|Intercultural and Transnational Pedagogy: Editors' Introduction - Fully Engaging the “Other”|
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How we conduct our classrooms and our own pedagogies can be informed by transnational movements and global cultures. First, there is the possibility of utilizing pedagogies that stem from sources outside the Euro-American context. Wingeier-Rayo gives the simple suggestion of choosing textbooks written by non-Anglo-Saxon authors, thereby incorporating the perspective and pedagogy of diverse textbooks. Aponte, for his part, addresses the issue more directly. In addition to emphasizing the need to be aware of students’ diverse educational and personal backgrounds, Aponte is aware of his own background and brings that to bear in the classroom. In his performance style of lecturing, he brings personal stories into his lectures. And he also introduces a particular methodology. Aponte writes, “I draw on my own intercultural contextualizations as a Puerto Rican Latino scholar of religion who draws on a vital feature of Latina/o theology: its collaborative methodology, known as teología en conjunto. Doing history or cultural analysis in a collaborative way, en conjunto, is another way of doing engaged pedagogy, one in which both students and instructors are learners together, fostering an educational community in the classroom.”
Kim combines traditional concepts of a theological pedagogy that “education is based on love” with modern holistic concepts of pedagogy that emphasize diverse teaching methods and reach students through all their senses, in addition to a notion of “faith seeking understanding” that emphasizes praxis — action and reflection. In addition to all this, Kim consciously brings postcolonial theory into her pedagogy. Postcolonial theory has emphasized that Western culture has been a culture of “Othering,” often demonizing the Other. Following a postcolonial pedagogy, Kim attempts to reverse that conceptualization in her classroom, moving students toward an attitude of welcoming the Other or avoiding the tendency to see strangers as Other.
Cuéllar addresses a similar issue, pointing to the way university archival mechanisms constitute a hegemonic discourse in which disempowered voices become rendered as Other. He writes, “Before archivally produced knowledge enters the classroom and scholarship, archivists, administrators, and faculty must identify those governing procedures within the University’s archives that create oppressive categories of arrangement, languages, and concepts of the ‘Other.’” Applying concepts from subaltern theory and the work of Juan Flores, he encourages a “from below” approach that renders visible texts “from below” to subvert the hegemony of texts “from above.” Examples he provides include Latino/a folk songs and artistic productions produced in the borderlands and Japanese dance forms, rock gardens, and senryu poetry produced in internment camps. One can imagine these types of works incorporated into archives as well as directly into classrooms themselves.
Familiarity with Latina/o theology, postcolonial theory, and subaltern theory has significant ramifications for our teaching strategies in the classroom. One can surmise that other transnational theories and cultural frameworks might also expand our pedagogical methods to become more diverse and more inclusive.