Pedagogy, The Digital Age and The Precariat — Jandric and Giroux in Counterpunch

Critical Pedagogy in and for the Age of the Digital Media
Pedagogy of the Precariat (published in the June 12-14 2015 Counterpunch)
by PETAR JANDRIC and HENRY A. GIROUX
Haunted digital borders and alternative public spheresth

Petar Jandrić: Thank you a lot for agreeing to this conversation, Henry! One of the central concepts in your work is border crossing, which “prompts teachers and students to raise new questions and develop models of analysis outside the officially sanctioned boundaries of knowledge and the established disciplines that control them” (Giroux and Searls Giroux, 2004: 102). This concept gains additional relevance with the advent of another border – the so-called electronic frontier (Rheingold, 1995). Could you please apply your concept of border crossing to learning in the age of information technologies?

Henry Giroux: When I first started thinking about the concept, one of the things that I was concerned with was the way in which various borders operate in various formations and ideological and political locations to basically shut people down from asking dangerous questions or pursuing questions outside of established paradigms. At the heart of that concern was the question of the political. How do you theorise the americas-ed-deficit-300x449political in a world where borders are rapidly increasing? How do you theorise the political in a world where borders are really pushing people back into all kinds of silos – from those organised around prejudice and racism, to those organised around the instrumentalization of knowledge itself? And how are those borders organised in the ways that so limit what intellectuals and academics can do? At the university, academics often end up speaking in languages that are utterly abstract, languages that speak to five or six people. Therefore, it is hardly surprising that they have no sense what it means to speak to broader publics. At the same time, I was not arguing that difficult language is not sometimes necessary or that theory does not matter. On the contrary, I was arguing that theory needed to become worldly, unfettered by jargon, and be both accessible while addressing broader publics. Border crossing was a critique of theoreticism, theory for its own sake, unfettered by any interest in the larger world.

So the notion of border really took on several registers. One of the registers was political. How do you want to understand the notion of crossing borders in ways that expand the possibilities of people to be able to narrate themselves and understand the context in which they find themselves in order to, in some ways, both resist and overcome those kinds of barriers that shut down their capacity to be individual and social agents? The second issue is around the notion of social responsibility. What kinds of borders are put in play in ways that separate, for instance, instrumental knowledge from questions of social cost and larger social problems?

And I think, with regards to your question about how this applies to technology, that technologies are haunted by a ghostly presence to public memories rooted in a . . . read the whole article here.

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Seed of Revolution — Lew Rosenbaum

Seed of Revolution  — Lew Rosenbaum

Hello.
My name is Lew.
I’m an addict.June Mangoes
I’ve been searching,
Chasing the perfect mango
For twenty five years.
Obsessive.
Compulsive.
Mangomaniac.
From Mexico each spring come
Haden mangoes, scarlet and yellow;
Golden, bountiful ataulfos;
Kent and later Keitt, light green with
Orange flesh the texture of flan;
Then with winter brilliant ruby colored
Tommy Atkins, the flavor of dry wood
All the way from Brazil, Peru, Ecuador.
None of this lands in Chicago
Without a revolution
In the economy.

First, let’s agree:
An abundance of mangoes floods the markets
Year round
(Even if some are barely edible).
Year round on the
Tropical, rainforested, plantationed
Streets of
Chicago.

Second, selling a box of Kents —
Seven or eight of them —
Each one weighs almost 2 pounds —
For six bucks, give or take a buck,
In spite of transportation costs —
Did I mention it? That shipping from Mexico
And points south demands a level of
Sophistication unprecedented —
That cost demands the excruciating,
Exploitation of labor
Squeezed from the sweat
of the mango plantation workers
For the least possible price
Paid to those who suffer in peonage.
In Puerto Rico, and even Miami,
You can reach out, pull them
From heavy laden boughs
In your back yard.
Oil must flow freely to whisk mangoes to Chicago.

And more: now bursts the electronic
Transmission of information
(Creeping in with simple bookkeeping)
To automate maintenance,
To speed harvesting,
Pack the fruit,
Augment airplane technology,
Drive labor from the Mango Industry.
Where workers remain, they
Compete to earn less than
The cost of a silicon chip
Inside the robots everywhere

So here, my friends,
Within this 6 inch, juicy, sweet,
Sometimes with a hint of citrus flavor;
Hidden in the center of this nugget of nutrition
You will find the seed
Of a revolution brewing
Under our eager palates,
Posing profound challenges,
But incredible —
I do mean
Not to be believed —
Opportunities
Possibilities
To solve the satisfaction of humanity
To protect the planet from despoliation,
Where transport workers,
Packers and shippers,
Harvesters and retailers,
All workers on the road to replacement
By revolutionary silicon;
Where art and artists,
Poets and musicians,
Cultivators of new ideas;
Have an historic chance
To imagine and to build
A new America, a new world.

Ode to a Laughing Man (after Bertolt Brecht) — Lew Rosenbaum

Ode to the Laughing Man

Lew Rosenbaum

I

The morning light, still before dawn,

Filters through the windows,DSCF6866

Creeps around table, the chairs, the end of the bed

Lets me see their shapes as if in the night

Their edges had all softened, become indistinct,

And the breeze ripples lightly across my skin

Bringing with it intense, sweet fragrance

From the lilacs in the courtyard. I love watching

The early morning light define my surroundings:

I love inhaling this late May scent that has, since childhood,

Signified pleasure. And still, and then

The light reveals

Bodies of the bombed,

The fragrance cannot hide

The stench of sewage in our waters.

II

This morning, and yesterday, and probably tomorrow

I think of Bertolt Brecht, writing

Ah, what an age it is

When to speak of trees is almost a crime

For it is a kind of silence about injustice!

III

with glasses

I love to walk into the garden

Where purple salvia run riot

Interrupted by pink columbines at play,

Magenta spiderwort wave at me in the wind,

And my neighbor stops to gossip

About hosta, peonies, and we laugh

About the advancing violets,

Even about the dandelions,

About their bitter greens in a salad.

We smile, we laugh, and laugh.

IV

He who laughs

Has not yet heard

The terrible tidings.

Brecht wrote that too. But

 

I’ve heard the terrible tidings.

And yet I speak of trees,

Because after capitalism that is what we will do.

It is a crime to dwell on capital’s depravity,

Its descent into fascism,

Without envisioning what’s possible and necessary

What needs to be accomplished by the only ones who can.

There is but one reason to talk about

Doom and gloom.

Everything or nothing.

All of us or none.

[With apologies/thanks to Bertolt Brecht: To Posterity and All of Us or None }