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Transformation of Teaching Academy Events 2019

Does Higher Education have a future in a time of tyranny? Implications for critical pedagogy

Henry A Giroux, McMaster University


Henry Giroux

Within the last few years, the discourses of authoritarianism and the echoes of a fascist past have moved from the margins to the centre of politics across the globe. Increasingly, higher education has been implicated in this process by becoming less a practice for freedom than an instrumentalised theory and practice for domination, particularly as the culture of the academy has been transformed into a corporate environment. The lecture challenges this reactionary mode of education and pedagogy, particularly in its neoliberal versions, and explores how critical pedagogy might provide the theoretical and practical grounds for rethinking the purpose of higher education and the nature of politics itself, and how these two realms are inseparable.  Central to such a task is rethinking the role of educators as public intellectuals and their responsibility not only to address crucial social problems, but to interrogate critically what it might mean to produce those pedagogical practices and formative cultures that are essential to any substantive democracy. An important issue addressed in this case is that pedagogy is always a moral and political practice and points not only to a struggle over agency and power, but also presupposes discourses of critique and possibility as part of a broader democratic project deeply implicated in addressing matters of economic and social justice and the grounds upon which life is lived and experienced.

Henry A. Giroux, an acclaimed founding theorist of critical pedagogy, currently holds the McMaster University Chair for Scholarship in the Public Interest in the Department of English and Cultural Studies. Professor Giroux is also the Paulo Freire Distinguished Scholar in Critical Pedagogy at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.  An author of over 60 books, he has been a leading voice on the struggle between education and public life for four decades. In 2002, he was named as one of the top fifty educational thinkers of the modern period in Fifty Modern Thinkers on Education: From Piaget to the Present as part of Routledge’s Key Guides Publication Series. In 2007, he was named by the Toronto Star as one of the “12 Canadians Changing the Way We Think.” Professor Giroux is also a member of Truthout's Board of Directors. His web site is

Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) Experiences in Higher Education: Policy Making, Social Justice and White Privilege

Professor Kalwant Bhopal, University of Birmingham

Kalwant smiling in picture

Kalwant Bhopal

This lecture examines recent statistics on the representation of BME staff and students in higher education and explores how the processes of racism, exclusion, and marginalisation continue to disadvantage BME groups. It uses recent empirical research on the Race Equality Charter to suggest ways forward for the inclusion of BME groups focusing on issues of equity and social justice. The lecture also discusses how white privilege works to disadvantage those from BME backgrounds and explores how universities can develop good practice for the inclusion of BME groups in higher education.

Professor Bhopal’s research focuses on the achievements and experiences of minority ethnic groups in education. She has conducted research on exploring discourses of identity and intersectionality examining the lives of Black minority ethnic groups as well as examining the marginal positions of Roma, Sinti, and Travellers. Her research specifically explores how processes of racism, exclusion, and marginalisation operate in predominantly white spaces and thereby exacerbate possibilities for social justice and inclusion 

She is Professor of Education and Social Justice and Deputy Director of the Centre for Research in Race and Education (CRRE) at the University of Birmingham, Visiting Professor in the Graduate School of Education at Harvard University, and Visiting Professor in the Department of Education and Professional Studies at Kings College London. Professor Bhopal’s most recent book White Privilege: The Myth of a Post-Racial Society was published in 2018 by Policy Press.