Aziz Choudry, Salim Vally co-edit "Reflections on Knowledge, Learning and Social Movements: History's Schools"


A new book co-edited by Aziz Choudry, of our Department of Integrated Studies in Education, is now available from Routledge Publishers. Reflections on Knowledge, Learning and Social Movements: History's Schools includes 15 chapters that respond to the following challenges:

  • How do educators and activists in today’s struggles for change use historical materials from earlier periods of organizing for political education? 
  • How do they create and engage with independent and often informal archives and debates?
  • How do they ultimately connect this historical knowledge with contemporary struggles?

Six chapters provide insights from the progressive and activist social movements of South Africa. Other chapters explore the connections between ideas and practices of worldwide struggles, including contributors and content examining the experiences of Argentina, Iran, Britain, Palestine, the United States, and Indigenous Peoples' struggles at the UN. The book project is one component of Aziz Choudry's Canada Research Chair program on social movement learning and knowledge production. All royalties from the book are being donated to the Immigrant Workers Centre, Montreal.

"These are important histories that need to be read and honoured. This book needs to be read by anyone seeking to understand social change and the relationships between political activism, education and the pursuit of justice." (Linda Tuhiwai Smith, Professor of Education and Maori Development, University of Waikato, author of Decolonising Methodologies)

"At a time of serious assault on education and reason, Aziz Choudry and Salim Vally have produced a crucial book of essays that are a protest against that attack and that offer the road towards expanding what we expect of our world. Studies of struggles help us recognize how essential they were in producing the few decent things that exist about our world. That’s a spur to new struggles – and to new possibilities". (Vijay Prashad, author of The Poorer Nations: a possible history of the Global South.)

"This is an exciting collection of essays by prominent activist scholars, who critically reflect on the production of historical knowledge, radical pedagogies and social movements from various geographical vantage points. Importantly, the edited volume draws attention to the often neglected educative role of social movements thus offering innovative insights into the character of these movements. A salient thread in the book is the exploration of the role of radical histories in shaping the imaginations and praxes of contemporary movements. By foregrounding the use and production of historical knowledge and of archives of struggles in the course of enacting emancipatory politics, the collection shines new light on activism and social movements. The book will inspire contemporary activists to rethink the place of historical knowledge in movements as they engage in the struggle of imagining and creating a socially just future." (Noor Nieftagodien, South African Research Chair (SARChI): Local Histories, Present Realities, School of Social Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand)

Aziz Choudry is Associate Professor in the Department of Integrated Studies in Education at McGill University and a visiting professor at the Faculty of Education, University of Johannesburg, where he is affiliated to the Centre for Education Rights and Transformation. He is author or co-author of several books including Learning Activism: The Intellectual Life of Contemporary Social Movements (University of Toronto Press, 2015), and co-editor of Learning from the Ground Up: Global Perspectives on Social Movements and Knowledge Production (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010), Just Work? Migrant Workers’ Struggles Today (Pluto Press, 2015) and Unfree Labour? Struggles of Migrant and Immigrant Workers in Canada (2016, PM Press). Choudry serves on the boards of the Immigrant Workers Centre, Montreal and the Global Justice Ecology Project.

Salim Vally is Associate Professor at the Faculty of Education and Director of the Centre for Education Rights and Transformation, University of Johannesburg, South Africa. He is also a visiting professor at Nelson Mandela University, South Africa.

[Reflections on Knowledge, Learning and Social Movements: History's Schools, Routledge: CRC Press Taylor & Francis Group]