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ProjectCensoredLUMPENPROLETARIAT—Dr. Henry Giroux offers us a refreshing radical perspective on education through his prolific work in the field of critical pedagogy.  Listen (or download) here.



PROJECT CENSORED—[30 OCT 2015, TRANSCRIPT]  “Welcome to the Project Censored show on Pacifica Radio.  I’m Mickey Huff in-studio with Peter Phillips.  On today’s programme, we focus on critical pedagogy and the role of radical education in reclaiming democracy against the shadows of fascism.  We’re joined for the hour by Professor Henry Giroux, who has written prolifically about these matters over the last several decades.  Today on the programme, critical pedagogy and Henry Giroux.  Please stay with us.  [1]

“Welcome back to the Project Censored show on Pacifica Radio.  I’m Mickey Huff, with Peter Phillips.  Today on the programme, we’re joined by Dr. Henry A. Giroux.  He currently holds the McMaster University Chair for Scholarship and Public Interest in the English and Cultural Studies Department and the Paulo Freire Chair in Critical Pedagogy at the McMaster Institute for Innovation and Excellence in Teaching and Learning.  He’s a Distinguished Visiting Professor at Ryerson University.  And his recent books include The Violence of Organized Forgetting:  Thinking Beyond America’s Disimagination Machine, Zombie Politics in the Age of Casino Capitalism, Disposable Futures: The Seduction of Violence in the Age of Spectacle, and Dangerous Thinking in the Age of New Authoritarianism.  Henry Giroux is also a member of the board of directors at Truth Out.  And his website is HenryAGiroux.com.  Henry Giroux, welcome.”

DR. HENRY GIROUX:  “Thank you for having me on, Mickey.”

DR. PETER PHILLIPS:  “Henry, hi.  This is Peter Phillips.  Let’s give listeners a little background on critical theory, and the origins of that, and what you mean by critical pedagogy.”

DR. HENRY GIROUX:  “One of the things, that I wanted to do in the late ’70s, when many of us were concerned about the question of education in the United States, particularly with the rise of Ronald Reagan and, you know, the Reagan-Thatcher sort of marriage.  One of the things, that was happening was that on the Left there was an enormous attempt to view schools simply as prisons and sort of black boxes in which power was sort of equated with domination and nothing else.  And, on the other side, of course, there were people who were simply arguing that schools should simply train people for the workforce.

“I wanted to look at different traditions, that offered a language of critique and a language of possibility for being able to do that.  I was one of the people, of course, who went right to the Frankfurt School and looked at Adorno and Horkheimer and a whole range of people.  It seemed to me they offered a very valuable vocabulary for talking about schools, particularly as institutions that were involved in the production of particular kinds of subjects and desires and the role of culture and subjectivity and what that means and how to link that to larger questions in which the school became part of a much broader relationship of, both, domination and possibility.

“And, so, in theory and resistance, there was an attempt to bring that tradition into the American fold, so that became part of the dialogue of critical education theory.  And I think it was, actually, largely successful for many people.”  (c. 4:13)

DR. PETER PHILLIPS:  “Henry, what do you mean by ideological control and domination by culture and by institutions for human beings in society?”

DR. HENRY GIROUX:  “I think that what many of us became aware of, particularly after reading people like Gramsci and people like Althusser, was that schools were not just simply about instruction.  I mean schools were, in a sense, ideological state apparatuses.  They were institutions that promoted, legitimated, particular forms of knowledge, that they sanctioned, particular kinds of social relationships, highly competitive, generally, knowledge that basically mirrored the status quo.  They sanctioned and legitimated particular values and had a certain understanding of what the future should look like.  And I think that, in that sense, it became very clear that you had to talk about schools in ways, that could not be separated from questions of power and particular kinds of visions, that people had about what schools do and what they should produce.  We were trying to unravel that and, sort of, try to understand what the hidden curriculum was in many of these schools.  You know?  What were they trying to teach?  How did they correlate with larger assumptions about the dominant society?  In what ways were they stifling the imagination and critical thinking?  In what ways were they not becoming democratic public spheres, but, actually, simply work stations to segue people into the workforce?

“So, I think that, particularly, people who are concerned with critical pedagogy, people like Paolo Freire, myself, a number of others were trying to figure out how we could talk about pedagogy in a way that was, both, inspiring and energizing.” (c. 5:47)  [2]



PROJECT CENSORED—Peter and Mickey spend the hour speaking with author/educator Henry Giroux. Giroux explains the concept of ‘critical pedagogy,’ and the pivotal role that education plays for the whole of society. He warns of the increasing domination of the world by the ultra-rich, and a new form of anti-intellectualism fostered by a failing corporate media. Among the measures the left must take to resist these forces, he names the formation of a third political party, and more academics taking on the duties of public intellectuals, rather than limiting their activities to the campus.



[1]  KPFA News Headlines omitted from transcription.

[2]  Partial transcript by Messina.  The remainder of the interview will be transcribed as time constraints allow.


[10 NOV 2015  07:27 PDT]

[Last modified 10 NOV 2015  07:31 PDT]