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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Introduction to the Special Issue on Critical Pedagogies


“Language is a ‘war zone’,” Kenyan author Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o powerfully notes (Inani, 2018, para. 17). In trying to conceptualize and define Critical Pedagogy in the current historical moment for the teaching and learning of languages, this seems the most appropriate definition. After all, language teaching and learning are neither politically neutral, nor ahistorical, nor free of ideological considerations. On the contrary, language as a site of power, ideological tensions, political and financial interests, hierarchies, and symbolic and material violence, is most definitely a war zone. War is being waged over which languages have more “value” or are “worth learning;” which languages are at the core ...

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