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Critical Ecopedagogies of Love: Engaging Biocultural Diversities and Justice-Oriented Sustainabilities

  • Author(s): Khaksar, Venoosheh
  • Advisor(s): Kellner, Douglas
  • et al.
Abstract

This dissertation project offers the critical ecopedagogical possibilities to confront, critique, and transform current global ecological devastations and environmental racism through reimagining and engaging deconstructed expressions of love within the academic arena and beyond. The work displays how engaged Critical Ecopedagogies of Love (CEL) are theories and practices of freedom, in opposition to global neoliberal hegemonic social, economic, political, and cultural systems that are intimately tied to ecological destruction and environmental injustice, and exceedingly impact marginalized people and individuals at the intersections of marginalization, which is disproportionately detrimental to Black and Indigenous People, and People of Color (BIPOC). It displays how addressing environmental concerns exclusively or focusing on human rights within the confines of the status quo actually neglect and even contribute to the oppressive institutional structures that are founded upon the constructs of power and hegemony, instead of dismantling the underlying and interlocking systems of domination. Integrative orientations that exist and thrive in the modern context are brought forth, including: the juncture of ethnographic and natural/environmental science research via biocultural diversity (BCD), and efforts implementing the application of these theories within justice-oriented sustainability (JS) frameworks and practices. Converging ecopedagogy within the intersections of BCD and JS articulates why and how a sound, grounded, and critical, multiperspectival eco-theory is necessary for global holistic health and wellbeing in the face of worldwide environmental destruction and dehumanization projects. The work posits engaging multi-, inter-, and transdisciplinary knowledge to deepen and expand engaged CEL that recognize the earth's entire ecology as a prerequisite for freedom. The synthesis of these fields will thus assert engaged CEL within multiple formal institutional settings, informal community spaces, and beyond, as leveraging tools that assist in developing and influencing ecopedagogical pursuits of holistic, socially-just, and liberatory transformation to take root and flourish.

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