On October 6 and 7th, CLACS and ILAS at Columbia University co-hosted a conference at Teacher’s College on, “Reconstructing National Identities Conference – Intercultural Bilingual Education in Latin America.”
The workshop topics ranged from the emergence of research and policy, international development and academic fields, and educational and social movements, and social and political actors and institutionalization related to intercultural and bilingual education in Latin America.
CLACS faculty member Pamela Calla chaired a panel on “Social and Political Actors and the Institutionalization of Intercultural Bilingual Education.” Here, she shares her reflections on the conference:
The aim of the conference was to analyze the development and implementation of Intercultural and Bilingual Education (IBE) across Latin America in order to assess the pedagogical, social, political and cultural transformation it triggered in each national context. The role of international agencies in relation to the state and its educational policies constituted one part of the debate that ensued among linguists, anthropologists and educators. The way in which indigenous and non-indigenous social movements worked through and navigated IBE policies became an important part of the discussion. Here, identity, power and knowledge construction, policy making and pedagogical strategizing in higher education and other kinds indigenous professionalization processes enriched the debate about the meaning and practice of “intercultural” education.
International specialist in the field of Intercultural and Bilingual Education such as Shirley Brice Heath (U.S.), Luis Enrique Lopes (Peru), Bret Gustafson (U.S.), Monica Navarro (Bolivia), Sylvia Schmelkes (Mexico), Carmen Martinez Novo (Ecuador), Laura Valdiviezo (Peru), Karl Swinehart (U.S.), Viviana Galdames (Chile) and Aida Walqui (Peru/U.S.), engaged in constructive dialogue with the wider audience and enhanced the conference as a whole.
Bret Gustafson, of Washington University in St. Louis, gave a particularly interesting presention on “Development Aid, State Shifts, and Intercultural Bilingual Education Trajectories.” An anthropologist, he argued that intercultural and bilingual education was “primarily a political struggle,” which is positioned around decolonization, specifically dismantling the structures and ideologies that are legacies of colonization.
Visit the events page on the CLACS website to learn about upcoming conferences!
Posted by Von Diaz – MA Candidate at CLACS / Global Journalism at NYU