The Urban Review

, Volume 51, Issue 1, pp 101–122 | Cite as

Towards Self-Recovery: Cultivating Love with Young Women of Color Through Pedagogies of Bodymindspirit

  • Stephanie CariagaEmail author


Seeking to meet Freire’s (Pedagogy of freedom: ethics, democracy, and civic courage, Rowman & Littlefield, Lanham, 1987) call to enact a critical pedagogy of love, this article explores how one urban teacher/researcher engages in pedagogy that supports students to heal from internalized oppression towards what bell hooks (Talking back: thinking feminist, thinking black, South End Press, Boston, 1989, Sisters of the yam: black women and self-recovery, Routledge, New York, 2015) calls self-recovery. Set in an elective class for young women in a Los Angeles middle school, I examine my process as teacher/researcher to understand the experiences of a student named Chelsea, and develop curriculum to serve her arising needs. I integrate critical pedagogy with embodied pedagogies and women of color feminist epistemology to critique dominant ways of knowing and teaching in urban schools. Then, I use auto-ethnography and portraiture to craft three blended portraits: exploring how Chelsea’s sense of self is influenced by her life experiences; how interventions like meditation, dialogue and vulnerability, or what I call pedagogies of bodymindspirit, helped Chelsea to unpack her distrust of others and a longing for wholeness; and how a final project supported Chelsea’s path towards self-recovery. I conclude with ways to cultivate love in the face of material and epistemological violence in schools, and offer implications and tensions for teachers seeking to utilize a bodymindspirit praxis to serve all marginalized students.


Bodymindspirit Critical pedagogy Embodied pedagogy 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of California, Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.University of California, BerkeleyBerkeleyUSA
  3. 3.Long BeachUSA
  4. 4.Teacher Education DivisionCalifornia State University, Dominguez HillsCarsonUSA

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