Women’s Emancipation and Development Agency (WOMEDA) Executive Director Juma Massisi (seated, center) facilitates conversation among women and Amizade students in Kayanga, Tanzania, as part of research that supported a successful United States Agency for International Development grant award for WOMEDA.


DukeEngage students Jeline Rabideau and Jenny Denton worked with middle school girls, such as ​Katie, in Western North Carolina to enhance literacy skills through digital storytelling projects focused on their families.


DukeEngage independent project student Alex Saffrit collaborated with a community member, Moses, in Nkokonjeru, Uganda, on a solar cooker project.


Ernesto Alaniz, community maintenance leader, Villanova civil engineering student Allie Braun, and Water for Waslala program manager Iain Hunt cooperate to inspect a new water tank near Santa Maria Kubali, Nicaragua.

Power and Privilege

Significant research and literature has helped us understand power and privilege and how to better address them in our work. We list these pieces immediately below and offer article abstracts farther down the page. Every effort is made to list the abstracts in the same order as the pieces are listed above (generally by most recent publication). The list developed here is listed chronologically in reverse-order, to show the conceptual development and research foundation in this growing field. We kindly request that any individuals interested in adding to this wiki do so by following the guidelines we have established.

Peer Reviewed Articles: 



Dissertations, Theses, and Other Works: 

Articles in Major Newspapers and Periodicals:

Article Abstracts: 

Lesnick, A. (2017). Lagim Tehi Tuma/Thinking Together: Between Risk, Restriction, and Learning in a U.S.-Ghana Collaborative.  Collaborations: A Journal of Community-Based Research and Practice, 1 (1).

As U.S.-based colleges and universities seek to globalize education with experiential learning, the risk of reinforcing assumptions about Western superiority, white supremacy and the “neediness” of “developing” countries increases. This essay discusses the rationale for a program that wrestles with questions of power, communication, and creativity by engaging students from the two U.S. liberal arts colleges (a consortium) and a Ghanaian university in a summer action research project. The program takes place in part on campus in the U.S. and in part in a village in Northern Ghana in partnership with three grassroots educational organizations: a community radio station, an Internet training center, and a non-governmental organization focused on early education. Tracking key words in two languages central to the programs a way to make the different histories in play visible, I argue that the purpose of the work is “lagim tehi tuma” — Dagbani for “thinking together,” to develop not people, countries, or cultures, but knowledge, questions, and relationships. Drawing on Apusigah’s discussion of “tullum,” an indigenous, gendered approach to development, I advance a conception of collaboration that accepts limitation, impermanence, and risk as part of sustainability.

Lough, B, Oppenheim, W. (2017).Revisiting reciprocity in international volunteering. Progress in Development Studies 17(3) pp. 197–213.

This article critically examines reciprocity in international volunteering. It first highlights tensions and unintended consequences that can emerge when pursuing reciprocal relationships between host-country partners and international volunteers or volunteer-sending organizations. It then reconsiders how to determine equal or fair distribution of benefits between stakeholders when some benefits are material and some are intangible. It then presents a typology of different modalities of reciprocity practiced or aspired to by contemporary international volunteer organizations. The article aims to provoke more nuanced consideration of when, if or under what conditions different forms of reciprocity may be possible or even desirable.

Sullivan, N. (2017). International clinical volunteering in Tanzania: A postcolonial analysis of a Global Health business. Global Public Health. 1-15.

This article traces how scarcities characteristic of health systems in low-income countries (LICs), and increasing popular interest in Global Health, have inadvertently contributed to the popularisation of a specific Global Health business: international clinical volunteering through private volunteer placement organisations (VPOs). VPOs market neglected health facilities as sites where foreigners can ‘make a difference’, regardless of their skill set. Drawing on online investigation and ethnographic research in Tanzania over four field seasons from 2011 to 2015, including qualitative interviews with 41 foreign volunteers and 90 Tanzanian health workers, this article offers a postcolonial analysis of VPO marketing and volunteer action in health facilities of LICs. Two prevalent postcolonial racialised tropes inform both VPO marketing and foreign volunteers’ discourses and practices in Tanzania. The first trope discounts Tanzanian expertise in order to envision volunteers in expert roles despite lacking training, expertise, or contextual knowledge. The second trope envisions Tanzanian patients as so impoverished that insufficiently trained volunteer help is ‘better than nothing at all’. These two postcolonial racialised tropes inform the conceptual work undertaken by VPO marketing schemes and foreign volunteers in order to remake Tanzanian health professionals and patients into appropriate and justifiable sites for foreign volunteer intervention.

Bheekie, A., Huyssteen, M., Rae, N., & Swartbooi, C. (2016). “I Just Kept Quiet”: Exploring Equity in a Service-Learning Programme. The International Journal of Research on Service-Learning and Community Engagement, 4(1).

Social justice underpins the sustainable development goal of health for all. In developing countries, social injustices are particularly severe and widespread, demanding critical and immediate attention. This article describes a qualitative, descriptive study that investigated pharmacy students’ responses to incidents of social injustice following their service-learning experiences in public-sector primary healthcare facilities in Cape Town, South Africa. Data were gathered from written reflection reports and then thematically analyzed using the pedagogy of discomfort as an interpretive framework. Themes were categorised according to students’ habitual responses to incidents of social injustice, how they interpreted their responses, and how they could promote social justice in the workplace as future healthcare professionals. Findings demonstrated students’ inability to take action and revealed that silence was the most common response to incidents of discrimination. These results highlight the ways in which the structural constraints of the societal status quo can perpetuate inequity. Study limitations include bias from students self-reports and their narrow understanding of structural barriers in the work-place. Intergenerational dialogue and advocacy is crucial across South African higher education to understand widespread social injustices. Embedding a critical approach to service-learning in the African context needs exploration.

Brown, M. A., Wymer J. D., & Cooper, C. S. (2016). The Counter-Normative Effects of Service-Learning: Fostering Attitudes toward Social Equality through Contact and Autonomy. Michigan Journal of  Community Service Learning, 23(1), 37-44.

Power dynamics are implicated in intergroup prosocial behavior (Nadler & Halabi, 2015). This research investigated two factors that influence the effect of intergroup prosocial behavior on views of social equality: amount of direct intergroup contact and type of helping. Students in a social psychology course (N = 93) were randomly assigned to a service-learning group or to a control group. The service-learning group was further subdivided into an autonomy-oriented helping group or a dependency-oriented helping group. After participating in approximately 19 hours of community service over nine weeks, service-learners had more positive views of social equality compared to the control group. This effect was strongest in autonomy-oriented helpers who had high levels of direct intergroup contact. The implications and mechanisms of service-learning as a form of counter-normative intergroup prosocial behavior are discussed.

Grain, K. M., & Lund D. E. (2016). The Social Justice Turn: Cultivating “Critical Hope” in an Age of Despair. Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, 23(1), 45-59.

Recent global headlines about suicide attacks, xenophobic rhetoric, systemic gun violence, and the continued displacement of those fleeing civil war and environmental catastrophe have foregrounded social justice issues pertaining to race, nationality, socioeconomic status, religion, and a host of other factors. We suggest in this paper that the pervasive despair of our current historical moment has necessitated the urgent development of the conceptual “Social Justice Turn” in service-learning. This move uses as a foundational starting point three trends that have been consistently marginalized but are gaining momentum in our field: a) critique of the field’s roots in charity; b) a problematization of White normativity, paired with the bolstering of diverse voices and perspectives, and c) the embrace of emotional elements including tension, ambiguity, and discomfort. Finally, we offer “critical hope” (Bozalek, Carolissen, Liebowitz, & Boler, 2014; Freire, 2007) as a conceptual space in which service-learning as a field may simultaneously acknowledge the historical and contextual roots of current despair, while using this affective element as a pedagogical and curricular means to engage service-learning more intentionally as a vehicle for social justice goals.

Bheekie, A., & Huyssteen, M. (2015). Be Mindful of your Discomfort: An Approach to Contextualized Learning. The International Journal of Research on Service-Learning and Community Engagement, 3(1).

Service-learning creates a space for contextualized learning whereby students connect classroom concepts to real-world practices relative to their own frame of reference. These experiences occur within a societal status quo rooted within historical and social inequalities. Affective responses to encounters with inequalities are not routinely addressed within the learning outcomes of formal curricula. Thus, the pedagogy of discomfort calls for an awareness and a critical self-examination among educators and students of how their passive acceptance or non-acceptance of apparent social injustices has been shaped by the status quo. By incorporating affective learning into the reflective process, we realized that contradictions in South African society permeate students’ experiences in ways that are indicative of the status quo. Increased recognition of the potential of affective learning to address social injustices in higher education could enable efforts toward social transformation.

Bocci, M. (2015). Service-Learning and White Normativity: Racial Representation in Service-Learning’s Historical Narrative. Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, 22(1), 5-17.    

Mitchell, Donohue, and Young-Law (2012) observe that in practice and theory, service-learning may be a “pedagogy of whiteness – strategies of instruction that consciously or unconsciously reinforce norms and privileges developed by, and for the benefit of, White people in the United States” (p. 613). In this historiography of service-learning, I examine four scholarly texts and three well-accessed online historical summaries published by service-learning practitioners. I explore how these historical narratives represent people of color, what they include and exclude, and how these representations and inclusions/exclusions may reinforce or challenge White normativity in service-learning. Additionally, I suggest supplemental events, figures, and philosophies that could be considered part of the history of service-learning in order to challenge its prevailing Whiteness.

Doerr, N. (2015). Volunteering as Othering: Understanding a Paradox of Social Distance, Obligation, and Reciprocity. Partnerships: A Journal of Service-Learning and Civic Engagement, 6(2), 36-57.

This article challenges the notion of border crossing through volunteer work, arguing that recent literature on volunteer/service learning tend to assume that difference between volunteers and the community they work in is a given. Based on interviews of volunteers in a college alternative spring break trip in March 2013, this article shows that such difference is socially constructed through the naming of certain work, but not others, as volunteer work. The common interview answer was that volunteer work is something done for people distant from oneself—when one helps family or friends, it is not called volunteer work. Focusing and closely analyzing interviews of three volunteers, this article argues that calling certain work volunteer work is an act of othering the people one is helping as strangers. Advocating acknowledgment of this aspect of labeling volunteer work and seeing the benefit of the work not in border crossing but in re-imagining connections with various individuals, this article discusses ways to overcome the othering aspect of volunteering.

Reynolds, N. P. (2015). A Push to Explore and Learn from Discomfort in ISL. [A review of the book Crossing Boundaries: Tension and Transformation in International Service-Learning by Patrick M. Green & Mathew Johnson]. Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, 22(1), 67-71.

This paper is a review essay on “Crossing Boundaries: Tension and Transformation in International Service-Learning” by Patrick M. Green and Mathew Johnson. The book reviewed focuses on “the tensions that emerge from exploring how power, privilege, and colonialism complicate the field of … ISL”.

Darling, B., Kerr, J. M., Thorp, L., & Chung, K. (2014). Engaged Learning and Peace Corps Service in Tanzania: An Autoethnography. Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement, 18(4), 17-38.

The Peace Corps Masters International program offers students the opportunity to combine their Peace Corps service with their master’s education. This article demonstrates how classroom learning strengthened the author’s Peace Corps service in Tanzania, which in turn strengthened her master’s thesis. Peace Corps supports an approach to community development that situates Volunteers closely with people in power, but this makes it difficult for them to gain the participation of the poor and marginalized. How can one strike a balance between effectiveness and cultural appropriateness? As an outsider, how do one’s relationships with community members affect project processes and outcomes? This autoethnography investigates the first author’s learning experience in undertaking community development in Tanzania’s southern highlands. Although the conclusions are specific to the case reported here, the learning process applies to others who are beginning to contemplate how they might enter a community, assess its needs, and do good work.

Buch, K. & Harden, S. (2011). The impact of a service-learning project on student awareness of homelessness, civic attitudes, and stereotypes toward the homeless. Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement, 15(3), 45-61.

In 2008, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNC Charlotte) joined in a community initiative with the Urban Ministry Center to provide shelter to the homeless during the winter months. A student organization was formed to sustain university support. The author created a service-learning project as part of a Citizenship and Service Practicum course. Three semesters of end-of-course student evaluations indicate that the service-learning experience had an impact on the students in three ways. It raised awareness of homelessness; helped dispel negative stereotypes and foster more positive attitudes; and promoted positive civic attitudes and desire to “make a difference.”

Catlett, B. S., & Proweller, A. (2011). College students’ negotiation of privilege in a community-based violence prevention projectMichigan Journal of Community Service Learning, 18(1), 34-48.

Recent scholarship on service-learning has departed from examination of more traditional models and outcomes to explore how service-learning shapes students’ understanding of social change. This study builds on existing research to further interrogate the ways in which service-learning relates to power and privilege, specifically exploring how college students in a service-learning experience reflect on notions of privilege and how this informs their work with urban youth. Data was collected from 15 undergraduate student participants in a violence prevention program. Findings point to the potential that lies within change models of service-learning for students to reflect on the complex relationship among service-learning, power, and privilege, and to see themselves engaged in impactful, transformative, and sustainable service work.

Riggan, J., Gwak, S., Lesnick, J., Jackson, K., & Olitsky, S. (2011). Meta-travel: a critical inquiry into a China study tourFrontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 21, 236-253.

Short-term study tours are among the fastest growing of study abroad experiences and serve the largest percentage of students choosing to study abroad. Fifty-six percent of students studying abroad go on short-term study trips lasting anywhere from two to eight weeks. These trips have the advantage of being able to provide study travel experiences to increasingly large numbers of students at the graduate and undergraduate levels because they are cheaper and they are often more convenient and feasible for students. However, these trips are potentially ill-equipped to promote in-depth experiences of another place and culture. As short-term study tours are likely to continue to grow in popularity, it is imperative to look critically at the goals and structures of these programs, not only to explore how participants can have a more intellectually and personally valuable experience, but also to question the political and social implications of short-term study travel. This article questions whether participants on short-term study tours typically allow themselves and their understandings about the world to be transformed by their experiences or if these brief trips only serve to reify and legitimize preconceived notions and stereotypes about the world. Based on an analysis of U.S. graduate students’ experiences on a trip to China, the authors argue that short-term study tours have the potential to provide a valuable opportunity for participants to deepen their understanding of themselves and their role in the world. However, they can only do so if a critical reflection component is incorporated in the study tour. In this article, the authors use the case of a study tour to China to propose a framework for reflection during short-term study travel that they call “meta-travel.” They explore what they mean by critical reflection and make a case for why critical reflection needs to be a key piece of study travel. They then discuss the case itself and the processes through which they developed this framework. Next, they discuss several critical incidents from the study tour itself and suggest ways in which the framework illuminates hidden lessons in each incident. Finally they conclude with some suggestions for how this framework might be utilized on other study tours. (Contains 1 figure.)

Steinman, E. (2011). Making space: Lessons from collaborations with tribal nations. Michigan Journal of Community Service-Learning, 18(1), 5 – 18.

In light of critiques regarding the concept of service, and after highlighting limits of critical service-learning and “authentic” relationship approaches, this article presents “making space” for marginalized community perspectives as an alternative metaphor for conceptualizing university-community relationships. Drawing upon multiple experiences with American Indian tribal nations, the article identifies deeply intercultural, counterhegemonic, and decolonizing dynamics enacted through making space, and which produce a discomforting reversal of the common analytic focus on community service recipients. Making space also enables university-community alignment, the generation of projects truly based in community interests, and facilitates interactions outside and disruptive of hegemonic power/knowledge regimes and discourses.

Prins, E., & Webster, N. (2010). Student identities and the tourist gaze in international service-learning: A university project in BelizeJournal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement, 14(5), 5-32.

This qualitative study explores how 11 university students in a U.S. service-learning course in Belize understood and represented their identities during the project, particularly their use of “the tourist” as a construct to interpret their experiences. Drawing on literature in international service-learning (ISL) and tourism studies, the article explores how students in this outreach project positioned themselves in relation to tourists and rejected this label for themselves, the ways in which they both exhibited and departed from the “tourist gaze,” and the conditions that fostered a more or less tourist-like stance. The article argues that the tourist gaze counteracts core goals of ISL and university engagement; however, such projects can also provide students with opportunities to develop a more conscious perspective of others and themselves. Findings suggest the need to identify and nurture programmatic practices that enable students to move away from a tourist gaze, especially in short-term projects.

Thering, S. (2010). Loose lug nuts, lobbed beer bottles, and buckets of crawdads: Reflecting on questions of race and class uncovered through cross-cultural transdisciplinary action-research partnerships. Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement, 14(1), 65-79.

This essay is a compilation of vignettes and reflections that illustrate the author’s ongoing journey from a vague detached historical awareness to a more nuanced understanding of the multiple and intersecting dimensions of race and class. The vignettes flash forward and back, recalling events that took place over years of coordinating transdisciplinary action-research partnerships. The conclusion includes reflections with implications for university outreach.

d’Arlach, L., Sanchez, B., & Feuer, R. (2009). Voice from the community: A case for reciprocity in service-learningMichigan Journal of Community Service Learning, 16(1), 5-16.

Few studies have directly examined how recipients of service view the service. This qualitative study presents the results of interviews and observations of nine community members who participated in a service-learning, language exchange program, Intercambio, in which Spanish-speaking Latino immigrants were paired with English-speaking university students to teach each other their native language and culture. The development and study of Intercambio was informed by Freire’s theory of critical consciousness and results supported his assumptions. Findings include: community members changing views of university students (i.e., from admiring them to seeing them as imperfect equals), changing views of themselves (i.e., from feeling helpless to finding a voice), as well as changing views of social issues (i.e., from impossible to solvable). Results favor a service-learning class format where community recipients can have expert roles (i.e., teach Spanish, too, rather than only being tutored), knowledge is assumed to be co-created and multi-directional, and ample time is devoted to dialogue about current social issues.

Rabin, L. M. (2009). Language ideologies and the settlement house movement: A new history for service learningMichigan Journal of Community Service Learning, 15(2), 48-55.

A significant number of community service-learning projects in higher education involve the teaching or tutoring of immigrants in English. As in related service-learning scholarship, these projects are commonly informed by perspectives on cultural difference, social justice, and power relations in U.S. society. Yet while faculty pair their students’ work in immigrant literacy programs with the classroom examination of issues of race, class, gender, and ethnicity, very little of the scholarship suggests that these students are led to critique the role of language ideologies in U.S. society. In this article I urge that institutionalized notions of English in the U.S.—such as the putative role of English in social mobility and the widespread belief that English was always voluntarily adopted by immigrants—be considered closely in our community literacy projects. My argument calls upon sociolinguistic and historical studies of the Progressive period and examines most closely language ideologies in the settlement house movement, an important origin for historians of community service-learning.

Tilley-Lubbs, G. A. (2009). Good intentions pave the way to hierarchy: A retrospective autoethnographic approachMichigan Journal of Community Service Learning, 16(1), 59-68.

I explore certain complexities of partnering university students with members of the Mexican and Honduran immigrant community through service-learning. I reveal how my “good intentions” inadvertently created social hierarchy and deficit notions of the community, establishing the students as “haves” and community members as “have-nots.” Critically examining my practices, I reflect on the service-learning instructor’s role in fostering reciprocal relationships based on non-hierarchical constructs when bringing seemingly disparate groups together in service-learning partnerships.

Mitchell, T. (2008). Traditional vs. critical service-learning: Engaging the literature to differentiate two models. Michigan Journal of Community Service-Learning, 14(2), 50 – 65.

There is an emerging body of literature advocating a “critical” approach to community service learning with an explicit social justice aim. A social change orientation, working to redistribute power, and developing authentic relationships are most often cited in the literature as points of departure from traditional service-learning. This literature review unpacks these distinguishing elements.

Woolf, M. (2008). Not Serious Stuff? Service-Learning in Context: An International PerspectiveFrontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 17, 21-32.

There has been recent development on the enthusiasm towards service-learning in institutions in United States, however we must turn our attention towards important questions regarding service learning. Questions such as whether service-learning is just “good works,” is it a form of community volunteerism or is it more of an academic program with “action research” through engagement with the community? As a result of these unanswered questions, service-learning is not a common activity found in college campuses. The author examines definitions and characteristics of service-learning and argues for it to be recognized as a valid pedagogy in higher education.

Dunlap, M., Scoggin, J., Green, P., & Davi, A. (2007). White students’ experiences of privilege and socioeconomic disparities: Toward a theoretical modelMichigan Journal of Community Service Learning, 13(2), 19-30.

A theoretical model is developed for the process relatively privileged white students go through as they become more aware of their own socioeconomic and other advantages and come to terms with these within their community service learning placements. The model is supported with journal reflections from service learners placed in inner-city homeless shelters to highlight stages of the proposed model. Resources for assisting students through the privilege awareness process and future research directions are identified.

Butin, D. (2006). The limits of service-learning in higher educationThe Review of Higher Education, 29(4), 473-498.

This article takes a critical look at the attempted institutionalization of service-learning in higher education. It asks whether service-learning can become deeply embedded within the academy; and if so, what exactly is becoming embedded. Specifically, this article suggests that there are substantial pedagogical, political, and institutional limits to service-learning across the academy. These limits, moreover, are shown to be inherent to the service-learning movement as contemporarily theorized and enacted. The article concludes by reframing some of the grounding assumptions of service-learning to position it as a disciplinary field more suited for becoming genuinely embedded within higher education.

Keith, N. V. (2005). Community service learning in the face of globalization: Rethinking theory and practice. Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, Spring, 5-24.

Globalization is a multifaceted phenomenon that does not yield easy definitions. The author examines three of its interconnected faces—neoliberalism, time-space compression, and globalism—to trace their implications for two principles of service-learning practice: reciprocity and meeting community needs. The article reconceptualizes these two principles, concluding that interdependence is a better fit with the values and practices of the field than reciprocity; conceptions of community should emphasize difference and intersection of public and private spaces; and community needs should be defined to support citizenship action, public work, and social justice.

Madsen Camacho, M. (2004). Power and privilege: Community Service Learning in TijuanaMichigan Journal of Community Service Learning, 10(3), 31-42.

As social scientists engage their own subjectivity, there is greater awareness of their own touristic “gaze,”or at least the power relations that are evoked in the researcher-subject interaction. In teaching students involved in community service learning, the challenge is to provide a learning experience that addresses power inequities between student and served. How do we teach students to recognize axes of privilege, be critical of their roles, and be sensitive to the multiple dimensions of power relations among and between server and served? This article proposes to examine how service-learning can be a catalyst for examining the important issue of subjectivity. Drawing from qualitative data of students working in migrant labor camps and community development projects in the context of Tijuana, I discuss how students viewed power differentials and came to consider their relative social class and racialized differences in the context of the Mexican border zone.

McCabe, M. (2004). Strengthening pedadgogy and praxis in cultural anthropology and service-learning: Insights from postcolonialismMichigan Journal of Community Service Learning, 10(3), 16-30.

This article argues cultural anthropology would make a good partner to service-learning pedagogy because it offers students a theoretical approach for understanding community life and its power structures. Anthropologists have been dealing with power vis-à-vis the people they study using concepts relevant to the reflection process in service-learning. A liaison between anthropology and service-learning would help orient students toward systemic change in society. This responds to a desire among service- learning educators to prevent perpetuation of power imbalances and social injustices. The rich experience of service-learning would help anthropology further its interest in praxis.

Green, A. E. (2001). “But you aren’t white:” Racial perceptions and service-learning. Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, 8(1), 18-26.

This article argues that teaching the implications of white privilege is crucial in service-learning courses, particularly when most of the students are white and most of those being served are of color. It also considers the ethical implications of race in service-learning.

Robinson, T. (2000). Dare the school build a new social order? Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, 7, 142-157.

Service-learning proponents are divided over direct charity versus justice-advocacy models, with many claiming a need for justice-advocates to moderate their service-learning philosophy in order to secure long-term institutional support. Historical examples of the Settlement House and Students for a Democratic Society teach that justice-advocacy service-learning has a long tradition but finds trouble in institutionalizing itself. Nevertheless, justice-advocacy service-learning should be pursued vigorously, for in it the university realizes higher goals of catalyzing social progress while simultaneously providing fundamental citizenship- education to students. A current justice-advocacy service-learning program at UC-Denver provides a case study.

Tisdell, E. (1998). Poststructural Feminist Pedagogies: The Possibilities and Limitations of Feminist Emancipatory Adult Learning Theory and Practice. Adult Education Quarterly, 48, 139-158.

This paper compares, contrasts, and examines the theoretical underpinnings of three strands of feminist pedagogy—the psychological models; the structural models; and poststructural feminist pedagogies-as they relate to critical pedagogy and the wider adult learning literature around four major themes: (1) the construction of knowledge; (2) voice; (3) authority; and (4) positionality. It is argued that poststructural feminist pedagogies which foreground the importance of the positionality of the instructor offer continued direction to the development of feminist emancipatory adult education theory and practice.

Book Summaries:

Cervero, R. M., Wilson, A. L., & Associates. (2001). Power in practice.  San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Adult educators know that they can no longer focus solely on the needs of learners without responsibly addressing the political and ethical consequences of their work. Power in Practice examines how certain adult education programs, practices, and policies can become a subtle part of power relationships in wider society. It provides a rich array of real-world cases that highlight the pivotal role of adult educators as “knowledge and power brokers” in the conflict between learners and the social forces surrounding them. The authors discuss how to teach responsibly, develop effective adult education programs, and provide exemplary leadership in complex political contexts, including the workplace and higher education. Educators in the middle of power struggles will learn how to become more politically aware while actively shaping their enterprises to meet important social needs.

Hart, M.  (2001).  Transforming boundaries of power in the classroom:  Learning from LaMestiza.  In R. Cervero, A. L. Wilson, & Associates, Power in practice (pp. 164-184).  San Francisco:  Jossey-Bass.

Adult educators know that they can no longer focus solely on the needs of learners without responsibly addressing the political and ethical consequences of their work. Power in Practice examines how certain adult education programs, practices, and policies can become a subtle part of power relationships in wider society. It provides a rich array of real-world cases that highlight the pivotal role of adult educators as “knowledge and power brokers” in the conflict between learners and the social forces surrounding them. The authors discuss how to teach responsibly, develop effective adult education programs, and provide exemplary leadership in complex political contexts, including the workplace and higher education. Educators in the middle of power struggles will learn how to become more politically aware while actively shaping their enterprises to meet important social needs.

Rahnema, M. & Bawtree, V., (Eds.), (1997). The post-development reader. New York: Zed Books.

Most scholars and practitioners are now agreed that the world is on the threshold of a completely new era in the history of development. This Reader brings together in a powerfully diverse, but ultimately coherent, statement some of the very best thinking on the subject by scholars and activists from both North and South. They provide a devastating critique of what the mainstream paradigm has in practice done to the peoples of the world and to their richly diverse and sustainable ways of living. They also present some of the essential ideas out of which the victims of development are now constructing new, humane, culturally and ecologically respectful modes of development.

McLaren, P. (1995). Critical pedagogy and predatory culture. NY: Routledge.

This book is a principled, accessible and highly stimulating discussion of a politics of resistance for today. Ranging widely over issues of identity, representation, culture and schooling, it will be required reading for students of radical pedagogy, sociology and political science.

Escobar, A. (1994). Encountering development: The making and unmaking of the third world. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

How did the industrialized nations of North America and Europe come to be seen as the appropriate models for post-World War II societies in Asia, Africa, and Latin America? How did the postwar discourse on development actually create the so-called Third World? And what will happen when development ideology collapses? To answer these questions, Arturo Escobar shows how development policies became mechanisms of control that were just as pervasive and effective as their colonial counterparts. The development apparatus generated categories powerful enough to shape the thinking even of its occasional critics while poverty and hunger became widespread. “Development” was not even partially “deconstructed” until the 1980s, when new tools for analyzing the representation of social reality were applied to specific “Third World” cases. Here Escobar deploys these new techniques in a provocative analysis of development discourse and practice in general, concluding with a discussion of alternative visions for a postdevelopment era.

Escobar emphasizes the role of economists in development discourse–his case study of Colombia demonstrates that the economization of food resulted in ambitious plans, and more hunger. To depict the production of knowledge and power in other development fields, the author shows how peasants, women, and nature became objects of knowledge and targets of power under the “gaze of experts.”

Galeano, E. (1992). The book of embraces. W. W. Norton & Company.

Parable, paradox, anecdote, dream, and autobiography blend into an exuberant world view and affirmation of human possibility.

Giroux, H. (1992). Border crossings: Cultural workers and the politics of education. NY: Routledge.

The concept of border and border crossing has important implications for how we theorize cultural politics, power, ideology, pedagogy and critical intellectual work. This completely revised and updated edition takes these areas and draws new connections between postmodernism, feminism, cultural studies and critical pedagogy. Highly relevant to the times which we currently live, Giroux reflects on the limits and possibilities of border crossings in the twenty-first century and argues that in the post-9/11 world, borders have not been collapsing but vigorously rebuilt. The author identifies the most pressing issues facing critical educators at the turn of the century and discusses topics such as the struggle over the academic canon; the role of popular culture in the curriculum; and the cultural war the New Right has waged on schools. New sections deal with militarization in public spaces, empire building, and the cultural politics of neoliberalism. Those interested in cultural studies, critical race theory, education, sociology and speech communication will find this a valuable source of information.

Hart, M. (1992).  Working and educating for life: Feminist and International perspectives on Adult education. New York: Routledge.

This text presents an alternative view of adult education. Approaching the issues of work from a critical, theoretical and feminist perspective, the book is based on the premise that our views of work, productivity, progress and economic growth are ultimately destructive to people and the environment. Mechthild Hart looks at the link between the international and sexual division of labour, and at the relationship between work, nature, and technology. She moves the analysis from the usual focus in adult education literature on skills and skill deficits, concentrating instead on the educational potential of work itself. By linking issues of gender and Third World development, an alternative concept of work and productivity is developed, serving as the basis for new approaches and paradigms in adult education. The author draws on over 20 years of studying critical social, political and economic, educational and feminist theory, as well as issues related to Third World development. This work should be useful to adult educators.

Anzaldua, G. (1990). La consciencia de la mestiza: Towards a new consciousness. In G. Anzaldua (Ed.), Making face, making soul. Haciendo caras: Creative and critical perspectives by women of color (pp. 377-389). San Francisco: Aunt Lute Books.

A bold collection of creative pieces and theoretical essays by women of color. New thought and new dialogue: a book that will teach in the most multiple sense of that word: a book that will be of lasting value to many diverse communities of women as well as to students from those communities. The authors explore a full spectrum of present concerns in over seventy pieces that vary from writing by new talents to published pieces by Audre Lorde, Joy Harjo, Norma Alarcón and Trinh T. Minh-ha.

Belenky, M. J., Clinchy, B. M., Goldberger, N. R. & Tarule, J. M. (1986). Women’s ways of knowing: The Development of self, mind, and voice.  New York: Basic Books.

Despite the progress of the women’s movement, many women still feel silenced in their families and schools. This moving and insightful bestseller, based on in-depth interviews with 135 women, explains why they feel this way. Updated with a new preface exploring how the authors’ collaboration and research developed, this tenth anniversary edition addresses many of the questions that the authors have been asked repeatedly in the years since Women’s Ways of Knowing was originally published.

Gilligan, C. (1982). In a different voice. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

This is the little book that started a revolution, making women’s voices heard, in their own right and with their own integrity, for virtually the first time in social scientific theorizing about women. Its impact was immediate and continues to this day, in the academic world and beyond. Translated into sixteen languages, with more than 700,000 copies sold around the world, In a Different Voice has inspired new research, new educational initiatives, and political debate—and helped many women and men to see themselves and each other in a different light.

Carol Gilligan believes that psychology has persistently and systematically misunderstood women—their motives, their moral commitments, the course of their psychological growth, and their special view of what is important in life. Here she sets out to correct psychology’s misperceptions and refocus its view of female personality. The result is truly a tour de force, which may well reshape much of what psychology now has to say about female experience.

Rodney, W. (1981). How Europe underdeveloped Africa. Washington, D.C.: Howard UP.

Few books have been as influential in understanding African impoverishment as this groundbreaking analysis. Rodney shows how the imperial countries of Europe, and subsequently the US, bear major responsibility for impoverishing Africa. They have been joined in this exploitation by agents or unwitting accomplices both in the North and in Africa.With oppression and liberation his main concern, he ‘delves into the past’, as he says in his preface, ‘only because otherwise it would be impossible to understand how the present came into being … In the search for an understanding of what is now called “underdevelopment” in Africa, the limits of inquiry have had to be fixed as far apart as the fifteenth century, on the one hand, and the end of the colonial period, on the other hand.’ He argues that ‘African development is possible only on the basis of a radical break with the international capitalist system, which has been the principal agency of underdevelopment of Africa over the last five centuries’.

His Marxist analysis went far beyond previously accepted approaches and changed the way both third world development and colonial history are studied.

Although first published in 1972, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa remains an essential introduction to understanding the dynamics of Africa’s contemporary relations with the West and is a powerful legacy of a committed thinker.

Fanon, F. (1952). Black skin, white masks. New York: Grove.

Few modern voices have had as profound an impact on the black identity and critical race theory as Frantz Fanon, and Black Skin, White Masks represents some of his most important work. Fanon’s masterwork is now available in a new translation that updates its language for a new generation of readers.
A major influence on civil rights, anti-colonial, and black consciousness movements around the world, Black Skin, White Masks is the unsurpassed study of the black psyche in a white world. Hailed for its scientific analysis and poetic grace when it was first published in 1952, the book remains a vital force today from one of the most important theorists of revolutionary struggle, colonialism, and racial difference in history.