May 242016
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In any event, first [thing] we have to make contact with is the situation that we are entering and what kind of context we are teaching in, and for. And we have to then educate ourselves into the context.

In addition, the other thing is, the political conditions not only change from place to place; that is, some places are more open to allowing teachers to experiment, some places are very rigid and very punitive and repressive—so that we had to adjust to the political climate or the political profile around us. But that political climate was not only a function of place of where we were teaching, it is also a function of time.

Part two of the interview focuses on updates to critical pedagogy, including some of Shor’s more recent experiments in the classroom. We also talk a lot about movement work, about the pedagogies of movements, about the role that educators play and might play, and about what Shor has been doing inside and outside of formal academic institutions.

Once again, we let the tape run and give you a largely unedited interview. We have in mind an audience who is familiar with Shor and critical pedagogy but who may be interested in some of the personal details and specific points that Shor raises here that may not be available elsewhere.

And once again, a tiny chorus of Zebra finches make up the background noise for our conversation.

We hope you enjoy it.

For a full transcript of the episode, click on the following link: Episode 30 Transcript.

Music sampled in this episode is “Night Owl” from Broke For Free.

May 072016

Ira Shor 1

Image of Ira Shor from BBS Radio

In part one of our interview, Ira Shor tells us about growing up in the Bronx, his early experiences of education, joining social movements, practicing critical pedagogy, and his first encounters and early collaboration with the Brazilian educator Paulo Freire.

I discovered what it was like to sit next to a teenager from an affluent family, and how they dressed; and they had good complexions and I wondered how that happened, ’cause nobody I grew up with had a nice complexion; they all had nice teeth, I had terrible teeth, all my friends had terrible teeth; I wore my brother’s clothes, the hand-me-downs, they had their own clothes. So, it was like a very sudden contact with class differences because the schools I went to in the neighborhood, we were all from the same social class. It was an education for me but it also caused me a lot of—I don’t know—doubt, anxiety about who I was, and I began to feel insecure that I was ugly, badly dressed, that I smelled bad, that my hair was too oily, that my skin was too pimply, my teeth were too cracked, and so on. . .

So I had been moving in this direction of what I call critical literacy or critical pedagogy. And Paulo Freire, of course, was way ahead, he had been doing it—that was around 1970s, he’d been doing it for over twenty years. So then I began studying his work in earnest and used it as a foundation for writing my first book Critical Teaching and Everyday Life.

We hope you enjoy it, and check back next week for part two where we talk about social movements, political possibilities, and the current state of higher education.

To access a PDF of the full transcript of this episode, please click here: Episode 30 Transcript

The music sampled in this podcast is “Absurdius Rex” by Jovian Year.

Oct 262015


I just don’t understand why we have to talk about every mode of belonging as some kind
of citizenship. It just doesn’t make any sense to me. I’m interested in people’s practices of
resistance. I’m interested in people’s practices of belonging. […] I’m interested in people’s practices of world-making.  — Karma Chavez

I’m increasingly persuaded by those who argue citizenship is a toxic concept and a toxic term. When I do talk about folks who appeal to citizenship, I’m very aware of how often those appeals to citizenship are built on the constitutive exclusions of others, and that if we really want to mobilize a productive, an emancipatory sense of civic obligation and of civic duty, we’ve got to figure out a way to do it without buying into a privileging conception of citizenship.  — Cate Palczewski

In Episode 29, we extend a conversation from the 2015 RSA Summer Institute Seminar on Rhetorics of Citizenship. Karrieann Soto and Kate Siegfried host the discussion with co-seminarians Karma Chavez and Cate Palczewski. The episode asks that we critically question rhetorics of citizenship in our scholarship and in daily life. For a full transcript, click here.

May 042013

The video provides details referenced in Carlos’s remarks over the next hour, the conditions of racism that John Carlos’s actions responded to, his childhood in Harlem, how he got involved with the Olympic Project for Human Rights, and other details about how the silent protest was developed and interpreted in its time.

Book cover of The John Carlos Story

The John Carlos Story (image via

Episode 8 features a recording of Dr. John Carlos’s featured session at CCCC in Las Vegas this past March (read the description here). Shannon Carter, Associate Professor of English from Texas A&M-Commerce, has been working closely with Carlos and introduces his keynote by identifying three themes that are relevant to our field: time, collective action, and reciprocity. In his address, Carlos offers insights into the 1968 Mexico City silent protest, his experiences facing racial prejudice, and the choices we all make as writers working for social justice.

To read a PDF of the full transcript, please download it here: Transcript for Episode 8.

The music sampled in this podcast includes Prefuse 73, J Dilla, Digable Planets, Curtis Mayfield, & Mos Def.

Mar 152013

There are many rhetorical issues to explore through the Occupy Wall Street movement: the framing of the 99% vs. the 1%, materialist physical rhetorics of occupied space, and so on. We’ll get at those, but it’s also important to note that the most commonly stated victory of the Occupy movement is a rhetorical one. That is, we often hear about the movement changing the national conversation.

American Autumn: an Occudoc (image from

American Autumn: an Occudoc (image from

Episode 5 explores the rhetoric of the Occupy Wall Street movement and features an interview with filmmaker Dennis Trainor Jr., who discusses his recent documentary, American Autumn: an Occudoc. This episode also includes a response from Deborah Mutnick, Professor of English at LIU Brooklyn.

To read a PDF of the full transcript, please download it here: Transcript for Episode 5.

The music sampled in this podcast is audio from American Autumn.

Feb 012013

In the first part of this keynote address from Syracuse University’s Conference on Activism, Rhetoric, and Research, Minnie Bruce Pratt discussed shifting definitions of what it means to be an activist and a feminist, considering the rhetoric we use to talk about change and action. In this second part of her address, Minnie Bruce considers what research has to do with change, with the connection between words and action, the connection between symbolic representation and material realities.

Minnie Bruce Pratt (image by Leslie Feinberg)

Minnie Bruce Pratt (image by Leslie Feinberg)

Episode 2 is part two of Minnie Bruce Pratt’s keynote address. To listen to part one, visit the previous post.

To read a PDF of the full transcript, please download it here: Transcript for Episode 2.

The music sampled in this podcast is “On Children” by Sweet Honey in the Rock.



Jan 182013

The following audio comes from Syracuse University’s inaugural Conference on Activism, Rhetoric, and Research (CARR). In this keynote, Minnie Bruce Pratt—a lesbian writer and white, anti-racist activist—wrestles with questions raised by Chilean poet and revolutionary Pablo Neruda. How are words related to action and to our moment in history? What do words like “change” and “action” have to do with us if we’ve never thought of ourselves as activists? And if we have been activists for many decades, what happens if we consider again the words we use?

Minnie Bruce Pratt at May Day 2012 (image by Ashley Sauer)

Minnie Bruce Pratt at May Day 2012 (photo by Ashley Sauers)

Episode 1 is part one of Minnie Bruce Pratt’s keynote address. To listen to part two, please visit the next post.

To read a PDF of the full transcript, please download it here: Transcript for Episode 1.

The music sampled in this podcast is “On Children” by Sweet Honey in the Rock.