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"This essay examines the relationship among language, experience, and historical agency. It does so in the context of recent work in critical literacy and critical pedagogy. My discussion takes its bearings from the work of Brazilian educator Paulo Freire, described in a recent interview with Carlos Alberto Torres as "the prime 'animateur' for pedagogical innovation and change in the second half of this century" (12). In part this essay stands as a poststructuralist and postcolonialist rereading of Freire that, while to a certain extent "reinventing" his work in light of perspectives selectively culled from contemporary social theory, attempts to remain faithful to the main contours of the Freirian problematic. More specifically, I will draw upon recent feminist and poststructuralist discussions of the relationship between language and experience to highlight some new respects in which the Freirian perspective on literacy may be approached. Doing so may further situate Freire's work as a general theoretical resource enabling educators to locate their own pedagogies between critical thought and emancipatory practice."


This article was originally published in College Literature, volume 19, issue 3/volume 20, issue 1, in 1992/1993. This issue was sole runnerup in Council of Editors of Learned Journals Best Special Issue Competition for 1993.

Peer Reviewed



West Chester University



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