Today we’re joined by Drs. Tanu Biswas and Toby Rollo. Tanu is an interdisciplinary philosopher of education, focused on challenging children’s historical marginalization. She serves as an advisory board member of The Childism Institute at Rutgers, and is an associate professor of pedagogy at the University of Stavanger and an associate researcher at the Doctoral College for Intersectionality Studies at the University of Bayreuth.
Toby is an associate professor of political science at Lakehead University, whose focus is on the democratic promises and failures of modern institutions with a specific focus on the marginalization of young people. His chapter in the recent work, Trust Kids!: Stories on Youth Autonomy and Confronting Adult Supremacy, edited by carla bergman, focuses on centering the child in our ongoing intergenerational fight for peace, justice, and sustainability in our world.
In our discussion, we'll be talking about the connections between colonization, historical marginalization, youth rights, and adultism.
Drs. Tanu Biswas & Toby Rollo
Chris McNutt: Hello, and welcome to the latest episode of our podcast. My name is Chris McNutt, and I'm part of the progressive education nonprofit Human Restoration Project. Before we get started, I want to let you know that this is brought to you by our supporters, three of whom are Jenny Lucas, Peter Kratz, and Kristin Evelyn. Thank you for your ongoing support. You can learn more about the Human Restoration Project on our website, humanrestorationproject.org, or find us on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook. Today, we're joined by doctors Tanu Biswas and Toby Rollo. Tanu is an international interdisciplinary philosopher of education focused on challenging children's historical marginalization. She serves as an advisory board member of the Childism Institute at Rutgers and is an associate professor of pedagogy at the University of Stavanger and an associate researcher at the Doctoral College for Intersectionality Studies at the University of Bayreuth. Toby is an associate professor of political science at Lakehead University, whose focus is on the democratic promises and failures of modern institutions, with a specific focus on the marginalization of young people. His chapter in the recent work, Trust Kids Stories on Youth Autonomy and Confronting Adult Supremacy, which is edited by carla bergman, focuses on centering the child in our ongoing intergenerational fight for peace, justice, and sustainability in our world. So thank you both for joining me today. I'm glad that you're here. And, you know, in this discussion, I figured we just talk about the connections between colonization, historical marginalization, youth rights, childism, adultism, all of these different spheres that you're working with. But before we start diving into the weeds and talking about that further, Toby, if you could just talk a bit about those key terms that we're talking about here. What's that connection between colonization, adultism, and the like?
Toby Rollo: Right. So colonialism is often thought of as a historical period, the sort of historical period of colonialism, where the European powers went around the world and made claims to lands and territories and peoples. And that eventually colonialism gave way to an era of post colonialism, where we're sort of after the colonial period, and now in a period of liberation and emancipation from colonial trappings. But what theorists and historians and those who work in these areas, try to emphasize is that colonialism is an ongoing project, that it isn't an historical epoch, but more a ongoing process. And that anybody who sort of lives in the New World, especially the Americas or Australia, New Zealand, is still very much engaged, or at least part of or living in the context of a colonial project. Colonial projects are about making claims to land and making claims to peoples, and in order to exploit the lands and the peoples to divert wealth and prestige and to mostly European powers. There is a sort of, researchers also like to point to not just the practices of colonialism, but the idea of coloniality, which is kind of the ideology or set of ideas, set of beliefs that sustain and inform colonial practices, sort of the rationales and justifications for colonial, that justify colonial projects. And it's important to understand this, because even when it appears that a colonial period, the colonial period is over, or a colonial project is coming to an end, coloniality, the logic of relationships between human beings that gives rise to colonialism, is still very much at play. And so peoples of color, indigenous and black, black and indigenous peoples throughout the world are still often dealing with the legacy of coloniality, the relationships, even after the project itself, even after the Western power has left, and the African nation, for instance, has liberated itself, there's still, coloniality is still very much inflected in laws and the politics and even the social norms.
Tanu Biswas: I think, for me, the relationship between coloniality and adultism, I've learned so much from Toby's work, and I mean, it's influenced me a lot and like seeing this connection, where essentially, I mean, one is, you know, human beings were defined as children, or, you know, occupy, let's say, the structure called childhood. But on the other hand, the imagination of, you know, what is a child, that figure has been very, very, you know, almost like fundamental or, you know, key to colonizing, like the logic of colonizing, because, you know, the indigenous people of color and groups that have been colonized were seen as children. And they were seen as not developed. This is developmental logic that one finds, let's say, in psychology that is practiced even today, defining childhood, you know, so if you take a very classic, like, Jean Piaget's developmental stages, and, you know, what's supposed to happen and the evolution of, you know, from growing from child to adult, and that there's a developed stage, and then if you look at developmentalism as, you know, a place that is not yet developed, but there's another place that is developed, and then somehow has the right or is, you know, legitimized in raising this developing place to a more civilized state. And so it's very interesting, like, parallels there. And what's fascinating is, you know, in, let's say, like, enlightenment philosophers, like Kant, Immanuel Kant, who, his philosophy of education is based on the idea that why, and he's referring to white children, so, like, white children have to be disciplined and, you know, civilized, and then he writes, otherwise they will remain like inhabitants of Tahiti, you know, like, all lifelong and things like this. And for me, like, when I was reading this and also learning from what Toby has been writing, what was interesting to see is, okay, you know, one thing is what you think of, you know, others who are, like, not white, male, European, and are not fitting into everything that was supposed to be the educated state, the developed state, but the other fascinating thing in a warped way is, you know, what do you think of your own children, you know, like, what is the image of, like, white children? And it almost seems like that is the metaphor and, like, the imagination of what's happening in those human states is being projected onto indigenous, you know, like, non-European peoples, and this expands the understanding of coloniality, so not as the period, you know, that Toby explained now, but the mentality, the rationale, you know, and which is still going on. So we see that adultism, I mean, it's much broader than what is, than, let's say, people who are defined as children. Of course, it applies to them as well, and I'm sure we're going to talk more about that.
CM: I think what's interesting is to talk about how coloniality, adultism, are intersecting and manifesting itself in both broad, I guess, federal or state ways, versus also how it's also impacting the daily lives of kids, both from the scope of rising authoritarianism and how that's also connected to coloniality and how that's impacting kids. I think about the child labor loss ostensibly being put back into place after that was not a thing for, what, about a hundred years, all the way to the daily lived experience of kids in school and the ways that coloniality and adultism shape the curriculum, how teachers and kids interact, etc. Can we start by talking about authoritarianism in general, labor laws, but you also have, like, the restriction and intersectionality here between, like, LGBTQIA kids, black and brown and indigenous kids, and folks who are being doubly impacted, both by the culture war facing people of various identities and historically marginalized identities, but also the fact they're kids as well, which have been historically marginalized for many years.
TR: Well, I think it's interesting that the colonial logic, the coloniality itself, is like, as Tenno was pointing out, is the child seems to be at the center of it because one of the, so colonialism requires, in order for it to operate, a kind of rationale or justification for the exclusion of peoples from decision making, first of all, and then the exploitation of those peoples for labor or what have you. And in order to do that, you need a convincing category or a convincing hierarchy, natural hierarchy that you can apply to human beings that will relegate some to a lesser order or a lesser status. And one of the most influential and one that we can trace back as far as we have recorded history is the subordination of children to adults. And so one of the most prolific and influential and powerful, culturally powerful, in the West at least, tropes of natural subjugation and natural subordination is that of the child to the adult. And so this allows Europe to basically exploit its own children. And so we see this in the British Industrial Revolution, of course, right? We have factories populated with children. But even before that, going back to through a series of agricultural revolutions, we have archaeological and historical evidence that children were key to those revolutions as well, going back to the Neolithic period. And so those revolutions are the ones that are responsible for Western civilization itself. And so in a very real sense, Western civilization was built on the backs of, in part, of laboring children. And the West had to rationalize this somehow. And that was that they were either, you know, in the ancient world, it was because they couldn't be virtuous, right, because they didn't have enough experience or character to be virtuous, so they couldn't be included as citizens. And so the only thing they're good for is labor, right? And they have to be disciplined into becoming virtuous, because they're just full of vice. And then in the sort of medieval Christian period, this becomes piety and faith. The doctrine of original sin positions children as inherently sort of sinful and incapable of acting piously, capable of faith, and they have to be disciplined into becoming faithful. And while that's going on, what are they good for? They're good as servants, right? And so children operate as servants in Western culture throughout the medieval period as well. Then we come comes the Enlightenment. And now the the sort of logic of exclusion is rationality. Children are irrational. And so they're lawless, and they have to be disciplined. And once you discipline them, then they become fully human adults. And meanwhile, they're only good for labor, right? That's about all they're really good for. So we have this historical subordination of children. So it's really no surprise that that European nations seem particularly prone to forms of political authoritarianism, where the dictator is basically positioned as the father of a nation, and has to use discipline and violence sometimes in order to usher this nation into a new mature civilization, right? The same sort of logic behind that subordinates children to adults that we find in forming colonial practices that we find in authoritarianism. And this is precisely what the Jewish scholars who escaped, who witnessed the rise of Nazism in Germany and escaped to the US. This is precisely what the warning that they gave us in the post-war period was that, look, German culture had this really strict, coercive and often violent way of dealing with children. And they use the psychoanalytic method that's problematic. But I mean, you don't need to use psychoanalysis to come to the same sort of conclusion that developmental psychology or just psychology in general. This is a sort of fertile breeding ground for authoritarian personalities and people who are attracted to this kind of domineering father figure who's going to like, take care of them and sometimes discipline them. But that's what's morally necessary in order to make them into mature peoples. And those German Jewish scholars that came to America found the same, did their same sort of studies here or there in the United States and discovered the same propensities among American citizens toward fascism. And so they gave this warning and that's where we get the counter, they in the post-war period, inform the counterculture movement, they inform a lot of the free and democratic schools that emerge. Educators and psychologists were paying attention to the warnings these Jewish scholars gave, and also civil rights and women's liberation, and at the time, gay and lesbian liberation. That gave rise to, of course, a conservative backlash in the 1980s, which is still with us today. And now we see this sort of predictable attack on these Jewish scholars who escaped Nazi Germany because they were part of the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory, right? So now we see the big sort of scare tactic in public discourse in these reactionary circles is to sort of point to critical theory and especially critical race theory as having a degrading influence on American culture and politics. So they're very much connected.
CM: The systems of Western civilization and curriculum and schooling leading to this default mode of interpretation of who kids are and what they're capable of and how we treat kids generally. Like Western canon, we have Lord of the Flies, which practically every kid reads, which ostensibly says that kids, if left to their own devices, are going to end up, they're going to start killing each other, which of course, as people have followed up on that story, have recognized that the actual kids, when they found these kids and they talked to kids about what it was like living on this island when they were discovered, they ended up being cooperative and contributed to each other and they were actually good people. I just think about the ways at which people, as they read these stories and consume media about how the myth of the child and who they are and the myth of human beings and their natural nature, the way that they would rationalize treating people terribly, knowing that that's how they might end up. I wonder if we could briefly tease apart child development, so living, learning, being a kid versus the subjugation of children and the ways that those are contributing to each other, because I'm sure folks that might be listening in hear all of this, but then they're also saying, well, kids are still kids though. They still are developing, they still are trying to figure out who they are. So how do we balance between being that authoritarian figure in the sense of guiding a kid versus being an authoritarian figure that's subjugating a kid?
TB: Yeah, since you mentioned Lord of the Flies, the very recent case of the children from the Amazonian forest who survived, this is such an amazing example. If anyone takes science, like a scientific temper, seriously, you have to sit down with that kind of PRJ and developmentalism, which would kind of feed into these imaginations where you go, but kids are kids, they're still like kran-kru, and then take this empirical example of four children who had, of course, indigenous knowledge, and it's not like out of the blue, they were just surviving in the forest. Of course, it was hard, but there was cooperation, they survived and they used everything from presence of mind to the skills they had to what they had learned, and it's amazing how they managed. And these are the kind of skills that honestly, when I was following this news, I thought of first of all, let's say if I were in that forest, I was around these children, I would want to be their groupie and be like, can you also guide me here because I'd be just so lost. There's nothing natural or biological about a certain capacity, let's say. We are interdependent creatures, all of us, and we cooperate, we share knowledge, we apply when we're put into certain situations, we take what we know and then we apply it in that situation. And if we don't have certain, we haven't learned certain things, you could be like 25 or 35, but if you're put in a situation where you have no clue, you've never learned, you've never been exposed to that kind of a situation, you won't survive. It's not like, and being alone is whether it's, of course, babies are dependent in different ways. So the group, this Amazonian group, did have an infant in there. And then the 13 year old, the older sister, she sort of was guiding the group and was taking on, you'd say the parental role, but there was some kind of cooperation going on there. I think essentializing and saying something about children's nature, like they're by nature, they are dependent. This is, it's too big a claim because you also say something about human nature, you make claims about human nature and it's totalizing. And I think it's also, I wonder if it's scientifically also viable to hold such positions. So this is for people who sit there and think, but kids will be kids and they're growing up and they still have to learn and so on, but so do we in different ways. And another thing that also came to me while we were discussing, because you start with school, the child labor laws coming in, and then we talk about authoritarianism and so on. Labor is always involved. I mean, we are all economic beings and we share resources and the word economy and ecology have the same root. It's oikos and it has to do with sharing resources and how we divide also labor, so on and so forth. So what's interesting is the children in school are not seen as doing labor. I'm in no way supporting the kind of child labor laws that are coming to us. This is not the point. That's really not the point I'm trying to make here, but it's the recognition that work of work, that when you are in school, it's also labor, you are contributing to economy. So one of the, let's say very adultish and also colonial moves here is not seeing children as economic beings. So it's not like you turn 18 and now we're all suddenly economic beings and we're participating, contributing to economy. We're always economic beings just as much as we're always political beings. So you don't have to understand the full humanity of children is also recognizing our own humanity. And then if we take, for example, feminist insights into economic theory seriously and say that there's also something like emotional labor, for example, that also brings a whole different level of understanding into what schooling and education is about, because it is a lot of emotional labor in addition to physical, intellectual labor. And that's just to also broaden the understanding of what we mean by labor in the first place, because, I mean, children could in some way, I mean, at least be acknowledged and compensated for their work for the economy and compensated, children get grades. That's the compensation in many ways. And if we as adults got grades for our work, we wouldn't accept that. It's interesting how the whole labor, the child labor concept and the politics around it now with also this kind of labor being a certain kind of labor being allowed, but not recognizing that, I mean, children are already working.
CM: It makes me think about how economically children are not only not being recognized for their political and economic capacity that they're contributing to in school, but also it's directly working against them. If you're growing up in the States and you're a kid and you want to go to college, it's going to cost you tens upon thousands of dollars. And that's a pre-dealt hand. You almost have to do that. So not only are you not being recognized for your potential to contribute to society in a monetary sense, but you have to actually pay into it. You're almost pre-born with debt in that sense, knowing that you're going to face that. I do want to steer this conversation slightly toward teaching in school.
TB: Just to kind of complete or round up that thought, see the parallel with the colonialism and coloniality right there, because those who contributed to building these systems and contribute to the economy, to get access to it is really hard and it costs. It's almost like you're always paying in some way or the other and you never really get access to what you contribute to sustaining to develop. Again, that's the parallel here, just to come back to this adultism and coloniality section that we talked about. But yeah, let's move on to teachers.
CM I think that's a perfect segue because, Tanu, as you were talking about children as political beings, as economic beings, when we're building a school system that enables young people to push back against these both pre-existing but also kind of newly constructed authoritarian structures, you have both the fact that it's always been authoritarian, especially in school and just generally for kids, but also schools more and more are enacting more carceral policies, more policies that discriminate against children of certain identities. All of these things are very much systemic. They're not just curricular. It seems to me that if you're an educator and you're looking to change these things up so that we raise a generation of young people that can push back against these authoritarian structures, that you're going to need to look at systems. You're going to need to look at the ways that you share power with kids. You're going to need to look at ways at which your classroom is constructed, both from the terms of grading, discipline, and to an extent, the curriculum itself. Our fear has always been that a lot of well-meaning educators in an attempt to enact social justice in their classrooms throw in a few zen education project or learning for justice curricular pieces that are awesome. They talk about multiple perspectives. They do a lot of great work, but at the exact same time, children are being graded. They're still going through a carceral discipline system. They still have all of these systems in place that are not recognizing for them for their humanity. So what does that look like for a teacher to look at this body of work, to look at colonialism, to look at adultism, to see that intersection and implement it into a class? What is their role in all of this?
TB: Wow. I think the awareness of one's power in a system can go a long way. I mean, I think I can't answer questions regarding how to implement it in class, but I think something in the implementation might, of course, change when you're aware of how you're just positioned in that place of power. It can be kind of overwhelming or these very, I would say, typical reactions of not wanting to deal with one's privilege or not identifying with a system where you are placed in a privileged position that I think when you look at this coloniality and adultism intersection, that's going to get even more challenging. But by the same logic, even more rewarding because there's more clarity. You understand even more what that position is all about. And this awareness, I think, is a first step because just to go back to what I said, for me, when I met Toby's work or his thoughts through what I was reading and understanding that just how much I had not understood coloniality or I had missed a huge part or a big piece of this puzzle, even though I grew up in a post-colonial country, I grew up in India and my education is, I would think of myself as kind of, I mean, this is not a great thing to say, but it is one of how colonial projects become successful because you really brainwash and westernize generations after generations. So there's something that broadens my understanding of what that coloniality is about and then trying to understand it within the European context, linking it with education and so on. And then really looking at how the adult, I mean, it's the child, the figure of the child and all that is associated with it. So you would say that which is emotional or not rational is free of some. So I want to give you an example, not from the US system, but from the Norwegian system, where I met a couple of educators who were visiting the university to talk about how children, what kind of pedagogies should be encouraged and they presented a model of the brain. And it was green, red and yellow. And it was literally traffic light divided. And so the top was green, which was the rational. The center was yellow. So that was like the cooperation part, the social part. And the red was like at the base of the brain where it's the emotional part. And the logic there was that when children, especially children who have, you know, are diagnosed with ADHD or whatever, when they're getting restless, they are moving from green to red. And you have to bring in movement and help them to move or give them some activity, because then from red, they'll start going back to yellow and you have to go into the green zone. So you bring all the kids to the green zone and I'm baffled. I'm like, what is going on? And where is this kind of science? What is this? What is the science? What is this obsession with the brain? First of all, because there's the entire human body, but we're literally getting a picture, a very simplistic picture of the brain. And the question there is, you know, how do we understand the human? I mean, because it's exactly, and I think this logic, you know more about the US system, Chris, and I don't have things, I guess they're similar where you are too, Toby, where this kind of rational reason, you know, that's really still the, it's at the top of the hierarchy. And if the more teachers become aware of this and possibly different logics that support that, it could change, I think, their relationship also with their own emotional states, you know, the red states and the yellow states and the green states. And as a result, yeah, that you see the full humanity, not just of the child, but also yourself. I don't know if that answers the question or Toby, what are your thoughts?
TR: There's lots of, yeah, I agree with everything that you said, Tanu. I just like to go back to your question, Chris, about the conceptualizing the child and the adult and like, like how to not have an authoritarian classroom, but acknowledge that children need these specific sets of boundaries and kinds of guidance and things like that. I don't know, I'm a university professor, so I'm not teaching young children, but I have two young children. I was also a child for quite a long time. And I think that one of the most helpful things for me has been to, so much in the same way that with issues of race and gender, long after scientific racism was discredited and the understanding of race as a social construction was established and unrecognized, long after that, we still had to deal with race. It didn't pay to pretend that social structures, law, politics, economics weren't influenced by the notion of race, even though we know that race is not a biological fact, it's a construction, right? What we're seeing between the races is simply differences, differences of skin color, differences of height and shape and things like this, right? And these are just general too. There's stereotypes because even within them, there's greater variance within races than there is between alleged races. And I think something that's been very helpful for me is understanding the distinction between childhood and adulthood in the same way. What we really have is human beings who have lived different numbers of years, who are always in a state of development until we're no longer alive, are always encountering issues with cognition, challenges to cognition when we're young, when we're middle-aged or adult and when we're older, right? Many of the classifications of disability are simply just impedances on what we would categorize as normal, that is adult cognitive functioning or intellectual functioning. But what I think helps me as an educator in dealing with students, young people and dealing as a parent with children and just as an adult in a world that is populated by, a third of it by children, is to understand that these differences, the categories of child and adult are political categories. They're not biological categories, they're wholly political. Child is a political designation of exclusion, a political designation of underdevelopment or potential. When applied to anybody else, it's seen as wrong because people should not be treated as children. And in fact, liberation and emancipation movements typically are predicated on this sort of idea that people shouldn't be treated as children. But unfortunately, this is how insidious coloniality is. It's kind of duped a lot of movements into buying into the terms so that we have a lot of struggles to become adults, which assume that children ought to be treated like children. And that there is a natural category of subordination, it just shouldn't be applied to people who don't live in Europe or it shouldn't be applied to women. It's appropriately applied to the young though. And I think that a good starting point for thinking about relationships between people who are older and people who are younger is to understand that these are just differences that are politically irrelevant. Now, much like as with race, we have to accept that they nevertheless structure a lot of our institutions. We have to accept that childhood and adulthood do structure a lot of our institutions, but it's very important to understand that that's a complete fabrication. We can organize politics very differently. We can organize economics very differently. Capitalism requires that children either be in the factory or in a school learning how to one day become somebody who works in a factory. In fact, part of the reason children were taken out of the factories is because adults were getting fed up competing with children who were driving down wages and stuff. A lot of socialist movements wanted state schooling, strangely. They loved the idea of a state-run school, but they were sort of aiming towards a sort of Marxist dissolving of the state, withering of the state, but state schooling was okay. And that's because they wanted to get children out of the factories, driving wages down and taking up jobs that could be for adults. So where do you put them? Well, you put them in schools and you train them to be workers. And this is still how our system runs today. It hasn't changed in like 150 years. It's still exactly the same. And we need to be cognizant of that and that our role as teachers or as educators is much like the role of police or military. We're gatekeepers, we're disciplinarians, we're essential to the maintenance of the colonial project. And there's no real, here's the, not the pessimistic, but the sort of the unfortunate part, there's no real escaping the being implicated in the project. Just as there's no way of escaping race, right? Race is all around us. And so there's no escaping it. And if you're a business owner, you are implicated in the capitalist system, you're implicated in a racial capitalist system. There's not much you can do about it. You do your best. And I think as Tanu pointed out, it's important to just be cognizant of your role and your position and the knowledge that what is separating you from your students isn't a natural difference. It's a political difference. And so whatever you can do in that situation, we're all just trying to do our best to get youth to recognize that that's a political. So I start, when I start my classes at the university level, one of the first things I do is I talk about power and I talk about power in the classroom. And I say, the university has granted me power to tell you how you're going to get your degree. And I'm going to mark your assignments and I'm going to grade you and evaluate you. And I say, this is not the best way to organize an educating, an educative system. This is probably the antithesis, right? But this is what, this is the game we're all playing. You want a degree, you have to get one in order to get a good job, to take care of yourself. I'm a university professor. This is my job. This is what I'm doing, but let's try to, as we're, and I'm lucky, I get to teach political science. And so power is always the topic of discussion. And so we're always returning to that, that theme that power is everywhere and it's in the classroom and that the separation between me and them is not that they're developing and I've ceased developing because I've achieved adulthood or something like that. I'm still developing, right? I'm not developing, I'm still changing, just changing. You don't need a progressive model here. I'm changing, they're changing. I'm hoping to be changing for the better. I'm hoping that they're changing for the better, but there's no real distinction between us other than the political positions that we've been placed in.
CM: That's a fantastic point because it really gets to the how colonialism and with it, kind of racism, sexism are intertwined in various practices, both scientifically and how those carry out educationally. Everything from the tracing of the eugenics movement to concepts like standardized testing or carceral discipline practices, ranking and filing of kids, which are almost like a straight line and where those concepts come from. We all live within the shadow of those practices being put into place because practically every school in the world has systems that work like this due to colonialism, neo-colonialism and globalization at large and the growth of a capitalist state that essentially exists everywhere no matter where you're going. That idea of having a mindset shift in order to start counteracting that I think makes sense. We just had one of our keynotes at our conference was a student organization called Iowa WTF. And one of the questions that came up in the Q&A for the high school students was what can teachers do to support you? And the thing that was unanimously agreed upon is the very first thing one of them said was they hated the fact that adults would give them a platform to speak, but then not recognize what they were saying. People would say things like, you know, you were so great at that, I can't believe you were capable of that. Or, you know, that's so amazing that kids doing this. The parallels there to race and gender and all the other types of inequities and how historically that's been used to marginalize people are pretty one to one. With that said, as we're dwindling down on time, you know, we're all part of the system. We're just talking about how you can't really escape that system and it requires a mindset shift. What's next? Like, what is the next thing that we're looking at in terms of the research that you are all doing, the things that you're writing about, the ways that people can contribute to start changing these things? What is the next step?
TR: I'll be brief. I'm very interested in the ways in which Black and Indigenous communities are taking back the education of young people. I mean, it started in the 60s and 70s with the Black liberation schools and Akwesasne Freedom School and Western communities tried to do it too with their Democratic schools and things like that. But there's a lot of like, there's a versioning like Black homeschooling movement, right, and unschooling movements which are trying to find ways of creating a space for the young people in their communities and in their lives to navigate without having the trappings of coercive top-down schooling, right, so education without schooling. So I'm really interested in seeing where that goes and unfortunately, of course, as more people do this sort of thing, there's those who are like, well, this is going to kill the public school system because if people aren't invested in it, then there's going to be, so there's a whole, I mean, but that's the way the capitalism sort of sets us against each other in a lot of ways. But I'm really interested in seeing where those sort of grassroots child-led forms of home education and community education go and I mean, we saw a little bit of it with COVID. COVID forced a lot of people's hands and a lot of people just didn't send their kids back into those institutions because they had children with mental health issues and emotional regulation issues with ADHD or autism who thrived when they were put in a different environment that didn't have the demands that regular schooling had of them.
TB: Yeah, and I think for me, let's say the transformative side of this being childism, this actually, I didn't explain that word. We talked about adultism, but maybe your listeners can listen to the other podcast when we talk about childism. But I think for this transformative side and childism in the sense of akin to feminism or also decoloniality, in order for this to happen, I think there has to be a clarity on what is the problem and that's why it's important to look at adultism and especially this intersection of coloniality and adultism. And my focus in the next years is to establish this as a research area on its own terms, because things in classrooms and teachers are also qualified through universities and these systems. So the work has to happen in several places. So I am interested in developing this research area and I think childist transformation, whether in society or scholarship, cannot happen unless we've understood this intersection. So we're applying, with some colleagues, we're applying to have a sub-network under the European Educational Research Association, which would focus on childism and decoloniality. And what's interesting is there's no sub-network that has any, like either of these terms, whether it's coloniality or adultism, they're just not represented in the several sub-themes and sub-sections of what educational sciences and research and philosophy is all about. And so there is a need for that. And hopefully if we get through and we have a sub-network, there will be a platform to start connecting different, isolated scholars, bringing them together and also supporting early career researchers who might be interested in this direction, but simply just don't have the right places to go to at the moment.
CM: Thank you again for listening to our podcast at Human Restoration Project. I hope this conversation leaves you inspired and ready to start making change. If you enjoyed listening, please consider leaving us a review on your favorite podcast player. Plus find a whole host of free resources, writings, and other podcasts, all for free on our website, humanrestorationproject.org. Thank you.