Knowledge for liberation? The participatory vision of Freire, Fals-Borda, and Rahman

By enriching our historical and sociological understanding of these scholars, their network of collaborators, and the ways in which their influences diffused, this project will offer a deeply grounded and timely contribution to current debates about the potential for education to transform society for the better.

Using methods drawn from life-writing scholarship, archival research will be combined with a historically contextualised comparative study of the subjects’ theoretical and autobiographical writings, personal papers, interviews and public lectures. I will be particularly interested in appeals to the authority of lived experience, and in gendered, ethnic, religious, racial, or national identity. I will also be alert to the ways in which the texts are positioned in social and geographical space, to issues of exile and migration, and to the negotiation of boundaries and border zones. Tracing the crossings of ideas between individuals, languages, disciplines, and continents and between social, political, and academic networks and collaborators will involve working primarily with secondary sources. A critical review of various literatures will encompass disparate fields, including Education, International Development, and Social Research.