Tunisia is known for sparking what many in the West call the Arab Spring, the revolutionary protests that swept across North Africa and the Middle East starting in 2010.

My guest today is Tavis Jules. Together with Teresa Barton, he co-authored a new book entitled

Educational Transitions in post-revolutionary spaces: Islam, security, and social movements in Tunisia. He argues that the Tunisian revolution had everything to do with education.

In our conversation, we discuss the history leading up to the 2010 protests that would peacefully toppled the president as well as the fallout 7 years later.

Tavis Jules is an Associate Professor of Cultural and Educational Policy Studies at Loyola University Chicago.

Citation: Jules, Tavis, interview with Will Brehm, FreshEd, 111, podcast audio, April 9, 2018. https://www.freshedpodcast.com/tavisdjules/

Translation, Transcript, and Resource:

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Today, we explore the university strikes in the United Kingdom. My guests are Ioannis Costas Batlle and Aurelien Mondon, lecturers at the University of Bath and participants in the Bath Teach Outs.

Based on their experiences in the current labor movement sweeping the UK, they find an alternative to the neoliberal university.

Their new co-written blog post entitled “University Strikes: Reclaiming a space for emancipatory education” was published by Discover Society.

Learn more about the strikes here: https://www.facebook.com/StrikeOnTeachOut/

When I was in school, I did anything – and everything! – to get out of a test. Seriously. Ask my parents, who I drove nuts. I often refused to go to school on test days or simply pretended I was sick to get out of class just as the exam was being handed out. Tests made me nervous and I hated the idea that one number could forever define my intelligence.

(Christie M Farriella/New York Daily News)

Today, more and more students are refusing to take standardized tests across the USA. Unlike my own mini-protest, however, students who refuse to take tests are part of the Opt-Out movement.

This movement is found in many states in America and units people from across the political divide.

With me to talk about this growing movement is Oren-Pizmony-Levy, an Assistant Professor of International and Comparative Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. He has been researching the opt-out movement, situating it within the global context. What motivates people to join the movement? What results have been produced?

 

In my conversation with Oren today, we discuss his and Nancy Green Saraisky’s report entitled “who opts-out and why?”

Further Readings: 

Who Opts Out and Why? Results from a national survey on opting out of standardized tests
https://academiccommons.columbia.edu/catalog/ac:201689

How Americans View the Opt Out Movement
https://academiccommons.columbia.edu/catalog/ac:xd2547d7zx

A group of Yale graduate students are protesting their labor conditions as teachers. They are demanding the administration recognize them as a union and negotiate their contract as full employees of the university. After all, graduate students teach many undergraduate classes.

But the administration is stalling, waiting for Donald Trump to appoint an anti-union National Labor Relations Board that, they hope, will throw out the union’s right to exist.

My guest today is Jennifer Klein, a professor of history at Yale University who has followed the unionization efforts closely. She’s written a recent New York Times op-ed detailing the events at Yale.

The fight over graduate student’s right to unionize at Yale is a microcosm of the reliance on precarious work across the American higher education system.

You can find the solidarity statement in support of the graduate students here.

On May 22, Local 33, the union representing the Yale graduate students, protested during the Yale commencement.

Do schools provide the best education possible for children? My guest today believes schools are the greatest barrier to education. Simon Springer is an Associate Professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Victoria, Canada. He advocates and practices with his children a concept he calls un-schooling, but which also goes by the more popular name de-schooling.

Simon’s research agenda explores the political, social, and geographical exclusions that neoliberalism has engendered, particularly in the context of contemporary Cambodia, where he emphasizes the role of violence and power. He cultivates a cutting edge theoretical approach to his scholarship by foregrounding both poststructuralist critique and a radical revival of anarchist philosophy.

In today’s show Simon discusses his new co-edited volume, The Radicalization of Pedagogy: Anarchism, Geography, and the spirit of revolt (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016). 

 Before starting the show, I want to apologize for the high pitched sound that you’ll hear throughout the interview. Since this is a no-budget show that doesn’t record in professional sound studios, sometimes these technical problems happen. I’m sorry for the inconvenience, but I decided to play the interview as-is because Simon’s ideas are worth considering.

For the next three shows, Rolf Straubhaar will be interviewing the winners of the globalization and education Special Interest Group’s inaugural book award.

In today’s show, Rolf speaks with Irv Epstein, the first of two honorable mentions in the book award. Irv is a Professor of Peace and Social Justice at Illinois Wesleyan University where he directs its Center for Human Rights and Social Justice and chairs the Department of Educational Studies.  His latest edited volume is entitled: The Whole World is Texting Youth Protest in the Information Age.

Social movements produce a huge amount of intellectual knowledge. Yet, in many academic circles, this knowledge is overlooked. Aziz Choudry has spent most of his life working with social movements around the world. He is currently an associate professor in the Department of Integrated Studies in Education at McGill University and visiting professor at the Centre for Education Rights and Transformation at the University of Johannesburg. His newest book Learning Activism: The Intellectual Life of Contemporary Social Movements was published in 2015 by the University of Toronto Press. All book proceeds will be donated to the Immigrant Workers Centre in Montreal.

Learning Activism is designed to encourage a deeper engagement with the intellectual life of activists who organize for social, political, and ecological justice. Professor Choudry is concerned with “making visible the dialectical relationship between ‘Research’ and ‘organizing.’” Will Brehm spoke with Aziz Choudry in mid January about his new book.

Right-wing extremism in Germany has made headlines in recent weeks, with the first publication since World War II of Adolf Hitler’s autobiography, Mein Kampf, and the anti-immigrant protests that have peppered the country since a group of immigrants attacked women in Cologne. More broadly, the past decade has witnessed a steady rise of far right politics and social movements across Europe — from the rise of the Golden Dawn party in Greece to the 2011 mass shootings in Norway.

My guest today, Cynthia Miller Idriss, talks about her forthcoming book, “The Extreme goes Mainstream?: the Commercialization of Far Right Youth Subculture in Germany,” which will be published later this year by Princeton University Press. Over the past several years, Dr. Miller Idriss has collected thousands of images from the far right youth subculture and conducted interviews in schools where extremism thrives. She argues “that far from being mere ‘subcultural style,’ commercialized extremist products can be a gateway to radicalization and violence by both helping to strengthen racist and nationalist identification and by acting as conduits of resistance to mainstream society.”