Learning from the American Evolution Wars

“Evolution is not a peripheral subject but the central organizing principle of all biological science,” explained the Harvard paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould, reacting to a 1999 decision by the Kansas state board of education to downplay evolution in the state’s science standards, the ultimate source of guidance for Kansas’s public school science teachers. “No one …

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Looking Back, Moving Forward: Educational Policies in Postcolonial India – Issues, Opportunities, and Challenges

Introduction The importance of education in social and economic development requires little persuasion. Education facilitates knowledge and skills, widens and sharpens the mind and contributes to individual as well as social development (Menon 1984). The nature of education and its benefits in enhancing economic and social welfare across society elevates it to the status of …

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The Politics of Education in Ancient and Modern Times

Education assumes multiple forms and inhabits various contexts. Not only does it fluctuate from society to society, but even within a single society or social group its form and function can diverge widely. Such variance stems from multiple factors – the interests and powers of the state, the values and preferences of the populace, special …

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Teaching Transgender Studies in Turbulent Times

In Australia, Britain and the USA, transgender rights are at the centre of political battlegrounds over the right of citizens to bodily autonomy, recognition, and access to medical care. In all three countries, debates over trans rights have been positioned in relationship to the right to discriminate on the grounds of religion, and the need …

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Big Lies, Deep Lies in Post-Truth India

Post-truth is pre-fascist.  —  Timothy Snyder [1]   It is twilight time for democracy. In the world’s oldest and the most populous liberal democracies, the United States and India respectively, a populist, majoritarian vigilantism is slowly but steadily snuffing out the promise of multi-religious, multi-ethnic societies enjoying constitutional protections of civil liberties and equality before …

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The Prospects for a Liberal Education in China

Students are crucial drivers of protests against authoritarian injustices. We can think of numerous examples – Iran in 2009, Egypt in 2011, and Russia following the electoral falsifications in 2011-2012. In China, which is the subject of this short essay, there has been a storied history of student discontent, with the May Fourth protests against …

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The Silencing of LGBTQ Voices in U.S. Public Schools

Public education serves many functions. Among other things, it can highlight past and present inequities, particularly those suffered by historically oppressed groups. By acknowledging these injustices, schools can play an active role in achieving broader civic goals—social justice, equality of opportunity, and political empowerment (Ballantine, Hammack, and Stuber 2017). Effecting these goals necessarily involves the …

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“Decolonizing” Indians Through Hindutva Ideological Control

“A foe’s words though seeming friendly Can be read at once.” – Tamil Kural of Tiruvalluvar (trans. PS Sundaram) In the hands of the Hindu Right, “decolonize” has become a contronym. In many academic and social justice contexts, the term retains its older meaning of undoing colonizing practices and deconstructing imperial structures and analytics. In this sense, …

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Back to the Future: The Retro Politics of Contemporary Nationalisms

It’s a poor sort of memory that only works backwards,’ says the White Queen to Alice. -Lewis Carrol, Alice in Wonderland I was born in India, considered the world’s largest democracy. I now live in the U.S., considered the world’s oldest democracies. Traveling between the two nations over the last three decades, I’ve witnessed a …

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Critical Race Theory: The Facts and Irony (for White People)

As nearly daily reporting in the U.S. highlights, the manufactured anger over Critical Race Theory (CRT) continues to influence directly and indirectly both public discourse as well as teaching and learning in U.S. schools. Books are being banned, and state legislation is restricting curriculum and teaching, often in response to outcries against the non-existent influence …

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Teaching Hostility: The Representation of Palestinians in Israeli Schoolbooks

Upon entering an Israeli school, one is immediately struck by slogans that proclaim “Love the other,” “Respect differences,” and “The Other Is Me!”[1] However, in view of the fraught inter-group relations prevailing in the country, the separation between Jewish and Arab schools, the quota set for Ethiopian Jewish children, and the exclusion of children of …

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