Conference PaperPDF Available

Unveiling Hidden Epistemologies

Authors:
Unveiling Hidden Epistemologies
Miwa Aoki Takeuchi, University of Calgary, miwa.takeuchi@ucalgary.ca
Takeuchi, M.A. (2020, June 22). Unveiling hidden epistemologies. In K. Gutiérrez, A. Marin, N. Nasir, K.
Nzinga, P. Sengupta, M. Takeuchi, J. Vadeboncoeur, S. Vakil. Imagining socio-political and ethical horizons of the
Learning Sciences: Learning with and from junior and senior scholars. Invited special session presented at the 14th
International Conference of the Learning Sciences, Nashville, Tennessee. https://www.isls.org/annual-
meeting/
In the current climate of uncertainty and difficulty that we live in, death is brought to the surface
of our daily awareness. We live in the midst of collective grief of lives that were lost.
In the year I lost my beloved younger brother, I wrote a piece in the Journal of the Learning
Sciences on friendship and learning for immigrant and refugee learners
i
. Being so close to my
brother’s death and seeing how his friends came to gather to share the pain, fear and injustice he
endured but also to celebrate his life, my attention shifted to acts of caring and being together
that shine light into our lives, and embrace who we are and who we want to be. Through acts of
caring, love and solidarity, we collectively hold the pain of those who have suffered from
violence. Such a decolonial space of intimacy and care in learning can be political and humanize
dehumanized or Othered bodies.
What do such intimate relationships we build with others have to do with learning and solidarity
for societal changes? We are in a field where we can take pain and fear and turn them into the
impetus for reimagining our collective experiences and histories.
Facing the overwhelming number of Black lives lost from systemic anti-Black violence and in
memory of those lives killed through injustice – Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery,
Tony McDade – Na’ilah Nasir poignantly said
ii
: “Even as we mourn, we must take action.” The
current situation is calling for, even more than ever, our commitment to social justice and to
fight against anti-Black, anti-Indigenous violence, and systemic racism and intersectional
oppressions
iii
at large. In this light, I am grateful to scholars who pioneered and sustained critical
voices in the field of the learning sciences
iv
. I am thankful for your activism in your scholarship,
on behalf of those who follow in your footsteps.
Imagining a future that is just and equitable, it is imperative that we carry out acts of care and
solidarity within and beyond our scholarship to fight against systemic and historical oppression.
At the core of such acts, I posit centering the experiences of those who live intersectional
oppressions rooted in politics of race, class, gender, sexuality, and language and centering
epistemologies that are often masked and hidden. Our epistemology is inseparable from our
ontology. As a queer racialized woman, the way I see disciplinary learning and schooling is
fundamentally rooted in my own lived experiences. The reason why my attention goes to hidden
ways of knowing and being is because of my struggles of hiding and being hidden. But such
voices that deviate from the mainstream norms are often pushed back, further interrogated,
pressed to straighten up, and can be hidden or ultimately vanished.
Inclusion of historically oppressed voices and bodies goes beyond representational struggles; it
can evoke an epistemological shift toward societal changes. For example, I worked with a
migrant woman activist, Virgie Aquino Ishihara, and we depicted how racialized migrant women
who were experiencing violence countered the mainstream data that did not reveal their
historically marginalized voices, toward policy changes
v
. As another example, to counter the
official space of schooling that can hide non-mainstream ways of doing mathematics, together
with migrant mothers, we unveiled the richness of the history behind the hidden inter-
generational embodied ways of knowing mathematics
vi
. As we envision the future of the learning
sciences, I hope we can center and listen to the historically silenced and hidden epistemologies of
researchers and of participants alike. The learning sciences can give a space to carry out acts of
care and solidarity, together with communities, teachers, families and learners.
Continuing to mask and silence historically marginalized ways of being and knowing will
perpetuate violence against Othered and dehumanized bodies. I hope, together with colleagues
in the learning sciences, we can continue amplifying the design of the learning environments and
the field itself, where historically hidden and erased bodies and voices can come out and come
together.
Acknowledgement
My sincere appreciation goes to those who proposed and made this session possible: Kris Gutiérrez, Victoria
Hand, Susan Jurow, José Lizarraga, Ananda Marin, Na’ilah Suad Nasir, Kalonji Nzinga, Pratim Sengupta,
Jennifer Vadeboncoeur, Sepehr Vakil, and Shirin Vossoughi. Thank you so much for all your hard work as the
International Conference of the Learning Sciences 2020 co-chairs, Melissa Gresalfi and Ilana Horn.
i
Takeuchi, M. A. (2016). Friendships and group work in linguistically diverse mathematics classrooms. Journal of the
Learning Sciences, 25(3), 411437.
ii
https://www.spencer.org/news/our-world-and-our-work
iii
Banerjee, P., & Connell, R. (2018). Gender theory as southern theory. In B. Risman, C. Froyum, & W.
Scarborough (Eds.), Handbook of the sociology of gender (pp. 5768). Cham, Switzerland: Springer.
Bullock, E. C. (2018). Intersectional analysis in critical mathematics education research: A response to figure
hiding. Review of Research in Education, 42(1), 122145.
Collins, P. H. (2002). Black feminist thought: Knowledge, consciousness, and the politics of empowerment. Routledge.
Crenshaw, K. (1991). Mapping the margins: Intersectionality, identity politics, and violence against women
of color. Stanford Law Review, 43(6), 12411299.
Joseph, N. M., Hailu, M. F., & Matthews, J. S. (2019). Normalizing Black girls' humanity in mathematics
classrooms. Harvard Educational Review, 89(1), 132155.
Leyva, L. A. (2016). An intersectional analysis of Latin@ college women’s counter-stories in
mathematics. Journal of Urban Mathematics Education, 9(2), 81121.
Lorde, A. (2012). Sister outsider: Essays and speeches. Crossing Press.
Nasir, N.S. (2004). “Halal-ing” the child: Reframing identities of resistance in an urban Muslim
school. Harvard Educational Review, 74(2), 153174.
iv
Bang, M., & Marin, A. (2015). Nature-culture constructs in science learning: Human/non-human agency and
intentionality. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 52(4), 530544.
Esmonde, I., & Booker, A. N. (2016). Power and privilege in the learning sciences: Critical and sociocultural theories of learning.
New York, NY: Taylor & Francis.
Gutiérrez, K. D. (2016). Designing resilient ecologies: Social design experiments and a new social imagination.
Educational Researcher, 45(3), 187196.
Jurow, A. S., Teeters, L., Shea, M., & Van Steenis, E. (2016). Extending the consequentiality of “invisible work” in
the food justice movement. Cognition and Instruction, 34(3), 210221.
Langer-Osuna, J. M., & Nasir, N. S. (2016). Rehumanizing the “other” race, culture, and identity in education
research. Review of Research in Education, 40(1), 723743.
Lee, C. D. (2001). Is October Brown Chinese? A cultural modeling activity system for underachieving students.
American Educational Research Journal, 38(1), 97141.
Nasir, N. S. (2011). Racialized identities: Race and achievement among African American youth. Stanford University Press.
Nasir, N. S., & Hand, V. (2006). Exploring sociocultural perspectives on race, culture, and learning. Review of
Educational Research, 76(4), 449475.
Philip, T. M., Gupta, A., Elby, A., & Turpen, C. (2018). Why ideology matters for learning: A case of ideological
convergence in an engineering ethics classroom discussion on drone warfare. Journal of the Learning Sciences,
27(2), 183223.
Sengupta, P., Dickes, A., & Farris, A. (in press). Voicing code in STEM: A dialogical imagination. Cambridge, MA: The
MIT Press.
The Politics of Learning Writing Collective. (2017). The Learning Sciences in a new era of U.S. nationalism.
Cognition and Instruction, 35(2), 91102.
v
Takeuchi, M.A. & Aquino Ishihara, V. (2020). Learning to assemble the hidden bodies: Embodied and emplaced
mathematical literacy in transnational migrant activism. Journal of the Learning Sciences. Advance online
publication https://doi.org/10.1080/10508406.2020.1820341
vi
Takeuchi, M. A. (2018). Power and identity in immigrant parents’ involvement in early years mathematics learning.
Educational Studies in Mathematics, 97(1), 3953.
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
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