that is very early on. And then the second generation of rights is really about social and economic rights, as well as equality for women and so forth. But I think it is very telling that indigenous rights are only recently, in many ways, being recognized as this third generation of rights. And I do think that many organizations, and lots of different bodies that are involved with bringing forward indigenous issues and struggles for self-determination, do very good work. But I think there’s conditions to that. I think that those organizations, or really any organization – it could be a grassroots community organization – really needs to have some sort of awareness and be very explicit around certain starting point questions. So, for example, what are rights? What are even rights? What is law, for example? How are those things conceptualized and named by indigenous peoples, representative of indigenous communities, at all levels? And how do those reflect principles that are embedded in indigenous languages? So, is that explicit in the work? I think another point that is really critical is that we also have to think about indigenous self-determination and the role that indigenous self-determination plays in those organizations, which refers to the ability of people to decide how they want to live their lives. And is that an explicit part of the conversation. As well, in any organization, are there clear reporting of biases? Is there also another explicit conversation around power, for example? So, who speaks for indigenous peoples? Who represents indigenous peoples? What constitutes indigenous communities? And how are decisions made? What kinds of questions are being asked? What kinds of goals are being identified? So, I think that there is several different areas of consideration that need to be explicitly laid out if organizations are going to attempt to be less problematic.

Will Brehm 29:30
So, Tessie, I want to bring you into this conversation, and ask a little bit about this concept of land and place, and why it’s such an important concept in indigenous research and education.

Tessie Naranjo 29:40
Well, in thinking about that question, I was thinking about, we have a local tribally run school here in my community. And I go to visit the community school every once in a while, and I love what is happening in the school because the children are learning about who they are and what their place is. Knowing how to appreciate their place, and knowing what it means to have a place, and have an appreciation for that. I was thinking about my mother. I would ask her the question, “What is important, Gia?” And Gia is “mother” in Tewa. She would tell me, “Children,” and I didn’t appreciate that as much as I do in my older age, but it was a very profound response to that question, although I didn’t think so at the time. But it is about kids. It is about children that you teach so that they can move forward and pass on the information so that, as they become adults, they can then become the leaders within the community. So that children, I would say, like by mother, children are probably the most important persons to guide, so that they can then maintain the village as they are growing up, when they grow up. That is what I can say about response to that question. But it is very important, I think, to pass on the knowledge of any community in whatever way you can: Who you are. Names of places in your land area. What your name is, for example. Like in the school, everyone has their tribal name. I can give you example of my tribal name and what it means to me because it talks about place and land. My name is Pae Ojegi in Tewa. I was born in January. My great grandmother, that I talked about earlier, took me to greet the sun and to name me. But we have a deer dance in the wintertime. The deer were passing from the mountains, and these, of course, are humans, dressed with horns on and sticks to emulate the deer coming to visit us in the village. And so, as they were coming by, she looked at the deer passing by, and she said to my mother, “We shall name this Pae Ojegi. Pae Ojegi is “deer with frost on its horns,” and I have loved that name all of my life because it represents the time, the cycles that we live, continuously – we live according to the seasons. And because I was given my name, Pae Ojegi, I am always reminded, whenever I see a deer, for example, the importance of that moment when the men dressed like deer were entering the village. This is a long example to talk about what the children in the small grade school are trying to learn. They are trying to learn about place and land. And they can learn it through names and other things that we are able to teach so that these kids one more time, as my mother said, can pass the knowledge from within our community and pass it forward.

Will Brehm 33:38
So, Elizabeth Sumida Huaman and Tessie Naranjo, thank you so much for joining FreshEd. It really was an honor and a pleasure to talk today. And congratulations on your latest special issue.

Tessie Naranjo 33:49
Thank you, Will.

Elizabeth Sumida Huaman 33:50
Urpillay sonqollay, Will. Really appreciate it and thank you so much to our authors and their families and their communities.

Want to help translate this show? Please contact info@freshedpodcast.com
Have useful resources related to this show? Please send them to info@freshedpodcast.com

 

OverviewTranscriptFrançais TranscriptionResources
Today I speak with Arathi Sriprakash, a lecturer in the sociology of education at the University of Cambridge.

Arathi co-edited with Keita Takayama and Raewyn Connel a special issue of Comparative Education Review on post-colonialism in the field of comparative and international education.

The special issue shows that the field of comparative and international education continues to have many colonial entanglements, which have gone unrecognized in most accounts. Colonial logics underpinned many of the field’s founding figures and contemporary forms of modernization theory continue to be widely assumed today:. Knowledge is produced in the global north, often with data taken from the global south; theory is reserved for northern scholars; and some societies, like CIES in North America, have held more power over smaller societies from Asia and Africa. In most aspects of the field, we continue to see uneven power dynamics of where and how knowledge is produced by whom and with what effect.

The special issue argues that post-colonial theory, broadly defined, can help overcome the continued prevalence of colonialism in the field today.  The co-editors call for a rethinking of the way knowledge is produced in CIE.

Arathi joined FreshEd to detail some of the ideas in the special issue.

Citation: Sriprakash, Arathi, interview with Will Brehm, FreshEd, 57, podcast audio, January 23, 2017. https://www.freshedpodcast.com/arathisriprakash/

Will Brehm 1:55
Arathi Sriprakash, welcome to FreshEd.

Arathi Sriprakash 1:57
Thanks, Will.

Will Brehm 1:59
So, what is the typical narrative of the history of comparative education? How do people in the field normally understand the history of the field itself?

Arathi Sriprakash 2:11
Well, as we as we outline and now opening piece at the of the Special Issue, the foundational story of the field of Comparative Ed is one that is very much seen as Western in terms of the main protagonists and their ideas and approaches. So, for example, we see the typical story of the foundation of the field, well certainly the one found in major textbooks. It begins with a work of French thinker, Marc-Antoine Jullien, whose plan and preliminary views for a work on comparative education, which was published in 1817 emphasized the need for a kind of scientific study of education during the Enlightenment paradigm of modernity. And then from there other prominent figures that make an entry later in the story of the foundation of the field in the 20th century include Michael Sadler, Isaac Kandel, Nicholas Hans, George Bereday amongst a host of familiar names. And so, all of these figures significantly were trained and working in the global north. And so, what we’re exploring in this special issue is how what’s often missing in this narrative about the field of the ways that non-English language and non-Western scholarship in education has shaped the field from its inception. And also, when accounts of non-Western projects of comparative ed are included in the field’s history, these are somehow seen as a separate development – an occurrence that can be added on to the main story if you like. And the effect of this is that the story remains one that locates comparative education as a particularly Western scientific development. So, the concern that Keita and Raewyn and I had when we were thinking about the Special Issue is that this kind of narrative of the field’s development obscures the very specific historical and geopolitical context in which comparative methodological advances were made. What we were trying to do is set up to explore how the narratives of the field erases its deep entanglements with colonial hierarchies, interests and modes of control, if you like.

Will Brehm 4:29
So, let’s dig into that a little bit more.  From my understanding, the field… there’s always an emphasis on context. How does our field, or how does the field of Comparative Education understand context? And perhaps, is that problematic? Is that part of this global north perspective?

Arathi Sriprakash 4:59
Good question. I think it’s really important to acknowledge that a respect for others has been a central concern of the field since it began. After all, comparativists consider it one of their responsibilities to provide fully contextual knowledge of other countries’ educational practices. So, you know, one can’t understand education separate from its social and cultural environment. And quite simply, the idea that ‘context matters’ is at the heart of Comparative Education. So, in this sense, Competitive Ed has a history of embracing what might be understood as a “relativist” epistemology. That’s the idea that knowledge is always relative to the particular conditions of knowing. And I think this is especially apparent in the founding scholars’ interest in the idea of a national character, meaning that education always needed to be adjusted according to the cultural context or the character of each nation. So certainly, the idea of context is at the heart of what we do in the field.

Will Brehm 6:03
So, is this where the idea of methodological nationalism would come in, where the unit of analysis is the nation and that’s how we see the different cultures are usually nation bound?

Arathi Sriprakash 6:17
There has been a strong tradition in the field of this what’s now called methodological nationalism. But there’s also been movements away from that. I think we’ve seen in the last decade or so an increasing interest in the transnational circulation of ideas. And I think this is important to recognize that we do have people working in the field who are not seeing the nation as the unit of analysis, or the unit of comparison, per se. I mean, we’ve also importantly, had very important work done in the field that has considered time as the unit of comparison where historical approaches have sought to understand the shifts in how education systems or practices have been differently understood over different periods of time within a nation or within a geographic context.

Will Brehm 7:12
And what has been the purpose of comparison in the way we understand the history of Comparative Education?

Arathi Sriprakash 7:21
Well, I’d say the purpose of comparison, specifically, deeply contextualized comparison is to better understand one’s own society. And this has in fact, been a long-standing underpinning ethos of the field. So, for example, one of the fields prominent scholars, George Bereday, argued in 1964, it’s self-knowledge born of the awareness of others that’s the finest lesson in Comparative Education. So, we can say that the field has in one sense emerged from an ethics of deep reflexivity. George Bereday went on to say that the aim of Comparative Education is to relax national pride in order to permit events and voices from abroad to count in the reappraisal and reexamination of schools in one’s own country. So, you can see that there is this engagement of learning about others in order to reflect upon oneself if you like.

Will Brehm 8:16
And it seems like that notion of comparing with others to reflect about oneself is very much bound up with the field’s many societies around the world. And these societies are usually geographically bound. So, in Europe, or in America, or in Australia they have the Oceania and in Japan they have a society. And so, there’s all these different Comparative Education societies, and in a sense it’s these different societies trying to learn from one another and they actually all come together and something that you wrote about, the World Congress of Comparative Education Societies. Can you tell us a little bit about the World Congress?

Arathi Sriprakash 9:08
Yes, so the World Congress, the WCCES, as many know acts as an umbrella body if you like for some 40 comparative and international education societies around the world, and I think what’s important for us to note is the core of the mission of the WCCES is to recognize and respect the plurality amongst its members. So, I guess the collective effort of the Comparative Education field is its respect for different national values, practices, histories and systems. So, this kind of respect for difference and inclusive kind of approach is certainly at the heart of the field and even in how the field is organized institutionally through societies and through the umbrella organization of the WCCES. However, what I want to say Will, is that I think what we in the field have failed to do as a collective enterprise is give more attention to the critical role that uneven power relations have played and continue to play in the making of comparative knowledge. So, for example, I’m thinking about the structural inequalities between the researcher and the research within our own work between the home country of the researchers and the so-called “targeted” countries of our scholarship. So, what I’m talking about is really the geopolitics of comparative knowledge production.

And I think about the dimension of power relations, these power relations, is how and why specific types of social science theories and methodologies becomes sponsored and taken up by the field over other forms of knowledge and approaches. And I think this is particularly important, especially in the current context, where we see the rise of ideas about evidence-based policy discourse, where academics’ scholarship is increasingly tied to interventions, not only by states, but by non-state agencies. So, the kinds of problems that get recognized and are deemed to be solvable over other kinds of problems; the sort of frames that we bring to understand the world and the kinds of solutions we sponsor in our work are very, very important. They have very real material effects, given the link between research and policy and intervention. So, I guess to put this simply, Comparative Education has been really great at acknowledging diversity, but I think it’s done less well at acknowledging the ways in which historically specific power relations really profoundly shape how knowledge about difference in the field is produced.

Will Brehm 12:04
Can you give an example of the geopolitics of the knowledge production that you’re talking about?

Arathi Sriprakash 12:12
Yes, so I guess if we look back through history, modern education systems and practices have had deep connections to colonial projects of control. So, historical research has shown how education was central to colonial administration, for example, in the British and French control of Africa and South Asia. And from the late 19th century, education scholars in particular, played a role in establishing educational systems in the colonized world. So, in the post-colonial context after World War II, research has also shown how education was a primary site of soft power. So, for example, in the 1950s, the US State Department contracted over 50 universities to work in underdeveloped countries worldwide. So systematically if you like, Western comparative educationalists operated as experts, in a way, who legitimized and spread particular ways of knowing the world. So, where knowledge is seen to reside, and how it is seen to kind of be legitimately spread, this is part of the geopolitics of knowledge production and circulation. So, particular scientific ideas about education in the name of progress development and modernization, these were all part of this kind of effort around postwar nation-building that was tied to the geopolitics of the time. I’d say that after the Cold War, such ideologically charged engagement with education overseas was arguably not so explicit. However, there have been scholars who have pointed out the ways in which contemporary Education Development is enmeshed in new securitization agendas and militarization agendas, and also how the resurgence of particular types of methodologies, particularly kind of the resurgence of quantitative methods in the field produces a particular type of knowledge that’s tied to neoliberal agendas of governance. The old saying goes, “the relationship between knowledge and power”. This is very much seen in how Comparative Education has been used, historically very much bound up in a broader politics of global change.

Will Brehm 14:40
Let’s take a short break. Each year, the Comparative and International Education Society holds elections for the position of Vice President. The way the Society is organized means that this person will automatically become the President of the Society after serving one year as Vice President. Every VP, in other words, steps up to hold the Presidency. So, VP elections are a big deal. This year, two outstanding candidates have been nominated David Post and Aaron Benavot. FreshEd will interview both David and Aaron about their plans for CIES if elected. In the run up to these interviews – which will air on February 6th – you can submit questions for me to ask both candidates. You can submit questions by tweeting @ FreshEdPodcast, or by emailing will@freshedpodcast.com. Questions have to be submitted by January 25th, so please hurry. Let’s return to my conversation with Arathi Sriprakash about colonialism in comparative and international education.
So, is one of the main problems here that indigenous knowledge is not recognized as being as valuable as the knowledge coming out of the global North?

Arathi Sriprakash 16:06
Yes. So, as Raewyn Connell emphasized a decade ago in her book Southern Theory, the global south is a rich and varied theoretical resource. But a review of Comparative Education research will quickly reveal the dominance of Northern theoretical tools and views. So, the South simply is seen as a side of data collection, the North as a side of theory generation. And this is indeed a matter of geopolitics. It’s about where expertise is seen to lie, where labor and institutions have funded, and how particular theories and methodologies are made legitimate, if you like, over others. And I guess to give you a contemporary example, there are currently huge national funding schemes in the United Kingdom, where I work, to sponsor social science research on international education. And what I found that is built into many of these schemes is an explicit requirement for so-called “capacity building”. Now, capacity building can take many forms, but it does have echoes of technical assistance programs in which Western scholars are positioned as the “experts” using their knowledge to build capacity in poor countries. Now, I can see that materially poor countries might benefit from infrastructural provision, but there is a risk that such discourses of capacity building in the research world positions the global South as somehow empty of its own epistemological resources for tackling those complex social problems that societies are facing. So, as such, the uneven power relations in the circulation and production of knowledge and education is reproduced. So once again, the South is seen as a side of data extraction, or intervention through the use of Northern theoretical expertise, and in fact, Northern labor.

Will Brehm 18:01
Yes, I feel like I see this all the time. And in fact, I must say, I admit to doing some of it. You know, using French theorists to try and understand what’s going on in Cambodia. And so, I feel like I’m also very much a part of that legacy of Comparative Education.

Arathi Sriprakash 18:24
Well, I mean, I think that’s it’s really important for us so to be reflecting on this because I too was trained in the work of Northern theorists. This still figures highly on our syllabuses within the field. And I think it’s important to recognize the ways these legacies shape our engagement in the field and how we ourselves are enmeshed in this. So this is not so much about instilling guilt within individual researchers, or trying to lay blame amongst individuals, but it is about recognizing the history of the field and understanding the deep politics in what we do so that we can strive to act ethically in our engagements moving forward.

Will Brehm 19:19
So, turning to the field, again, how do textbooks on Comparative Education understand these issues of uneven knowledge production and uneven power relations and theoretical devices being created in the global North and simply being applied to developing countries or the global South? Are these issues captured in the histories, or in the textbooks on Comparative Education? And more importantly, is there a recognition of indigenous knowledge in Comparative Education?

Arathi Sriprakash 20:01
Good question. I think there is a growing recognition of indigenous knowledges in some theories, even the role of postcolonial analyses in the field. There is an emerging discussion on this. But I would say that the way that it’s frequently configured is add on to the dominant narrative of the field emerging from the West. So, it might be that you’ve got the dominant narrative, but then there have been different ways of knowing, and it’s sort of an additive approach. I think, Raewyn Connell talks about this as a mosaic epistemology; that there are many different parts that make up a picture. So, this is one way to think about plurality, but I think in general, it doesn’t address head-on the relations of power that mean that some knowledge becomes more legitimate and is allowed to become dominant over others.

Will Brehm 21:14
One of the things that you do in this introduction to the Special Issue is, in a sense, give a retelling of one of the main founders of the field named Isaac Kandel. Can you tell us this, in a sense this “retelling” of his background?

Arathi Sriprakash 21:33
Yes, okay. So this is an interesting story that Keita actually did some work on and Kandel was a professor at Columbia’s Teachers College and was a lead researcher at the university’s International Institute in the 1920s up to the 1940s, I believe, and really reflecting the field’s interest in epistemological relativism that I mentioned the before – the idea of national cultures and characters. Kandel really did acknowledge national differences; he had this acceptance of plurality in his work at one level. This is certainly the narratives of the foundational scholars such as Kandel. But I think what’s important to recognize is that he was writing from a particular geopolitical position, so the International Institute in which he worked was involved in the administration and assessment of colonial education systems introduced by the US government, works that that by and large accepted the logics of US imperialism. So, what we start to see in Kandel’s work is that national difference was explained through cultural models. So, different cultural levels were used to explain the failure of particular nations in introducing a so-called “American system”. And it’s the American system that Kandel described as – and this is a quote – “the most advanced experiment in democratic education”. So, national difference then became understood as a kind of civilizational gap. So, if you weren’t able to have the most advanced system in your country, then this is somehow a reflection of a gap in your civilizational history or capacity. So, at the core of such ideas, even if they were implicit, rather than explicit, were racialized schemes of stages of maturity or stages of civilization in which colonial subjects were placed at the bottom of an evolutionary progression. So, even though we might see Kandel and other founding figures in the field as very much respecting diversity, these appeals to diversity – that recognition of national difference – are actually not without hierarchy. So, a relativist epistemology might appear to value diversity, but when it’s situated within its geopolitical context, we can actually see how it reproduces a colonial logic of difference and, in fact, subjugation.

Will Brehm 24:19
And with Isaac Kandel, that story, it also has the complex notion of “the expert”, where it’s Isaac Kandel himself who can help those “lower-tiered” civilizations move up using the right prescribed educational kind of remedies. And so, you have that notion too, which is so telling back then, but also so relevant to today’s world of Comparative Education scholars doing a lot of work in Educational Development where we see a similar sort of hierarchy and difference.

Arathi Sriprakash 25:10
Absolutely. And I think it’s in how our program is structured, it’s how funding circulates through the field, and there’s a real epistemological legacy here in the sense that modernization theory, even though it’s been highly contested over many decades, continues to be dominant – if not named – within the field currently. Because expertise is seen to lie in the West and the idea that the non-West would be modernizing or developing in this kind of linear, staged way, with these correct inputs from the West, I mean, this sort of relationship very much exist in the present day.

Will Brehm 25:59
Do you think that modernization theory is in a sense, in many respects, the assumed position of many researchers in the field?

Arathi Sriprakash 26:08
I think, if not consciously, then it’s something that is certainly enmeshed in our categories of analysis, in our approach; certainly in Comparative Ed when we’re thinking about systems in one country and think, “Okay, how might we reform an education system in another to look like the ideal?” So I certainly think it’s not necessarily something that scholars or researchers might set out to be enacting, but I certainly think it’s embedded in our frames of knowledge, and part of that comes back to this history of Comparative Education as having the normative West central to our idea of the world.

Will Brehm 27:06
So, some of this inequality, or this privileging of the North over other ways of knowing and thinking comes from this – like you’re saying – the structures that exist of Comparative Education. And so those structures can be, as we said earlier, the World Congress, and even there you show that there is an inequality in which societies have, in a sense, “power” within that umbrella organization.

Arathi Sriprakash 27:39
Yes, very much so. It’s also if we reflect on journal publications, some of the leading journals in our field published in English, they are run mostly in the UK and in North America, the editorial boards are largely made up of scholars from those countries. I think that these all create factors which allow western frames of knowing to dominate in the field.

Will Brehm 28:15
So, your new Special Issue tries to bring in ideas of postcolonialism into the field of Comparative Education. What is post colonialism in a nutshell?

Arathi Sriprakash 28:29
So, postcolonialism in a nutshell – I’d say that it’s about recognizing the historically specific relations of colonialism that led to, or deepened, inequalities between countries and peoples and groups, and having a deeper understanding of this history also allows us to see the active legacies of colonialism in the present day. So we might say that we are in the postcolonial era as in “after colonialism”, but there are continuing legacies of the colonial era that shape our present knowledge systems; the hierarchies around institutions, cultural practices; and even the ways in which we perhaps don’t use language of “uncivilized” and “civilized” anymore, but those hierarchies of culture and practice that  continue to be assumed, if not explicitly, implicitly, within the field.

Will Brehm 29:37
So you mentioned that we can recognize and reflect on the history of our field in our own work, but how else can we, in a sense, try and break free from this colonial past that is so clear, and that you articulated so clearly?

Arathi Sriprakash 29:59
Well, I think one part of it is to start considering what the role of Southern theory and indigenous knowledge might be for the field. And I suppose in saying that, what I do want to emphasize is that these terms, “Southern theory”, “indigenous knowledge”, they attempt to capture the many and rich sources of knowledge about the social world that have been located in the global South or/and amongst indigenous people. So, there is no one Southern theory or one indigenous knowledge. They’re not sources that are static, and unchanged by time, but just like any other knowledge system they’re historically situated and mutable. So, I guess by thinking about these areas of knowledge as legitimate and important resources for the field, we start to decenter the Global north in the process of knowledge production. And I think this has been done fairly well by the decolonial school that has emerged most prominently in Latin America, which has used the “culture of the colonized” to critique the coloniality of knowledge, if you like.

Will Brehm 31:15
So, you think that these sorts of approaches could help Comparative Education as a field? Kind of embrace postcolonialism and maybe make knowledge more diverse and open and have new ideas?

Arathi Sriprakash 31:37
Yes, okay, so I think there’s a few things that it could do. Firstly, the use of such non dominant theoretical framework – Southern theories, indigenous knowledges, etc. – can work to undermine the uneven power relations that naturalizes the intellectual division of labor in the field, the idea that we talked about where Western scholars have seen as “experts”, somehow that the expertise lies in the West and can be applied to the global South. So, in that sense, it sort of interrupts the taken-for-grantedness of Western expertise in the work in Comparative Education. Secondly, I think that such knowledge helps to provincialize what’s otherwise seen as a universalist epistemology; the idea that Western theory is universally applicable. Well, I think this is an idea that gets shaken up, and I think it recognizes that there are different ways in which the complex social problems of the world can be addressed. And I think lastly, the recognition of Southern theory and indigenous knowledges revalues knowledge that has been subjugated by colonial power relations over different periods and times. So, whether we’re talking about colonialism, relations of neocolonialism and what we’re seeing in the contemporary context neoliberal governance which is narrowing particular forms of knowledge. I think this is about that difficult task of countering what Gayatri Spivak terms “epistemic violence”, in which the knowledge and understanding of the Southern majority are dismissed, and the South is continued to be positioned as the colonial “other”. So, it’s really about disrupting that hierarchy of the South as “other”, if you like. So, what we’re calling for here is an ongoing conversation about how the field can recognize its colonial entanglements and work towards this sort of postcolonial engagement.

Will Brehm 33:56
Well, it sounds like a very exciting future direction for our field, so Arathi Sriprakash thank you so much for joining FreshEd.

Arathi Sriprakash 34:06
Thanks very much, Will.

Will Brehm 1:55
Arathi Sriprakash, bienvenue à FreshEd.

Arathi Sriprakash 1:57
Merci, Will.

Will Brehm 1:59
Donc, quel est le récit typique de l’histoire de l’éducation comparée ? Comment les personnes travaillant dans ce domaine comprennent-elles normalement l’histoire du domaine lui-même?

Arathi Sriprakash 2:11
Eh bien, comme nous l’avons souligné et comme nous entamons désormais le numéro spécial, l’histoire fondamentale du domaine de l’éducation comparée est très largement assimilée à l’Occident en ce qui concerne les principaux protagonistes, leurs idées et leurs approches. Ainsi, par exemple, nous voyons l’histoire typique de la fondation du domaine, et certainement celle que l’on trouve dans les principaux manuels scolaires. Elle débute avec un ouvrage du penseur français Marc-Antoine Jullien, dont le plan et les vues préliminaires pour un ouvrage sur l’éducation comparée, qui a été publié en 1817, ont souligné le besoin d’une sorte d’étude scientifique de l’éducation pendant le paradigme des Lumières de la modernité. Et puis de là, d’autres personnalités éminentes qui entrent plus tard dans l’histoire de la fondation du domaine au XXe siècle, dont Michael Sadler, Isaac Kandel, Nicholas Hans, George Bereday parmi une foule de noms familiers. Ainsi, toutes ces personnalités ont été entraînées et ont travaillé dans le Nord. Ce que nous explorons dans ce numéro spécial est donc la façon dont ce qui manque souvent dans ce récit sur le domaine, c’est la façon dont les langues non anglaises et les bourses non occidentales dans le domaine de l’éducation ont façonné le domaine depuis sa création. De plus, quand des projets non occidentaux d’éducation comparée sont inclus dans l’histoire du domaine, ils sont en quelque sorte considérés comme un développement séparé – un événement qui peut être ajouté à l’histoire principale si vous le souhaitez. Et l’effet de ceci est que l’histoire reste celle qui situe l’éducation comparée comme un développement scientifique particulièrement occidental. Ainsi, le souci que Keita, Raewyn et moi-même avions quand nous avons pensé au numéro spécial est que ce genre de récit du développement du domaine obscurcit le contexte historique et géopolitique très spécifique dans lequel les avancées méthodologiques comparatives ont été faites. Ce que nous essayions de faire, c’est d’explorer comment les récits du terrain effacent ses enchevêtrements profonds avec les hiérarchies coloniales, les intérêts et les modes de contrôle, si vous voulez.

Will Brehm 4:29
Donc, creusons un peu plus ce sujet.  D’après ce que je comprends, le domaine… il y a toujours une emphase sur le contexte. Comment notre domaine, ou comment le domaine de l’éducation comparative, comprend-il le contexte ? Et peut-être est-ce problématique ? Est-ce que cela fait partie de cette perspective globale du Nord?

Arathi Sriprakash 4:59
Bonne question. Je crois qu’il est vraiment essentiel de reconnaître que le respect des autres a été une préoccupation centrale du domaine depuis ses débuts. Après tout, les comparativistes considèrent qu’il est de leur responsabilité de fournir une connaissance pleinement contextuelle des pratiques éducatives des autres pays. Vous savez donc qu’on ne peut pas comprendre l’éducation sans tenir compte de son environnement social et culturel. Et tout simplement, l’idée que “le contexte importe” est au cœur de l’éducation comparée. En ce sens, l’éducation compétitive a toujours embrassé ce qui pourrait être compris comme une épistémologie “relativiste”. C’est l’idée que la connaissance est toujours relative aux conditions particulières de la connaissance. Et je crois que cela est particulièrement évident dans l’intérêt des universitaires fondateurs pour l’idée d’un caractère national, ce qui signifie que l’éducation doit toujours être ajustée en fonction du contexte culturel ou du caractère de chaque nation. Il est donc certain que l’idée de contexte est au cœur de ce que nous faisons sur le terrain.

Will Brehm 6:03
Donc, c’est là qu’intervient l’idée de nationalisme méthodologique, où l’unité d’analyse est la nation et c’est ainsi que nous voyons que les différentes cultures sont généralement associées à une nation?

Arathi Sriprakash 6:17
Il y a eu une forte tradition dans le domaine de ce que l’on appelle aujourd’hui le nationalisme méthodologique. Mais il y a aussi eu des mouvements qui s’en sont écartés. Je crois que nous avons remarqué, depuis une dizaine d’années, un intérêt croissant pour la circulation transnationale des idées. Et je pense qu’il est essentiel de reconnaître que nous avons des gens qui œuvrent dans ce domaine et qui ne considèrent pas la nation comme l’unité d’analyse, ou l’unité de comparaison, en soi. Je veux dire, nous avons aussi, et c’est essentiel, fait faire des travaux très importants dans le domaine qui ont considéré le temps comme l’unité de comparaison, où les approches historiques ont cherché à comprendre les changements dans la manière dont les systèmes ou les pratiques d’éducation ont été compris différemment sur différentes périodes de temps au sein d’une nation ou dans un contexte géographique.

Will Brehm 7:12
Et quel a été le but de la comparaison dans la façon dont nous comprenons l’histoire de l’éducation comparée?

Arathi Sriprakash 7:21
Eh bien, je dirais que le but de la comparaison, plus précisément de la comparaison profondément contextualisée, est de mieux comprendre sa propre société. Et c’est en fait un principe de base de longue date dans ce domaine. Ainsi, par exemple, l’un des plus éminents spécialistes du domaine, George Bereday, a affirmé en 1964 que la meilleure leçon de l’éducation comparative est la connaissance de soi, née de la conscience des autres. On peut donc dire que ce domaine est en quelque sorte issu d’une éthique de la réflexivité profonde. George Bereday a poursuivi en déclarant que le but de l’éducation comparée est d’assouplir la fierté nationale afin de permettre aux événements et aux voix de l’étranger de compter dans la réévaluation et le réexamen des écoles de son propre pays. Vous pouvez donc voir qu’il y a cet engagement à apprendre sur les autres afin de réfléchir sur soi-même si vous le souhaitez.

Will Brehm 8:16
Et il paraît que cette notion de comparaison avec les autres pour penser à soi-même est très liée aux nombreuses sociétés du domaine dans le monde. Et ces sociétés sont généralement liées géographiquement. Ainsi, en Europe, ou en Amérique, ou en Australie, il y a l’Océanie et au Japon, il y a une société. Et donc, il y a toutes ces différentes sociétés d’éducation comparée, et dans un sens, ce sont ces différentes sociétés qui essaient d’apprendre les unes des autres et elles se réunissent en fait toutes ensemble et quelque chose que vous avez écrit, le Congrès mondial des sociétés d’éducation comparée. Pouvez-vous nous en dire un peu plus sur le Congrès mondial ?

Arathi Sriprakash 9:08
Oui, donc le Congrès mondial, le CMAEC, comme beaucoup le savent, agit comme un organisme de tutelle si vous voulez pour quelque 40 sociétés d’éducation comparée et internationale dans le monde, et je pense que ce qui est important pour nous de noter est que le cœur de la mission du CMAEC est de reconnaître et de respecter la pluralité parmi ses membres. Donc, je pense que l’effort collectif du domaine de l’éducation comparée est son respect des différentes valeurs, pratiques, histoires et systèmes nationaux. Ce respect de la différence et cette approche inclusive sont certainement au cœur du domaine, et même dans la façon dont le domaine est structuré institutionnellement à travers les sociétés et l’organisation faîtière du CMAEC. Toutefois, ce que je veux dire, Will, c’est que je pense que ce que nous avons échoué à faire sur le terrain en tant qu’entreprise collective, c’est d’accorder plus d’attention au rôle critique que les relations de pouvoir inégales ont joué et continuent de jouer dans l’élaboration de la connaissance comparative. Ainsi, par exemple, je pense aux inégalités structurelles entre le chercheur et la recherche au sein de notre propre travail entre le pays d’origine des chercheurs et les pays dits “ciblés” de notre bourse. Ce dont je parle, c’est en fait de la géopolitique de la production de connaissances comparatives.

Et je pense à la dimension des relations de pouvoir, ces relations de pouvoir, c’est comment et pourquoi des types spécifiques de théories et de méthodologies des sciences sociales sont parrainés et repris par le terrain par rapport à d’autres formes de connaissances et d’approches. Et je pense que c’est particulièrement important, surtout dans le contexte actuel, où nous assistons à la montée des idées sur le discours politique basé sur les faits, où les travaux des universitaires sont de plus en plus liés aux interventions, non seulement des États, mais aussi des agences non étatiques. Ainsi, les types de problèmes qui sont reconnus et jugés comme pouvant être résolus par rapport à d’autres types de problèmes ; le type de cadres que nous apportons pour comprendre le monde et les types de solutions que nous parrainons dans notre travail sont très, très significatifs. Ils ont des effets matériels très réels, étant donné le lien entre la recherche et la politique et l’intervention. Donc, pour dire les choses simplement, l’éducation comparée a été très efficace pour reconnaître la diversité, mais je crois qu’elle l’est moins pour reconnaître la manière dont les relations de pouvoir historiquement spécifiques façonnent profondément la production de connaissances sur la différence dans le domaine.

Will Brehm 12:04
Pouvez-vous fournir un exemple de la géopolitique de la production de connaissances dont vous parlez?

Arathi Sriprakash 12:12
Oui, donc je crois que si nous regardons en arrière dans l’histoire, les systèmes et pratiques d’éducation contemporains ont eu des liens étroits avec les projets coloniaux de contrôle. Ainsi, la recherche historique a montré comment l’éducation était au centre de l’administration coloniale, par exemple, dans le contrôle britannique et français de l’Afrique et de l’Asie du Sud. Et à partir de la fin du XIXe siècle, les spécialistes de l’éducation, en particulier, ont joué un rôle dans la mise en place des systèmes éducatifs dans le monde colonisé. Ainsi, dans le contexte post-colonial après la Seconde Guerre mondiale, la recherche a également montré comment l’éducation était un site principal de pouvoir doux. Ainsi, par exemple, dans les années 1950, le Département d’État américain a passé des contrats avec plus de 50 universités pour qu’elles œuvrent dans les pays sous-développés du monde entier. Ainsi, systématiquement si vous voulez, les éducateurs comparatifs occidentaux ont œuvré comme des experts, d’une certaine manière, qui ont légitimé et diffusé des manières particulières de connaître le monde. Ainsi, l’endroit où le savoir est considéré comme résidant, et la manière dont il est considéré comme étant légitimement diffusé, fait partie de la géopolitique de la production et de la circulation du savoir. Ainsi, les idées scientifiques particulières sur l’éducation au nom du développement du progrès et de la modernisation, tout cela faisait partie de ce genre d’effort autour de la construction de la nation d’après-guerre qui était liée à la géopolitique de l’époque. Je dirais qu’après la guerre froide, un tel engagement idéologique en faveur de l’éducation à l’étranger n’était sans doute pas aussi explicite. Cependant, certains universitaires ont indiqué la manière dont le développement de l’éducation contemporaine s’inscrit dans les nouveaux programmes de sécurisation et de militarisation, et aussi comment la résurgence de certains types de méthodologies, en particulier la résurgence des méthodes quantitatives sur le terrain, produit un type particulier de connaissances qui sont liées aux programmes néolibéraux de gouvernance. Le vieil adage dit : “la relation entre la connaissance et le pouvoir”. On le voit bien dans la façon dont l’éducation comparée a été employée, historiquement très liée à une politique plus large de changement mondial.

Will Brehm 14:40
Faisons une courte pause. Chaque année, la Société d’éducation comparative et internationale organise des élections pour le poste de vice-président. La manière dont la Société est structurée signifie que cette personne deviendra automatiquement le Président de la Société après avoir servi un an comme Vice-Président. Chaque vice-président, en d’autres termes, se présente pour assumer la présidence. L’élection des vice-présidents est donc un événement important. Cette année, deux candidats exceptionnels ont été nommés : David Post et Aaron Benavot. FreshEd va interviewer David et Aaron sur leurs projets pour le CIES s’ils sont élus. Dans la perspective de ces entretiens – qui seront diffusés le 6 février – vous pouvez me soumettre des questions à poser aux deux candidats. Vous pouvez soumettre vos questions en tweetant @ FreshEdPodcast, ou en envoyant un courriel à will@freshedpodcast.com. Les questions doivent être soumises avant le 25 janvier, alors dépêchez-vous. Revenons à ma conversation avec Arathi Sriprakash sur le colonialisme dans l’éducation comparative et internationale.

L’un des principaux soucis est donc que le savoir indigène n’est pas reconnu comme étant aussi précieux que le savoir provenant du Nord ?

Arathi Sriprakash 16:06
Oui, comme Raewyn Connell l’a souligné il y a dix ans dans son livre “Southern Theory”, le Sud global est une ressource théorique riche et variée. Mais un examen des recherches en éducation comparative révélera rapidement la prédominance des outils et des points de vue théoriques du Nord. Ainsi, le Sud est simplement considéré comme un côté de la collecte de données, le Nord comme un côté de la génération de théories. Et c’est bien là une question de géopolitique. Il s’agit de savoir où se situe l’expertise, où le travail et les institutions ont été financés, et comment des théories et des méthodologies particulières sont rendues légitimes, si vous voulez, par rapport à d’autres. Et je pense, pour vous donner un exemple contemporain, qu’il existe actuellement d’énormes programmes de financement nationaux au Royaume-Uni, où je travaille, pour sponsoriser la recherche en sciences sociales sur l’éducation internationale. Et j’ai constaté que bon nombre de ces programmes comportent une exigence explicite de “renforcement des capacités”. Aujourd’hui, le renforcement des capacités peut prendre de nombreuses formes, mais il fait écho aux programmes d’assistance technique dans lesquels les universitaires occidentaux sont positionnés comme les “experts” qui emploient leurs connaissances pour renforcer les capacités dans les pays pauvres. Je peux voir que les pays matériellement pauvres pourraient bénéficier de la mise en place d’infrastructures, mais il y a un risque que de tels discours sur le renforcement des capacités dans le monde de la recherche positionnent le Sud global comme étant en quelque sorte vide de ses propres ressources épistémologiques pour s’attaquer aux problèmes sociaux complexes auxquels les sociétés sont confrontées. Ainsi, les relations de pouvoir inégales dans la circulation et la production de la connaissance et de l’éducation sont reproduites. Une fois de plus, le Sud est considéré comme une partie de l’extraction de données, ou de l’intervention par l’utilisation de l’expertise théorique du Nord, et en fait, le travail du Nord.

Will Brehm 18:01
Oui, j’ai le sentiment de voir cela tout le temps. Et en fait, je dois dire que j’avoue en faire une partie. Vous savez, en employant des théoriciens français pour essayer de comprendre ce qui se passe au Cambodge. Et donc, j’ai l’impression de faire partie de cet héritage de l’éducation comparée.

Arathi Sriprakash 18:24
Eh bien, je veux dire, je crois que c’est vraiment essentiel pour nous de réfléchir à cela, car j’ai moi aussi été formé au travail des théoriciens du Nord. Cela figure toujours en bonne place dans nos programmes d’études dans ce domaine. Et je pense qu’il est essentiel de reconnaître la façon dont ces héritages façonnent notre engagement sur le terrain et comment nous sommes nous-mêmes impliqués dans ce processus. Il ne s’agit donc pas tant de culpabiliser les chercheurs ou d’essayer de rejeter la faute sur les individus, mais de reconnaître l’histoire du domaine et de comprendre la politique profonde dans ce que nous faisons afin de pouvoir nous engager à agir de manière éthique dans nos engagements à l’avenir.

Will Brehm 19:19
Donc, pour en revenir au terrain, comment les manuels d’éducation comparative comprennent-ils ces questions de production inégale de connaissances et de relations de pouvoir inégales et les dispositifs théoriques créés dans le Nord global et simplement appliqués aux pays en développement ou au Sud global ? Ces questions sont-elles abordées dans les histoires ou dans les manuels d’éducation comparée ? Et, plus essentiel encore, y a-t-il une reconnaissance des connaissances indigènes dans l’éducation comparée ?

Arathi Sriprakash 20:01
Bonne question. Je pense qu’il y a une reconnaissance croissante des savoirs indigènes dans certaines théories, et même du rôle des analyses postcoloniales sur le terrain. Une discussion émerge à ce sujet. Mais je dirais que la façon dont il est fréquemment configuré s’ajoute au récit dominant du domaine émergeant de l’Occident. Donc, il se peut que vous ayez le récit dominant, mais il y a eu différentes façons de savoir, et c’est une sorte d’approche additive. Je pense que Raewyn Connell parle de cela comme d’une épistémologie en mosaïque ; qu’il y a beaucoup de parties différentes qui composent une image. C’est donc une façon de penser la pluralité, mais je pense qu’en général, elle ne s’attaque pas de front aux relations de pouvoir qui font que certaines connaissances deviennent plus légitimes et sont autorisées à dominer d’autres.

Will Brehm 21:14
L’une des choses que vous faites dans cette introduction au numéro spécial est, dans un sens, de donner une nouvelle version de l’un des principaux fondateurs du domaine, Isaac Kandel. Pouvez-vous nous dire cela, en un sens, cette “relecture” de son parcours ?

Arathi Sriprakash 21:33
Oui, d’accord. C’est donc une histoire passionnante sur laquelle Keita a travaillé et Kandel était professeur au Teachers College de Columbia et chercheur principal à l’Institut international de l’université dans les années 20 à 40, je crois, et qui reflète vraiment l’intérêt du domaine pour le relativisme épistémologique que j’ai mentionné plus haut – l’idée de cultures et de personnages nationaux. Kandel reconnaissait vraiment les différences nationales ; il avait cette acceptation de la pluralité dans son travail à un niveau. Ce sont certainement les récits des érudits fondateurs comme Kandel. Mais je pense qu’il est essentiel de reconnaître qu’il écrivait à partir d’une position géopolitique particulière, de sorte que l’Institut international dans lequel il travaillait était impliqué dans l’administration et l’évaluation des systèmes éducatifs coloniaux introduits par le gouvernement américain, des travaux qui, dans l’ensemble, acceptaient les logiques de l’impérialisme américain. Ainsi, ce que nous commençons à voir dans le travail de Kandel, c’est que la différence nationale s’explique par des modèles culturels. Ainsi, différents niveaux culturels ont été employés pour expliquer l’échec de certaines nations dans l’introduction d’un soi-disant “système américain”. Et c’est le système américain que Kandel a décrit comme – et c’est une citation – “l’expérience la plus avancée en matière d’éducation démocratique”. Ainsi, la différence nationale a alors été comprise comme une sorte de fossé civilisationnel. Ainsi, si vous n’avez pas pu avoir le système le plus avancé dans votre pays, alors c’est en quelque sorte le reflet d’un fossé dans votre histoire ou votre capacité civilisationnelle. Ainsi, au cœur de ces idées, même si elles étaient implicites, plutôt qu’explicites, se trouvaient des schémas racialisés de stades de maturité ou de stades de civilisation dans lesquels les sujets coloniaux étaient placés au bas d’une progression évolutive. Ainsi, même si nous pouvons estimer que Kandel et d’autres figures fondatrices dans ce domaine respectent beaucoup la diversité, ces appels à la diversité – cette reconnaissance de la différence nationale – ne sont en fait pas sans hiérarchie. Donc, une épistémologie relativiste peut paraître valoriser la diversité, mais quand elle se situe dans son contexte géopolitique, on peut en fait voir comment elle reproduit une logique coloniale de différence et, en fait, d’assujettissement.

Will Brehm 24:19
Et avec Isaac Kandel, cette histoire a aussi la notion complexe de “l’expert”, où c’est Isaac Kandel lui-même qui peut aider ces civilisations “de niveau inférieur” à gravir les échelons en utilisant le type de remède éducatif prescrit. Et donc, vous avez aussi cette notion, qui est si révélatrice à l’époque, mais aussi si pertinente pour le monde actuel des chercheurs en éducation comparée qui font beaucoup de travail dans le domaine du développement de l’éducation, où nous constatons une hiérarchie et des différences similaires.

Arathi Sriprakash 25:10
Absolument. Et je crois que c’est dans la façon dont notre programme est structuré, c’est dans la façon dont le financement circule dans le domaine, et il y a un véritable héritage épistémologique ici en ce sens que la théorie de la modernisation, même si elle a été fortement contestée pendant de nombreuses décennies, continue à être dominante – si elle n’est pas nommée – dans le domaine actuellement. Parce qu’on considère que l’expertise se trouve en Occident et que l’idée que le non-Ouest se modernise ou se développe de cette manière linéaire, par étapes, avec ces apports corrects de l’Occident, je veux dire que ce genre de relation existe très bien aujourd’hui.

Will Brehm 25:59
Croyez-vous que la théorie de la modernisation est en quelque sorte, à bien des égards, la position supposée de nombreux chercheurs dans ce domaine ?

Arathi Sriprakash 26:08
Je crois que, si ce n’est pas consciemment, c’est quelque chose qui est certainement enraciné dans nos catégories d’analyse, dans notre approche ; certainement dans l’éducation comparative lorsque nous pensons aux systèmes d’un pays et que nous nous disons : “Bon, comment pourrions-nous réformer un système d’éducation dans un autre pour qu’il ressemble à l’idéal ? Je crois donc que ce n’est pas nécessairement quelque chose que les universitaires ou les chercheurs pourraient vouloir mettre en œuvre, mais je pense que c’est ancré dans nos cadres de connaissances, et une partie de cela revient à cette histoire de l’éducation comparée comme ayant l’Occident normatif au centre de notre idée du monde.

Will Brehm 27:06
Donc, une partie de cette inégalité, ou de ce privilège du Nord par rapport à d’autres modes de connaissance et de pensée, provient – comme vous le dites – des structures qui existent de l’éducation comparée. Et donc ces structures peuvent être, comme nous l’avons dit plus tôt, le Congrès mondial, et même là vous montrez qu’il y a une inégalité dans laquelle les sociétés ont, en un sens, un “pouvoir” au sein de cette organisation-cadre.

Arathi Sriprakash 27:39
Oui, absolument. C’est aussi si nous réfléchissons aux publications des revues, certaines des principales revues dans notre domaine sont publiées en anglais, elles sont gérées principalement au Royaume-Uni et en Amérique du Nord, les comités de rédaction sont largement constitués d’universitaires de ces pays. Je pense que tout cela crée des facteurs qui permettent aux cadres de connaissances occidentaux de dominer dans le domaine.

Will Brehm 28:15
Ainsi, votre nouveau numéro spécial tente d’introduire les idées du postcolonialisme dans le domaine de l’éducation comparée. Qu’est-ce que le postcolonialisme en bref?

Arathi Sriprakash 28:29
Ainsi, le postcolonialisme en un mot – je dirais qu’il s’agit de reconnaître les relations historiquement spécifiques du colonialisme qui ont conduit à des inégalités entre les pays et les peuples et groupes, ou les ont aggravées, et le fait de mieux comprendre cette histoire nous permet également de voir les héritages actifs du colonialisme à l’heure actuelle. Nous pourrions donc dire que nous sommes dans l’ère postcoloniale comme dans “l’après-colonialisme”, mais il y a des héritages continus de l’ère coloniale qui modèlent nos systèmes de connaissance actuels ; les hiérarchies autour des institutions, les pratiques culturelles ; et même les façons dont nous n’utilisons peut-être plus le langage des “non civilisés” et des “civilisés”, mais ces hiérarchies de culture et de pratique qui continuent à être assumées, sinon explicitement, implicitement, dans le domaine.

Will Brehm 29:37
Vous avez donc mentionné que nous pouvons reconnaître et réfléchir à l’histoire de notre domaine dans notre propre travail, mais comment pouvons-nous, dans un autre sens, essayer de nous dégager de ce passé colonial qui est si clair, et que vous avez articulé si clairement ?

Arathi Sriprakash 29:59
Eh bien, je crois qu’une partie de la démarche consiste à commencer à réfléchir au rôle que la théorie du Sud et les connaissances indigènes pourraient jouer dans ce domaine. Et je crois qu’en disant cela, ce que je veux souligner, c’est que ces termes, “théorie du Sud”, “savoirs autochtones”, tentent de saisir les nombreuses et riches sources de connaissances sur le monde social qui ont été localisées dans le Sud global ou/et parmi les peuples autochtones. Il n’y a donc pas une seule théorie du Sud ou un seul savoir indigène. Ce ne sont pas des sources statiques et inchangées par le temps, mais comme tout autre système de connaissances, elles sont historiquement localisées et modifiables. Donc, je crois qu’en considérant ces domaines de connaissance comme des ressources légitimes et importantes pour le domaine, nous commençons à décentrer le Nord global dans le processus de production de la connaissance. Et je pense que cela a été assez bien fait par l’école décoloniale qui a émergé le plus en Amérique latine, qui a employé la “culture des colonisés” pour critiquer la colonisation du savoir, si vous voulez.

Will Brehm 31:15
Donc, vous croyez que ce genre d’approche pourrait aider l’éducation comparée en tant que domaine ? A embrasser le postcolonialisme et peut-être à rendre le savoir plus diversifié et plus ouvert et à avoir de nouvelles idées ?

Arathi Sriprakash 31:37
Oui, d’accord, donc je pense qu’il y a quelques choses que cela pourrait faire. Premièrement, l’utilisation de ce cadre théorique non dominant – les théories du Sud, les savoirs indigènes, etc. – peut permettre de saper les relations de pouvoir inégales qui naturalisent la division intellectuelle du travail dans ce domaine, l’idée dont nous avons parlé, selon laquelle les universitaires occidentaux sont des “experts”, que l’expertise se situe en quelque sorte en Occident et peut être appliquée au Sud global. En ce sens, cela interrompt en quelque sorte la prise en compte de l’expertise occidentale dans les travaux sur l’éducation comparée. Deuxièmement, je crois que ces connaissances aident à provincialiser ce qui est autrement considéré comme une épistémologie universaliste, l’idée que la théorie occidentale est universellement applicable. Eh bien, je crois que c’est une idée qui est ébranlée, et je pense qu’elle reconnaît qu’il y a différentes façons d’aborder les problèmes sociaux complexes du monde. Et enfin, je crois que la reconnaissance de la théorie du Sud et des savoirs autochtones réévalue les connaissances qui ont été soumises par les relations de pouvoir coloniales à différentes périodes et à différents moments. Ainsi, qu’il s’agisse du colonialisme, des relations du néocolonialisme et de ce que nous voyons dans le contexte contemporain de la gouvernance néolibérale qui réduit certaines formes particulières de savoir. Je pense qu’il s’agit de cette tâche difficile de contrer ce que Gayatri Spivak appelle la “violence épistémique”, dans laquelle la connaissance et la compréhension de la majorité du Sud sont rejetées, et le Sud continue à être positionné comme “l’autre” colonial. Il s’agit donc vraiment de perturber cette hiérarchie du Sud en tant qu'”autre”, si vous voulez. Ce que nous demandons ici, c’est une conversation permanente sur la manière dont le terrain peut reconnaître ses enchevêtrements coloniaux et travailler à ce type d’engagement postcolonial.

Will Brehm 33:56
Eh bien, cela paraît être une direction future très excitante pour notre domaine, alors Arathi Sriprakash vous remercie beaucoup d’avoir rejoint FreshEd.

Arathi Sriprakash 34:06
Merci beaucoup, Will.

Translation sponsored by NORRAG.

Want to help translate this show? Please contact info@freshedpodcast.com

Have any useful resources related to this show? Please send them to info@freshedpodcast.com
[/av_textblock]