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"Globalization," Coloniality, and Decolonial Love in STEM Education


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From the era of European empire to the global trades escalated after the World Wars, technological advancement, one of the key underlying conditions of globalization, has been closely linked with the production and reproduction of the colonizer/colonized. The rhetoric of modernity characterized by “salvation,” “rationality,” “development,” and nature-society or nature-culture divides underlies dominant perspectives on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education that have historically positioned economic development and national security as its core values. Such rhetoric inevitably and implicitly generates the logic of oppression and exploitation. Against the backdrop of nationalist and militaristic discourse representing modernity or coloniality, counter-voices have also arisen to envision a future of STEM education that is more humane and socioecologically just. Such bodies of critiques have interrogated interlocking colonial domains that shape the realm of STEM education: (a) settler colonialism, (b) paternalism, genderism, and coloniality, and (c) militarism and aggression and violence against the geopolitical Other. Our ways of knowing and being with STEM disciplines have been inexorably changed in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, which powerfully showed us how we live in the global chain of contagion. What kinds of portrayal can we depict if we dismantle colonial imaginaries of STEM education and instead center decolonial love—love that resists the nature-culture or nature-society divide, love to know our responsibilities and enact them in ways that give back, and love that does not neglect historical oppression and violence yet carries us through? STEM education that posits decolonial love at its core will be inevitably and critically transdisciplinary, expanding the epistemological and ontological boundaries to embrace those who had been colonized and disciplined through racialized, gendered, and classist disciplinary practices of STEM.
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“Globalization,” Coloniality, and Decolonial Love in STEM Education
Miwa A. Takeuchi, University of Calgary
Ananda Marin, University of California Los Angeles
Land Acknowledgements
As a member of the University of Calgary, Miwa A. Takeuchi acknowledges land stewardship by the people
on the traditional territories of the Treaty 7 region in Southern Alberta, which includes the Blackfoot
Confederacy (comprising the Siksika, Piikani, and Kainai First Nations), as well as the Tsuut’ina First Nation,
the Stoney Nakoda (including the Chiniki, Bearspaw, and Wesley First Nations) and Métis Nation. As an
educational researcher, I commit to reflect on the colonial histories in schooling and take actions toward
reconciliation with and the resurgence of Indigenous communities.
As a member of the University of California Los Angeles, Ananda Marin acknowledges the Gabrielino/Tongva
peoples as the traditional land caretakers of Tovaangar (Los Angeles Basin, South Channel Islands). As a land
grant institution, we pay our respects to the honuukvetam (ancestors), 'ahiihirom (elders), and 'eyoohiinkem
(our relatives/relations) past, present, and emerging, and are grateful to have the opportunity to work for and
with the taraaxotam (Indigenous peoples) in this place.
Takeuchi, M.A. & Marin, A. (2022). “Globalization,” coloniality, and decolonial love in STEM education.
Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Education.
From the era of European empire to the global trades escalated after the World Wars, technological
advancement, one of the key underlying conditions of globalization, has been closely linked with the
production and reproduction of the colonizer/colonized. The rhetoric of modernity characterized by
“salvation,” “rationality,” “development,” and nature-society or nature-culture divides underlies dominant
perspectives on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education that have
historically positioned economic development and national security as its core values. Such rhetoric
inevitably and implicitly generates the logic of oppression and exploitation. Against the backdrop of
nationalist and militaristic discourse representing modernity or coloniality, counter-voices have also
arisen to envision a future of STEM education that is more humane and socioecologically just. Such
bodies of critiques have interrogated interlocking colonial domains that shape the realm of STEM
education: (a) settler colonialism, (b) paternalism, genderism, and coloniality, and (c) militarism and
aggression and violence against the geopolitical Other. Our ways of knowing and being with STEM
disciplines have been inexorably changed in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, which powerfully
showed us how we live in the global chain of contagion. What kinds of portrayal can we depict if we
dismantle colonial imaginaries of STEM education and instead center decolonial lovelove that resists
the nature-culture or nature-society divide, love to know our responsibilities and enact them in ways that
give back, and love that does not neglect historical oppression and violence yet carries us through? STEM
education that posits decolonial love at its core will be inevitably and critically transdisciplinary,
expanding the epistemological and ontological boundaries to embrace those who had been colonized and
disciplined through racialized, gendered, and classist disciplinary practices of STEM.
STEM education and coloniality, settler colonialism, paternalism, genderism, militarism, neoliberalism,
Chronotope: The COVID-19 Pandemic
We open this article by specifying the time and space where we are located. Bakhtin (1981)
exemplified analyses of “chronotope” (p. 84) in novels, the intersection of the spatial marker and the
temporal marker that provides the concrete wholeness and richness of characters and events. Analyses of
chronotope can provide historicity (Gutiérrez, 2016) as we inquire into our collective epistemology of
Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines and coloniality. We wrote this
article in the years 2020 and 2021, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic
powerfully showed us how we live in the global chain of contagion (Kucharski, 2020). Our experiences
with time-space and the daily round are more hyperlocal (Marin et al., 2020) and human bodies are
constrained in their mobility, longing families and friends who live close and afarsome who live in
different continents. Through these embodied experiences of changed mobility, we feel the global
networks that shape who we areintensified feelings of globalized social relations. As Giddens (1990)
defined, globalization is “the intensification of worldwide social relations which link distant localities in
such a way that local happenings are shaped by events occurring many miles away and vice versa” (p.
64). Every day, we are gazing at graphs marking the overwhelming number of deaths locally and across
the globe. Every day, we are also questioning the number of deaths caused by settler colonialism and
racial and economic inequity, which are often masked in the mainstream media internationally. We
frequently compare and contrast different mathematical models that predict the future in light of local,
national, and international policies. We sympathize with the fatigue of front-line medical professionals.
We are also grateful to the essential workers who continue to harvest crops and make it possible to
receive nourishment. We keenly read articles about the mechanism of the COVID-19 virus and different
paths for vaccine development as they are gradually uncovered, while being concerned about the global
race for the COVID-19 vaccine that could leave economically vulnerable peoples and countries behind.
Our ways of knowing and being with STEM disciplines have been inevitably changed in the midst of the
The year of 2020 also marked a rise of global anti-racism social movements, in memory of
George Floyd’s life, Breonna Taylor’s life, and uncountable Black lives taken in injustice and by police
brutality. In the Black Lives Matter movement, assumptions and practices that have historically shaped
STEM disciplines have been questioned, as seen in social movements on #ShutDownSTEM (Chen,
2020). Questions around racial bias in artificial intelligence algorithms and cryptography in mass
surveillance are examples of racism and racial surveillance that have been in question relative to
macroethics (Vakil & Higgs, 2019). More and more, voices are rising to question the intended and
unintended use of STEM disciplines to perpetuate racism including surveillance and police brutality, as
seen in social movements by mathematicians urging to end the application of mathematics for policing
(Burke, 2020). More than ever, in this era of pandemic and protest, people are questioning the colonial
history within STEM disciplines and naming how these disciplines have been built through and for the
exploitation of racialized bodies (Morales-Doyle et al., 2020; Philip & Sengupta, 2020) and the abuse of
the natural worlds (Bang, 2020; Marin, 2020). Scholars and activists are also storying the ways in which
socioecological injustices, carried out in the name of science, land within Indigenous territories and
complex colonial histories (Kimmerer, 2013; LaDuke, 2016). These stories or theories remind us that
racialized forms of supremacy are rooted in nature-culture divides that also position our more-than-human
relatives as being without agency and created for resource extraction (Junker, 2020). Hopefully these
conversations will facilitate a remaking of STEM education “as not merely a technical and economic
pursuit, but a moral and ethical one” (Morales-Doyle et al., 2020).
The COVID-19 pandemic is thus making us fundamentally rethink taken-for-granted colonial
world views. Statues of colonial symbols have been taken down to reclaim history and to seek a
resurgence of ethical lifeways. Discourses are also monuments, as Foucault (1991) stated: discourse is “a
monument to be described in its intrinsic configurations” (p. 60). The power of discourse extends beyond
the symbolic to the material and physical. In the realm of STEM disciplines, Eurocentric and Imperialist
monumental discourses have inscribed coloniality, global-scale forced migration, and slavery of bodies.
Such monumental discourses in STEM education were interrogated and taken down in radical senses in
2020, marked as a year of the pandemic and protests (Morales-Doyle et al., 2020; Philip & Sengupta,
This article is a critique of colonial discourses that have shaped the field of STEM education
globally. At the same time, this article is also about decolonial imaginations of STEM education that this
era we live in is fundamentally calling for. The recent literatures in STEM education are collectively
inviting us to shift our foci away from global competitiveness, militarization, genderism, and human
capital discourse that have long shaped the hegemonic discourse. In dialogue with critical literatures, we
envision future directions of the STEM education field that center decoloniality and decolonial love.
Framing Globalization and Coloniality
From the era of European empire to the global trades escalated after the World Wars,
technological advancement, one of the key underlying conditions of globalization, has been closely linked
with the production and reproduction of the colonizer/colonized. Given the influences of the disciplines of
STEM on the technological advancement underpinning globalization, this article delves deeper into this
colonial relationship that the STEM disciplines have been (covertly) perpetuating.
In order to discuss coloniality and decoloniality in the realm of STEM education, we draw from
what Mignolo (2007) and Quijano (2007) poignantly pointed out: coloniality is constitutive of modernity.
In other words, the rhetoric of salvation, rationality, and development that characterizes modernity
inevitably and implicitly generates the logic of oppression and exploitation (Mignolo, 2007; Quijano,
2007). The logic of oppressions is also epistemic and grounded in the simultaneous disqualification and
appropriation of Indigenous knowledges (Mignolo, 2007). The coloniality of power came to be
intertwined with the social categorization of race and the imposition of racial classification on the
colonized under Eurocentrification (Quijano, 2007). Mignolo (2007) argues that this inextricable
relationship between modernity and coloniality has been amplified by the geopolitical colonial matrix of
power that is often hidden under the rhetoric of modernity. The colonial matrix of power stretches across
the world by shaping and reshaping the global order to sustain the dispensability of lives. Such a colonial
matrix of power is characterized by interlocking domains of control: “economy (exploitation of labour
and appropriation of land/natural resources), authority (government, military forces), gender/sexuality and
knowledge/subjectivity” (Mignolo, 2009, p. 19). Unlike colonization, which has been conceptualized
through historically and geographically bounded politics and violence, Mignolo’s (2009) notion of
geopolitical colonial matrix of power extends beyond the nation-state politics and refers to the colonial
world order that is both geographically and temporally stretched. As Quijano (2007) states, even in the
post-empire and post-colonial era, coloniality “is still the most general form of domination in the world
today, once colonialism as an explicit political order was destroyed” (p. 170). What is central to this
conceptualization of coloniality is its control over our epistemology through the linkages between
geohistorical locations and bodily politics of knowledge production (Mignolo, 2009).
Linda Tuhiwai Smith (2021) describes modernity as a project of nation-building that is
constituted by the discovery of “new” worlds and “liberal political and economic theories” which focus
on individual reason and autonomy, the rule of law, and the pursuit of economic self-interest (p. 68). As
Smith points out, “Once it was accepted that humans had that capacity to reason and to attain this
potential through education, through a systematic form of organizing knowledge, then it became possible
to debate these ideas in rational and ‘scientific’ ways” (p. 68). Thus, modernism is characterized by the
development of scientific thought and discovery of other worlds by Europeans. Importantly, colonialism
as tied to modernity involved the “re-arrangement, re-presentation, and re-distribution” of human and
more-than-human relationships (Smith, 2021, p. 71). The formation of new states depended upon
separating humanity from nature (Aldeia & Alves, 2019). This hierarchical organization of society or
culture over nature is constitutive of the logics of coloniality and modernity and provides the basis for
human exceptionalism and mastery over nature. Modernity, as linked to the New World, depended upon
positioning more-than-human beings, including lands or waters, as existing for the benefit of man.
Through this linking, “large portions of humanity were relegated to categories of Nature-outside-
humanity” (Aldeia & Alves, 2019, p. 7). These settled expectations of nature-culture relations constrain
how core phenomena in STEM are conceptualized and shape STEM education including what is
considered valid subject matter as well as how science knowledge is deliberated in moment-to-moment
instruction (Bang & Marin, 2015; Bang et al., 2012).
Moreover, the rhetoric of modernity, characterized by the rhetoric of “salvation,” “rationality,”
and “development” (Mignolo, 2007; Quijano, 2007), underlies dominant perspectives in STEM education
that have historically positioned economic development and national security as its core values (Philip &
Sengupta, 2020; Takeuchi et al., 2020; Vossoughi & Vakil, 2018). Such a rhetoric of modernity has
tactfully reproduced the logic of coloniality, which is often masked and tacit in the field of STEM
education. Unveiling the imperialism that has historically been silenced in the discipline of (and in the
global mass industry of) computing, Philip and Sengupta (2020) argue that theories of learning need to
account for the exploitation of labor made by endarkened bodies in the discipline: “learning in the
disciplines is to be in solidarity with people who do disciplinary work, and more importantly, with people
whose labor is hidden through the mechanisms of imperialism while making disciplinary work possible”
(p. 12).
Paradoxically, globalization could intensify nationalist sentiments while diminishing some
aspects of relationships bound to nation-states (Giddens, 1990). Modern coloniality is escalated through
such nationalist sentiments (Dirlik, 2011). In light of this, in their critical review of STEM education
research published in leading international journals during the early formation of the field of STEM
education (20072018), Takeuchi et al. (2020) identified Americentrism. This Americentrism can be
visualized by Figure 1, which is based on Takeuchi et al.’s (2020) analysis on contexts of study, wherein
STEM education studies were conducted in selected international journals. In their review of 143
empirical studies, the United States was not only the most frequently studied context but also influential
in shaping nationalistic agenda through STEM education research. One of the major foci of STEM
education research has been around career preparation to strengthen school-to-workplace pipelines for
global competitiveness in STEM domains. This Americentrism could be related to the fact that the notion
of STEM education originated in the United States historically and was rooted in concerns for national
security and militarization in the post-Sputnik era (Shanahan et al., 2016; Vossoughi & Vakil, 2018).
Figure 1. Americentrism in STEM education research.
In the governmental vision, STEM education discourses in the United States are strongly characterized by
the dual foci on national security and economic competition. In Charting a Course for Success: America’s
Strategy for STEM Education, a government-issued publication in 2018, such foci are evident:
Since the founding of the Nation, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)
have been a source of inspirational discoveries and transformative technological advances,
helping the United States develop the world’s most competitive economy and preserving
peace through strength. The pace of innovation is accelerating globally, and with it the
competition for scientific and technical talent. Now more than ever the innovation capacity of
the United Statesand its prosperity and securitydepends on an effective and inclusive
STEM education ecosystem (Committee on STEM Education of the National Science and
Technology Council, 2018, p. v).
This vision for STEM education has been critiqued for the underlying neoliberalist agenda that promotes
market-driven choices of curriculum and pedagogical resources as well as privatization of public
education (Hoeg & Bencze, 2017; Strong et al., 2016; Zeidler, 2016; Zouda, 2018). Based on critical
discourse analysis of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) that has been highly influential in
shaping STEM education in the United States and beyond, Hoeg and Bencze (2017) interrogated how the
NGSS prioritized measurable and reproducible performances that are “associated with the economic
values and principles of neo(new)-liberalism” (p. 291). Similarly, Zeidler (2016) raised concerns around
what is omitted and mistreated as STEM education governed by the NGSS and called attention to the
exploration of STEM through “human-based morality” (p. 17) that includes critical reflections on
knowledge production and sociopolitical understanding of how scientific knowledges are socially
constructed. Strong et al. (2016) similarly interrogated the neutrality in the NGSS that ignored unequal
access to symbolic, material, and social capital under the meritocratic rhetoric emphasized in
The current hegemonic position of the U.S. government in shaping STEM education discourse is
stark: epistemology that shapes disciplinary practice has historically been linked with the geopolitical
colonial matrix of power and the world order molded through coloniality (Mignolo, 2009). In the guise of
diversity and inclusion initiatives within the nationalistic discourse, “the children of historically colonized
and oppressed communities are positioned as potential contributors to STEM fields in so far as they
identify with a narrow view of American national interests” (Vossoughi & Vakil, 2018, p. 136).
Moreover, the nationalistic discourse of coloniality also shapes who the learners are and who they
become. The rigid institutionalized categorization in the politically-laden disciplinary space of STEM co-
constructs the geopolitical Other (Said, 1978) as potential threat and as a target of hostility and aggression
(Philip et al., 2018; Takeuchi, 2021; Vossoughi & Vakil, 2018).
Countering Coloniality Through STEM Education Research
Against the backdrop of the official and nation-state driven discourses, there has also been critical
scholarship that has collectively countered the hegemonic coloniality in STEM education practices and
research. Such bodies of critiques can be clustered into the following three interlocking colonial domains
that shape the realm of STEM education: (a) settler colonialism, (b) paternalism, genderism, and
coloniality, and (c) militarism and aggression and violence against the geopolitical Other. These three
areas of coloniality are conceived under the geographically and temporally stretched colonial matrix of
power (Mignolo, 2007) and Eurocentric racial classification of the colonizer/colonized (Quijano, 2007).
Countering Settler Colonialism
Settler colonialism that is based on the settler’s acquisition of land as private property simultaneously
establishes a set of settler norms that include: “(a) erasure of Indigenous presence, (b) staged inheritance
of indigeneity by Whites (Reardon & Tallbear, 2012), and (c) erasure of African descendants’ humanity
through the structuration of slavery and resultant reduction to and control of Black bodies (Wolfe, 2006)”
(Bang & Marin, 2015, p. 532). Settler colonialism restructures time-space relations and positions humans
as apart from the natural world. Specifically, settlers have been positioned as superior and human
entitlement to the natural world as normative. These positionings have also been inscribed in the
dominant theories of learning (Bang, 2017). Bang (2017) eloquently alarmed us: “the temporal
positioning of Indigenous people as primitive or as less developed constructs a cultural-historical
temporality in the service of settler-colonialism that enables the erasure of Indigenous peoples in the
present” (p. 128). Importantly, the erasure of Indigenous peoples occurs simultaneously with the
appropriation of Indigenous scientific knowledge.
Seminal works countered settler colonialism, challenged epistemological and ontological erasures
of Indigenous people, and unsettled sets of assumptions behind theories of learning that have shaped
practices and research of STEM education (Bang, 2017; Bang & Marin, 2015; Cajete, 1994; LaDuke &
Cowen, 2020; Little Bear, 2000). As Cajete (2004) points out, before Western sciences have come to
understand quantum physics, Indigenous epistemology has long positioned nature as “a dynamic, ever-
flowing river of creation inseparable from our own perceptions, the creative centre from which we and
everything else have come and to which we always return” (p. 48). Yet, Indigenous relationships with
nature, which is perceived as being in constant flux and agentive, have long been undermined in the
discipline of Western sciences.
The following body of work is together reimagining STEM education that counters settler
colonialism. In Bang and Marin’s (2015) community-based design research centralizing everyday parent-
child interactions, they documented emergent forms of science pedagogy that can desettle settler
colonialism: for instance, constructing non-humans as agents or place makers and remediating colonial
time-space constructions through naming places with Indigenous languages. Pedagogies of walking,
reading, and storying land discussed in Marin and Bang (2018) center bodily moves and orientation to
land as intergenerational epistemology of or within ecology. Marin (2020) posits that lands or waters and
mobility are “fundamental parts of human life” and encourages those who research STEM education to
develop systems of analysis that “re-member (Grande & McCarty, 2018; Wa Thiong’o, 2009)
relationships between land, humans and more-than-human relatives” (p. 31). Similar to Marin and Bang
(2018), Czuy and Eagle Speaker (2019) situate decolonial epistemology in humans’ intergenerational
relationships to land, well-being of communities, and bodies that sense in their movement. Czuy and
Eagle Speaker (2019) criticize how Indigenous stories have been stolen, misappropriated, or dismissed by
settlers and how such colonial relationships resulted in the ascendancy of the static Eurocentric
mathematics discipline, which is often detached from humanity. In this light, Czuy and Eagle Speaker
(2019) centralize the gift of Indigenous stories to humanize mathematics, under the pedagogy weaved
together through a decolonial relationship with Indigenous communities.
The gift of the Indigenous practice of storytelling was also at the core of Lam-Herrera, Ixkoj
Ajkem Council, and Sengupta’s (2019) project to design a new symbolic tool to advocate for complex
environmental issues from the perspective of the Guatemalan Indigenous community. Their project
sought for a meaningful dialogue between Indigenous epistemology and Western scholarship on
computational modeling and complexity. Rahm et al. (in press) have collectively woven a story of
learning and becoming through Inuit relational epistemology (Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit). Grounded in the
contexts of youth hunter programs in Inuit Nunangat, Rahm, Tagalik and Baker depict heterogeneous
learning where intergenerational knowledge exchange, community relations and well-being, and youth’s
well-being and ways of knowledge are meaningfully intertwined.
Partially due to the colonial history of official schooling in Indigenous communities, many of the
projects introduced here were conducted outside the official school space. Msimanga and Shizha (2014)
poignantly cautioned against the epistemic erasure that was imposed through institutionalized schooling
and curriculum during and post the colonial era in South Africa. Such erasure “denigrates and silences the
phenomenological lived experiences and worldviews” (Msimanga & Shizha, 2014, p. 140) in the spaces
of schools.
With this complexity in mind, Meaney et al. (2013) engaged in redesigning the context of school.
They depict how learning of mathematics is situated in the whole ethos of school and therefore
curriculum, teacher-student relationships, and school-community relationships need to be decolonized
altogether. From this perspective, Meaney, Trinick, and Fairhall’s project redesigned kura (school)
centralizing relations, language, and identity that the Māori community values.
Altogether, this body of work has been countering symbolic and corporeal erasures of Indigenous
people under settler colonialism, by redesigning curriculum, schools, pedagogy, and language in the
realm of STEM education. Through their works, they are refreshing the notion of “research” that was
problematized as “one of the dirtiest words in the indigenous world’s vocabulary” (Smith, 2021, p. 1). As
seen in the variety of Indigenous territories across continents that these researchers are voicing from,
settler colonialism has been, and should continue to be, challenged globally.
Countering Paternalism, Genderism, and Coloniality
The epistemology of STEM cannot be isolated from gender politics and colonial histories (Harding,
2008). The colonial matrix of power penetrates into the domain of gender and sexuality in the disciplines
of STEM, especially if we examine through the contrapuntal lenses that Philip and Sengupta (2020)
advocated for. The invisible labor of marginalized and colonized people to make up the discipline is
simultaneously racialized, classed, and gendered. Drawing from Banerjee and Rincón’s (2019)
sociological study on immigrant tech industry workers of color, Philip and Sengupta (2020) challenged
the apolitical representation of computing perpetuated through dominant educational practices and
policies. In contrast to such a politically neutral picture of computing, what Banerjee and Rincón (2019)
depicted were the intersectional systems of oppressions that immigrant coders of color could face,
including the patriarchal gender hierarchy the immigration regime they were in produced and reproduced
at their households. Further, Banerjee and Connell (2018) maintain that decolonizing gender means
embracing solidarity-based epistemology while re-centralizing knowledge from gender theories deeply
rooted in the Global South. Banerjee and Connell’s (2018) vision for Southern Theory of gender responds
to Spivak’s (1988) critique to the Western formation of a discipline that has tacitly excluded and erased
voices of the gendered and classed subaltern who has historically been spoken for and been represented
for. In this intersectional gender-based exclusion rooted in global geopolitical power, apolitical and
ahistorical views have begun to be challenged beyond examining gender gaps on achievement and
participation in STEM disciplines. Krishnamoorthy (2021) examined how through human-material
relations heterosexual ways of being get positioned as normative in school science spaces. Raveendran
(2021) depicted howclassed and gendered discourses are perpetuated and challenged in secondary
students’ engagement with a socioscientific issue of commercial surrogacy, which deeply affects women
from the Global South. Takeuchi and Aquino Ishihara (2021) highlighted the power of migrant woman of
color leadership in social movements and mobilization of mathematical literacy to counter violence on the
bodies of migrant women who were forced to migrate from the Global South (often in the form of human
trafficking) and work in the transnational enterprise of the entertainment industry. These studies suggest
the need to complicate the nature of gender and advocate for the inclusion of voices, bodies, and
experiences of women, queer, and trans/genderqueer people from the Global South toward making the
discipline of STEM more socially just and anti-colonial.
Such anti-colonial and solidarity-based epistemology of gender is in contrast with the ways in
which STEM education practices and research have been conceptualizing gender, which often perpetuate
genderism. Esmonde (2011) and Leyva (2017) pointed out how mathematics education research has
repeatedly reproduced the gender binary, which resulted in genderism that privileges people who can
conform to local gender norms. Leyva (2017) also argued that such comparative gender studies
perpetuated not only genderism but also the masculinization of the domain of mathematics by unfairly
holding men’s higher levels of achievement as a measure of success. Such genderism and the
masculinization of the STEM discipline were similarly observed in the recent body of scholarship in
STEM education research (Takeuchi et al., 2020). As Takeuchi et al. (2020) pointed out, “the risk of
reducing our intersectional histories and experiences to deterministic categories is the further subjugation
of learners and erasure of the heterogeneity of their histories, desires and experiences by disciplinary
apparatus” (p. 25).
On gender-based and race-based representational politics ubiquitous in STEM education policies
and practices, Sengupta-Irving and Vossoughi (2019) interrogated the paternalism underlying in the
discourse that assumes racialized girls and women’s pursuit of STEM careers as valuable and desirable.
Paternalism in representational politics in STEM education negates “the possibility that not choosing
STEM careers reflects sound reasoning” (Sengupta-Irving & Vossoughi, 2019, p. 481). Such implicit
paternalism reproduces social control and non-reciprocal relationships between experts and novices of the
STEM domains. Instead, Sengupta-Irving and Vossoughi (2019) advocate for understanding learners’
relationships to STEM disciplines on their own terms to contest representational politics. Subjective
experiences of learning STEM for two girls of color depicted in Sengupta-Irving and Vossoughi (2019)
challenge the normative picture of what STEM disciplines are and who are included there, from anti-
racist and feminist lenses. Studies depicting learner experiences through intersectionality lenses
(Avraamidou, 2020; Joseph et al., 2019; Leyva, 2016, 2017; McGee & Bentley, 2017; McGee & Martin,
2011) collectively illustrate visions for STEM learning with dignity that Sengupta-Irving and Vossoughi
(2019) called for. For instance, Joseph et al. (2019) painted the picture of mathematics learning spaces
that can challenge the dehumanization of Black girls, wherein they are intellectually challenged,
encouraged to learn collaboratively with others while being treated as a respected and valued contributor
and being playful if they choose to be. McGee and Bentley (2017) highlight the resilience of Black
women in STEM while also cautioning against an individualized model of resiliency that abuses their
inner strengths without changing institutional environments.
Challenging hegemonic STEM disciplinary practices that perpetuate sexism and genderism
requires changing the portrayals of the doers of STEM. As Leyva et al. (2016) argued, recentering voices
of LGBTQ+ engineers can queer the historically masculine engineering discipline. By centralizing queer
experiences in moment-to-moment interactions, mathematics can be renewed as a discipline filled with
emotions, desires, and a sense of belonging (Radke, 2021). Shining a light on stories of queer experiences
can simultaneously queer the discipline of computing, which is now constituted as a masculine domain
that over-relies on colonized labors (Paré et al., 2019; Philip & Sengupta, 2020). Bringing a queer
sensibility can also bring forth distinct educational intimacy that can serve as a catalyst for the
transformation of the collective (Uttamchandani, 2021). As the history of social movements and
scholarships led by queer women of color demonstrated (Combahee River Collective, 1974; Moraga &
Anzaldúa, 1981), the collective characterized by a non-hierarchical and decolonial distribution of power
is essential to create a history anew.
From the lenses of decolonial queerness, the following body of scholarship can be repositioned as
efforts to foster the collective and gathering toward queering the discipline of STEM. Through their
research on family science workshops with Latina mothers and daughters, Kayumova et al. (2015)
depicted how such spaces of gathering contributed to countering deficit-oriented normative institutional
perspectives toward Latina/o families and languages. Through Civil’s (2007, 2016) longitudinal
community-based research, working-class Latina/o parents came together to find voices to position
themselves as competent doers of mathematics, even when the mathematics they knew differed from the
ones their children were learning at school. As Civil described in her studies, the collective space allowed
Spanish-speaking Latina/o parents to engage in dialogues with schools on their children’s mathematics
learning. Booker and Goldman (2016) emphasized what they termed as epistemic authority by depicting
how families in their participatory design research came to own the agency and power to know what they
want to know about mathematics. Takeuchi (2018) shined a light on non-dominant embodied algorithm
for multiplication that was hidden at the school by Filipina migrant mothers and children. The hidden
embodied algorithm was legitimized in the designed workshops where migrant parents and children came
together to re-engage with the discipline of mathematics. Altogether, these emergent spaces of gathering
showed a possibility for decolonial queerness “querying the workings of neo-colonial epistemic
categories, systems of classification and taxonomies that classify people” (Bakshi et al., 2016, p. 1). In
other words, through such spaces of gathering, researchers and participants together countered colonial
categories and classification that had masked STEM competences that labeled people exhibit.
Countering Militarism
The amassed critical voices are changing the portraits of STEM education, by collectively challenging its
historically dominant militaristic picture. Philip et al. (2018) interrogated covert militaristic ideologies
that have driven normative curricula and pedagogies in the discipline of engineering. In the context of
American post-secondary engineering education, Philip et al. (2018) conducted micro-interaction analysis
on in-class discussion and demonstrated how the development of technology such as weaponized drones
were contextualized by co-constructed racialized categories such as “terrorists” and “civilians.” In the
interactional process they focused on, racialized, nationalist, and militaristic ideologies were reinforced
and co-constructed despite the interactional opportunities for ideological expansion. Gupta et al. (2019)
also demonstrated how the social-technical divide is interactionally co-constructed in the disciplinary
space of engineering. Everyday micro-interactions can be a site for what Philip et al. (2018) termed as
ideological expansion, “analogous broadening of the ideological field” (p. 185) and ideological
convergence, “the narrowing of the field of ideological stances that are salient and seen as useful as
individuals participate in a joint activity” (p. 185). The socio-technical divide and early ideological
convergence identified by Gupta et al. (2019) in the context of engineering call for more spaces toward
ideological expansion.
On militarization and STEM education in the United States, Vossoughi and Vakil (2018)
similarly problematized how wartime goals and agenda have altered research foci and priorities in STEM
disciplines especially after the World War II and during the pivotal historical moments of the Cold War
and the War on Terror, the global war on terrorism. Knowledge production under the military-industrial-
academic complex cannot happen in a political vacuum. While acknowledging the scientists’ efforts to
repurpose military agenda toward humane technoscientific advancements, Vossoughi and Vakil (2018)
raise concerns about the role of STEM education in promoting the war, destruction, and death.
Militarism stabs into widely circulated STEM education programs that are marketed as apolitical.
Taking the Maker movement, Vossoughi et al. (2016) critiqued its close connection with military interests
such as the Defense Advanced Research Projects, behind its seemingly progressive agenda to move away
from consumerism. The Maker movements under the hidden agenda of militarism can implicitly coerce
students’ engagement of warfare technologies (Singer, 2010) such as robotics and drones. As Philip and
Azevedo (2017) pointed out, depoliticized representations of STEM education programs such as
Makerspaces can mask contested ideologies and “limit conceptions of equity that genuinely include and
allow for more ideological and epistemological diversity and are thus more democratic” (p. 527).
Vossoughi et al. (2016) critiqued how corporate-driven and military-driven STEM education programs
can result in promoting individual success within the hegemonic system rather than the collective
reimagining and transformation of the system itself. Without critical consciousness about the hidden
militarism, learners may be tacitly socialized into militaristic agenda through STEM education.
The macro-narrative of the War on Terror that Vossoughi and Vakil (2018) pointed has been
shaping the context of learning and development for Muslim youth where they negotiate and navigate the
surveillance regime (Ali, 2018). Countering to the power that polices their bodies, Muslim youth’s
learning depicted in Ali (2018) shows how learning is inherently the process of developing “political
voice and critique” and can be expressed through “anger and dissent” (p. 255).
Macro-narratives of militarism and the War on Terror can sneak into everyday micro-interactions
and can shape the institutionalized categorization of the geopolitically colonized Other in the spaces of
disciplinary learning even beyond the contexts of the post-9/11 United States (Takeuchi, 2021). In the
classroom interactions depicted in Takeuchi (2021), the media representation of pro-war against terrorists
provided symbolic resources for inheritance and reproduction of Othered identities for an Afghan refugee
learner in Canada through in-school learning of mathematics whose curriculum inscribed categorical and
binary frameworks. Avraamidou (2020) similarly pointed out that the post-9/11 media portrayal of
Muslims was one of the interlocking oppressions a Muslim woman physicist had to navigate in her
becoming a scientist in Western Europe. These studies point out that co-construction of identities that is
seemingly devoid of militarism is in fact affected by it.
Overall, this growing body of scholarship is collectively countering militarism tacitly underlying
in the vision and practices of STEM education. This set of literature is also taking into account the global
impact of militarism on learners and learning, beyond nationalistic discourses.
Conclusion: Toward Decolonial Love in STEM Education
Decolonial love resists the nature-culture or nature-society divide; it involves knowing our
responsibilities and enacting them in ways that give back so that we have “the privilege of breath”
(Kimmerer, 2013, p. 384). For example, water protectors knowingly put their lives on the line to (re)claim
right relationships with our (the Peoples’) more-than-human relatives. Through their movements they
seek to build infrastructures beyond current-day settler colonial infrastructures (LaDuke & Cowen, 2020).
This work is forged through acts of decolonial love. As Recollet (2015) explains, decolonial love is
“spatial and generative” and “critiques the conditions of coloniality” (p. 130). In this way, decolonial love
is seen taking shape when, for instance, people put their bodies on the line to resist the construction of oil
pipelinesthe infrastructure of settler colonial nations. Love in this context is dangerous and has real
consequences. For example, hundreds of water protectors in Minnesota have been arrested during protests
in Minnesota against the construction of the Enbridge Line 3 tar sands pipeline at the Shell River
(Democracy Now!, 2021). How do we embrace these tensionsthe need for healing through decolonial
love while at the same time knowing that love can be subjugated and that enacting love can put lives in
danger? But what is more dangerous? Remaining silent or reaching for elsewhere? Betasamosake
Simpson (2015) invites us to imagine and remember how love resides in our bodies despite histories of
colonial violence. Similarly, Kimmerer (2013) reminds us that decolonial love is naming and grieving for
what has been lost, broken, harmed, forgotten and then choosing joy over despair in order to enact
respect, relationality, and reciprocity.
I know love I know — lessons we’ve carried throughout time. Should I go missing: don’t stop searching;
drag every river until it turns red and the waters of our names
stretch a flood so wide it catches everything. And we find each other whole and sacred, alive and
breathing and breathing and breathing.
From Love lessons in a time of settler colonialism, by Tanaya Winder, June 2018
Understandings of decolonial love stand in contrast to settled expectations in STEM education.
For example, in the period of early formulation of STEM education, its driving force was human capital
discourse that reduced learners of STEM disciplines as the future workforce rather than shining a light on
what Sen (1999) termed as human capabilities (Takeuchi et al., 2020). Implicit in such capitalist agenda
of education are the globalized racist ideologies that have exploited the labor of endarkened people in the
STEM disciplines (Philip & Sengupta, 2020), under the guise of “innovation” (as seen in critiques by
Irani, 2019) and “development” (as seen in critiques by Harding, 2008; Ames, 2019). Countering
nationalist and militaristic discourse representing modernity or coloniality that has led STEM education,
critical voices have also arisen to envision the future of STEM education that is more humane and
socially just (Kayumova et al., 2018; Marin & Bang, 2018; McKinney de Royston & Sengupta-Irving,
2019; Nasir & Vakil, 2017; Philip et al., 2018; Sengupta et al., 2019, 2021; Takeuchi et al., 2020; Vakil &
Ayers, 2019; Vossoughi & Vakil, 2018). As Vossoughi and Vakil (2018) provoked, such a future should
be accompanied with imaginations where “young people learn about natural, physical and technological
phenomena as deeply imbued with social and political values, where the production of new scientific and
technical knowledge is coupled with the development of a more just world” (p. 119). Such a future should
be guided by historical epistemology (Gutiérrez, 2016) that positions learners who see themselves as a
“historical actor who develops a sense of their own identity in relation to broader social and historical
forces” (Gutiérrez et al., 2019, p. 292).
In lieu of paternalistic, militaristic, and colonial imaginaries of STEM education, such a future
should be centered around voices of the subaltern (Spivak, 1988) whose labor, bodies, and representation
have historically been exploited, consumed, and masked in the geopolitical matrix of coloniality. What
kinds of portrayal can we depict if we dismantle Eurocentric and Imperialist imaginaries of STEM
education (Philip & Sengupta, 2020) and instead center decolonial love?
STEM education that posits decolonial love at its core will be inevitably and critically
transdisciplinary and expand epistemological and ontological boundaries to embrace those who had been
colonized and disciplined through racialized, gendered, and classist disciplinary practices of STEM
(Takeuchi et al., 2020). For instance, the COVID-19 pandemic has manifested an unsustainable and
unjust system in globalized food production and distribution that heavily relies on the exploitation of
migrant labor. Such a system has not only exploited and harmed racialized migrant bodies that are one of
the most vulnerable in the order of global economy, but also damaged the land and ecology for the sake of
cost-effectiveness and capital accumulation for the haves. How could STEM education be accountable for
the injustice in food production and exploitation? How could STEM education be accountable for the
repercussions of an oppressive past that violently stole lands and food sources from Indigenous people
(Settee & Shukla, 2020) and forced the labor of Black bodies on slave plantations (Penniman, 2018)?
How could STEM education be accountable for environmental damages humans have caused under the
guise of efficiency and industrialization (Date et al., 2019)? Transdisciplinary STEM education stemming
from decolonial love will deepen such questions toward a liberating future one that will move us
toward interconnectedness, one shaped by “mutual flourishing” (Kimmerer, 2013, p. 371) and flourishing
of all speciesthat we should strive to bring about together, in the post-COVID-19 pandemic world.
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Further Reading
Critical Perspectives to STEM Education: Reviews, Special Issues, Edited Books
Marin, A., Taylor, K.H., Shapiro, B., & Hall, R. (2020). Why learning on the move: Intersecting research
pathways for mobility, learning and teaching. Cognition and Instruction, 38(3), 265280.
Note: This is an introductory article for the Special Issue, Learning on-the-move: A new genre of
learning and teaching with/in communities.
McKinney de Royston, M., & Sengupta-Irving, T. (2019). Another step forward: Engaging the political in
learning. Cognition and Instruction, 37(3), 277284.
Note: This is an introductory article for the Special Issue, STEM Learning: For Whom and Toward
What Ends? in Cognition and Instruction
Sengupta, P., Shanahan, M.-C., & Kim, B. (2019). Critical, transdisciplinary and embodied approaches in
STEM education. New York, NY: Springer.
Takeuchi, M.A., Sengupta, P., Shanahan, M-C., Adams, J.D., & Hachem, M. (2020). Transdisciplinarity
in STEM education: A critical review. Studies in Science Education, 56 (2), 213253.
Leyva, L. A. (2017). Unpacking the male superiority myth and masculinization of mathematics at the
intersections: A review of research on gender in mathematics education. Journal for Research in
Mathematics Education, 48(4), 397433.
Vakil, S., & Ayers, R. (2019). The racial politics of STEM education in the USA: interrogations and
explorations. Race, Ethnicity, and Education, 22 (4), 449458.
Note: This is an introductory article for the Special Issue, The Racial Politics of STEM Education in
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... These concrete activities must be accompanied by work to help teachers develop sociopolitical consciousness and engage in critical reflection to understand how their own embodiment and assemblages shape their classroom and practices in consequential ways for Black and Brown youth. This is by no means a new argument, and is reflective of the work of educational scholars of color (Adams, Gupta, & DeFelice, 2012;Gutierrez, 2017;Sengupta et al, 2022;Takeuchi & Marin, 2022), Black, Brown, Indigenous, and Latinx women Dillard, 2008;Love, 2019), feminist scientists and philosophers Braidotti, 2013Braidotti, /2019 ...
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The persistence of inequities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education is at least partially due to Eurocentric ontological and epistemological perspectives. Eurocentric thinking foregrounds epistemology (knowing and what can be accepted as knowledge) and separates it from ontology (worldviews and assumptions about the nature of being and reality), while completely disregarding axiology (ethics). This obscures the background assumptions of those who produce knowledge by positioning a particular mode of existence (i.e., Western social, cultural, and historical ways of being) as natural and, in turn, reproduces it as truth. Historically, this logic constructed a hierarchized binary that positions Western ways of knowing and being as the norm, setting up non-Western ontologies and epistemologies as inferior and “other.” Ultimately, this perspective has served as a justification for colonialization and enslavement and maintained White supremacy. Science culture, broadly construed as STEM disciplines, continues to be constituted based on dominant Western epistemologies. Through curriculum and pedagogy, children and youth are socialized into the dominant cultural models of what it means to be a science person and do science, with disciplinary knowledge and practices grounded in epistemological and ontological positions such as objectivity, universality, and neutrality. Valuing particular forms of reasoning, culture, and scientific practice, combined with understanding all scientific contributions to have emerged from Europe, perpetuates White supremacy by ensuring the hegemonic reproduction of Western epistemology and ontology as dominant while positioning all other cultures as scientifically inferior. Youth from nondominant communities are in turn constructed from a dehumanizing, deficit stance, and they are left with only two options: assimilate into the dominant culture of science or be excluded from participating in science learning. However, many feminist, Indigenous, postcolonial, and neo-materialist scholars argue that epistemology and ontology are co-constituted—that is, they co-create each other—and therefore cannot be considered separately. This relational, nondualistic perspective sees reality in terms of heterogeneous mixtures, promoting a view in which the reality is not static and fixed but fluid, always in movement. And reality is not preexisting but constantly co-created through ongoing material-discursive, nature-culture relations that involve humans but do not center them. Consequently, this produces a view of knowledge that is situated, contingent, and partial because it is shaped by the knowledge maker(s) and the multiple social, political, cultural (and so on) systems in which they are enmeshed. Given that discourse, spaces, places, and other entities all shape the nature of relations and interactions, conditions for equity and justice in STEM classrooms do not preexist: Equity emerge as practices through just relations in specific times and places among the various actors and perspectives that must coexist for students to learn in productive ways. Creating the conditions for such emergence requires reconfiguration of relations from hierarchical and exclusionary to pluriversal . Pluriversal praxis requires embracing an ontoepistemological shift based on relationality, interdependence, embodiment, ethics, and care toward youth, diverse communities, and more-than-human collectives. While this may seem like a huge (and perhaps even impossible) undertaking, it is possible to think strategically about the ontoepistemological shifts that are needed. For example, teachers can engage in professional development that deliberately teaches a collectivist approach and emphasizes the joint construction of knowledge while helping them raise their sociopolitical consciousness and engage in critical reflection. Such entry points can help teachers and researchers develop more expansive and epistemologically heterogeneous views of STEM curriculum, teaching, and learning.
... Queering disciplinary languages is the reimagination of languages toward un-disciplining bodies that have been historically hidden and voices that have been historically silenced. Queering disciplinary languages should invite attunement to the voices of/for decolonial love that have been counter to hegemonic and colonial disciplinary formations in mathematics, even in danger of being policed and penalized (Simpson, 2015;Takeuchi & Marin, 2022). ...
Languages in disciplinary learning spaces, such as the learning of mathematics, can (re)produce normative assumptions about the discipline, learners, and learning. Disciplinary languages across learning contexts are never neutral; rather, they are inherently political—racialized, gendered, cisnormative, heteropatriarchal, and colonial. These languages can work as disciplinary forces that discipline non-normative bodies. Disciplinary forces can also be exercised through languages that reinforce binaries and categorization entangled with colonial projects, which confine our ways of being with disciplinary knowledge. To counter these colonial forces across disciplinary contexts, we call for queering disciplinary languages. This orientation to languages is inspired by ways of seeing languages as sites of unsilencing and taking actions toward intersectional liberation. It is the constant act of disrupting taken-for-granted assumptions as well as dominant ways of being and knowing toward the renewal of possibilities and the celebration of in-betweenness.
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This paper makes the case that love, in particular a lover’s discourse, is regularly excluded from the work we do in higher education. As educators, we are seldom empowered to reach for a discourse of love, nor are we taught to embody love explicitly in our work. This doesn’t mean that love doesn’t exist in education, but rather something more sinister: that the structural and affective aspects of our work as educators are meant to exclude (and therefore abuse) love. The emptying out of love and love’s discourses from education arguably has severe spiritual, sociopolitical, and ethical consequences for the daily lives of millions. While educators always have the potential to be loving, we are seldom encouraged to take the time to examine and speak about this love. This article is an attempt to speak about what Roland Barthes calls a Lover’s Discourse. Its goal is to affirm that this discourse does exist in disparate forms. As this paper is part of a special issue on Paulo Freire and science education, I have also used some of the papers in this issue as inspiration. This paper should be seen as a departure point. A slow farewell to a loveless academy and an affirmation of something different on the horizon.
Thinking alongside feminist science studies scholars, in this article I contend with how early childhood education pedagogies do metabolisms. To conceptualize metabolisms as an activity is to centre the ethical and political practices, relations, knowledges, and vulnerabilities that flood bodies in contemporary times. I ask: What possibilities for doing bodies with children might we open toward if we take metabolism as a postdevelopmental pedagogical question in early childhood education? Utilizing examples from pedagogical inquiry research with children, shivering and sweating are engaged as modes of “doing” metabolisms. I propose doing metabolisms as a practice for thinking postdevelopmental pedagogies with the body, tracing how we might engage metabolic bodies beyond a developmentalist frame.
Conference Paper
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The ISLS has long been focusing on innovative learning that supports inclusive socio-emotional and collaborative practices, and more recent research has taken up political and ethical dimensions of human learning as central to design, practice, partnership and research. The society is also taking concrete steps towards structural changes in its own conduct to meaningfully engage with heterogeneity-including sociohistorical, cultural, economic, geographic, political, and socio-epistemic difference-in ways that understand the centrality of variability to learning. This symposium presents activities of the ISLS to support the spirit of such research and promote multiple perspectives on diversity, equity, and justice. Researchers present their own view on ISLS research, report on their concepts and results on community building, knowledge sharing and consolidation, collaboration and cross-pollination in this context. The symposium thus seeks to increase mutual awareness between ISLS and scholarly and educational communities with synergistic interests and expertise, as well as perspectives that help question the presumed normative (e. g., Western) assumptions that have often shaped research within the history of the field. It thus illustrates and creates space to wrestle with the society's initiative to promote structural change and meaningful socio-epistemic expansion.
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Background: We situate the mobilization of mathematical literacy as a tool to see and redress social and historical dilemmas (Engeström, 2014; Gutiérrez, 2016) rooted in the geo-economic politics of race, gender, and class. Methods: Using collaborative ethnography, we describe how mathematical literacy was mobilized by an activist collective that intervened against violence toward migrant women. Our research considers a long period of development to examine how the activism impacted bodily politics, community, and relevant policies. Findings: Our findings illustrate how the collective of activists led by a migrant woman of color countered the official data that did not reveal marginalized voices. Critical synthesis of embodiment and emplacement allowed us to examine how the mobilization of mathematical literacy became consequential (Jurow et al., 2016) in two interrelated aspects: 1) embodiment, the process through which the historically hidden bodies of migrant women came to be visible and assembled and 2) emplacement, the transformation of a place toward gathering disparate bodies. Contribution: Our work contributes to expanding the geo-political terrain of scholarship in the learning sciences by bringing forth the history of activism led by Filipina migrants in Japan, which in turn shines a light on traditionally masked epistemology key to mobilizing mathematical literacy for solidarity.
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This study critically examines how the geopolitical configuration of identities, through the medium of the institutionalized label of “English language learners,” can shape and constrain localized experiences for learners. An ethnographic video study was conducted in the context of a mathematics unit (“the transforming recess unit”) wherein learners conducted surveys, summarized data, and voiced the changes they hoped to see in the elementary school playground. Findings demonstrate both empowering and disempowering ways of mobilizing data and graphs, which are intertwined with multi-layered identities. Interactions in the classroom were nested in macro-level geopolitical configuration of identities that influenced labelled learners’ access to becoming “agents of change” who could voice their desired changes in school practices. Categorical and binary frameworks inscribed in mathematics curriculum served as a context for inheritance and reproduction of existing categories through student surveys and graphs. Implications are discussed toward disrupting and transforming taken-for-granted labelling and rigid institutionalized practices through which colonial representation of the Other (Said, 1978) can be co-constructed.
Background We outline a case for how the Learning Sciences is at a powerful inflection point where the “real world” needs to be seen as comprised of the political entities and processes in which learning happens. We seek to sharpen the principle that learning is political by elucidating historical and contemporary processes of European and U.S. imperialism that remain foundational to our field and by developing the argument that theories of learning are theories of society. Methods Through a contrapuntal approach, which emphasizes a critical lens to analyze empire, we juxtapose notions of authentic practice in computing education with scholarship in sociology that brings the lives of tech industry immigrant workers to the fore. Findings Our analysis reveals how the social construction of disciplinary and professional expertise in computing is intricately interwoven with historically persistent patterns of the appropriation of the lives and labor of endarkened people through systems of transnational migration and institutional forms of racial segregation. Contribution A contrapuntal lens in the Learning Sciences prompts our field to embrace the necessary uncertainties and the theoretical and methodological possibilities that emerge when sites of learning and learning itself are recognized as political and as contestations of empire.
Background Using a conceptualization of learning as the act of organizing possible futures, I examine prefigurative relationship-building processes. Youth organizing research has shown that relational and political development are outcomes of participation, but offers limited examples of how these developments co-occur in discourse. Methods I research alongside Chroma, an LGBTQ+-themed community-based youth group whose members offer training to teachers and others about working with LGBTQ+ youth. Drawing on critical ethnography and discourse analysis, I engage the question: What was the character of the social relations Chroma youth organized together as they worked to advance their educational advocacy projects? Findings I develop a notion of educational intimacy, which describes relationships that allow for inclusive and productive engagement in advocacy and learning while also mirroring desired future social configurations. I ground my development of educational intimacy in audio data from Chroma meetings, workdays, and trainings. Contribution I situate educational intimacy in queer theoretic perspectives and existing learning sciences research. I conclude with some open questions about educational intimacy and learning in collective action projects. Educational intimacy offers a way of talking about how relational and political developments co-occur as learning processes in social movement spaces.
This issue is particularly timely, in its plea to the field to understand that human learning and development have always been on the move—always migrating—even if and when we construct sedentarist bias and territorial boundaries of the nation-state as normative or when we remember or remake as “ambulatory we’s” as we engage in “ongoing re-collection and re-membering of dynamic social and spatial relationships”. As each paper in the issue makes poignantly clear with important conceptual and methodological contributions, place is always in the making through our movements and relations, through our ways of coming to know and be together, and through our creative and accountable analysis, data, and narrative. Non-movements are social constructions—humans, like all life, are mobile. Non-movement is an historically accumulating bias that serves the long trajectory of powered struggles in western knowledge systems and societies ontological assertions of human exceptionalism and supremacy. Mobilities, migrations, and places—how we see them, how we make them, how we dream them and how we story them—are consequential. Each paper in this issue contributes unique insights into how learning and development are always on the move—even despite the sedentarist bias that has dominated learning and the construction of human knowing and activity since enlightenment—and this issue helps to create new pathways of scholarship.