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Articulating the Epistemic Challenge

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Part of the Critical Studies of Education book series (CSOE,volume 16)

Abstract

Although educational theory and praxis have been extensively studied, the bulk of the research has focused on Western theories of education and educational philosophies. These ideologies are premised on Western theories of knowledge and knowledge production and pedagogies that have tended to define Western knowledges and epistemologies as the universal yard-stick against which all other knowledge forms should be measured. The colonial encounter not only universalized and imperialized Western knowledges, languages and pedagogies but also worked to deny the validity of Indigenous knowledges and epistemologies and consequently, forced Indigenous learners to learn through colonial forms of Western education, that alienated them from their history, cultures, languages and identities. Western education and its denial and invalidation of Indigenous epistemologies and pedagogies, along with other intersecting colonial and Eurocentric logics, have made schools sites of colonial epistemic violence that have disengaged Indigenous and Black learners from the schooling experience and negatively impacted their academic achievement outcomes. This chapter traces the history and role of colonial education and its negative impact on educational outcomes of Black, Indigenous and Latinix learners. It articulates the epistemic challenge associated with Western forms of education and calls for alternative counter theories of education rooted in Indigenous epistemologies to make education more relevant in serving the educational needs of the Black, Indigenous, Latinx and other racialized learners.

Keywords

  • Black
  • Indigenous
  • Colonialism
  • Education
  • Latinix
  • Schooling
  • African knowledges
  • Elders

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Notes

  1. 1.

    A section of this Chapter was produced collaboratively with Jessica Vassiliou, a Graduate Assistant working with one of the authors, George Dei in the academic session of 2019–2020.

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Correspondence to George J. Sefa Dei .

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Dei, G.J.S., Karanja, W., Erger, G. (2022). Articulating the Epistemic Challenge. In: Elders’ Cultural Knowledges and the Question of Black/ African Indigeneity in Education. Critical Studies of Education, vol 16. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-84201-7_2

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