Challenging Perceptions of Africa in Schools : Critical Approaches to Global Justice Education book cover
1st Edition

Challenging Perceptions of Africa in Schools
Critical Approaches to Global Justice Education

ISBN 9781032082547
Published August 2, 2021 by Routledge
220 Pages

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Book Description

This book challenges educational discourse in relation to teaching about Africa at all levels of the education system in the Global North, with a specific case study focusing on the Republic of Ireland. The book provides an interrogation of the proliferation of negative imagery of and messages about African people and African countries and the impact of this on the attitudes and perceptions of children and young people. It explores how predominantly negative stereotyping can be challenged in classrooms through an educational approach grounded in principles of solidarity, interdependence, and social justice.

The book focuses on the premise that existing educational narratives about the African continent and African people are rooted in a preponderance of racialised perceptions: an ‘impoverished’ continent dependent on the ‘benevolence’ of the North. The cycle of negativity engendered as a result of such portrayals cannot be broken until educators engage with these matters and bring critical and inquiry-based pedagogies into classrooms. Insights into three key pedagogical areas are provided – active unlearning, translating critical thinking into meaningful action, and developing a race consciousness.

This book will appeal to academics, researchers, and post-graduate students in the fields of education and teacher education. It will be of interest to those involved in youth work, as well as intercultural and global citizenship youth trainers.

Table of Contents

Part 1: Setting the Context

Chapter 1: Approaching Critical Pedagogies in Education. Barbara O’Toole, David Nyaluke, and Ebun Joseph

Chapter 2: Learning about Africa and Global Justice: The Contribution of Trade Justice Education in Schools and Universities. Conall O’Caoimh and David Nyaluke

Part 2: Pedagogical Perspectives

Chapter 3: ‘Unlearning’ in Global Justice Education. Barbara O’Toole

Chapter 4: Africa as Pedagogical Playground: Problematising Sending Programmes for Teachers. Aoife Titley

Chapter 5: Teachers’ Experiences of Global Justice Education through the Lens of Trade. Elaine Haverty, Paula Murphy, Laura O’Shaughnessy, Lisa-Maria Whiston, and Barbara O’Toole

Chapter 6: Representations of Africa: Irish NGOs, Media, and Educational Resources. Oluromade (Rom) Olusa and Cecelia Gavigan

Chapter 7: Translating Critical Thinking into Meaningful Action. Sandra Austin

Part 3: Intersectionalities: Knowledge Justice, Race, and Education

Chapter 8: Knowledge Justice as Global Justice: Epistemicide, Decolonising the University, and the Struggle for Planetary Survival. Alice Feldman

Chapter 9: Making Sense of Race in Global Justice Education: Insights from a Racial Stratification Project in Ireland. Ebun Joseph

Chapter 10: Transformative Learning: The Future of Critical Education. Barbara O’Toole, Ebun Joseph, and David Nyaluke

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Barbara OToole is a Senior Lecturer at Marino Institute of Education, Dublin, Ireland.

Ebun Joseph is a Lecturer in Black Studies, Dublin, Ireland.

David Nyaluke is the Proudly Made in Africa Fellow at University College Dublin, Ireland.


David Nyaluke, Barbara O’Toole, and Ebun Joseph bring together a heterodox group of concerned scholars who are on fire for social and cognitive justice to explore contemporary problematic education discourse and challenge resilient dominant racist discourse. Africa is their legitimate epistemic site because of its misrepresentations, exposure to stereotypes and even epistemicides. The powerful anthology invites us to rethink not only education discourse but also pedagogy as it pushes for decolonial educational transformation.
Sabelo J. Ndlovu-Gatsheni, author of Epistemic Freedom in Africa: Deprovincialization and Decolonization (Routledge, July 2018)

Challenging Perceptions of Africa in Schools adds to the growing literature integrating broader concerns of education, development, equity, and social justice. Contributions in this collection cover a complex array of topics, engaging the reader’s interest in the challenges and possibilities of counter hegemonic knowledge, subversive pedagogy, decolonial education, and the intersections of knowledge, justice, race, and education. The interrogation of global education brings to the fore salient questions about knowledge, representation, and the politics of authentication of postcolonial realities in Africa and the Global South for that matter. Scholars reading this book, no doubt, will come out with more probing questions about the coloniality of global justice education itself, starting to probe additional questions: What are the redemptive qualities of global education? And, what does global justice education mean for the search for new educational futures? The book is a recommended read for all scholars working on global justice education.
George J. Sefa Dei, Professor of Social Justice Education & Director, Centre for Integrative Anti-Racism Studies Fellow, Royal Society of Canada

Challenging Perceptions of Africa in Schools challenges the racial and cultural hierarchies that dominate Western research and education about Africa and Africans. It is a ‘call to arms’ for decolonising the epistemologies and pedagogies that pathologise and subalternise people of African, Black and Brown descent. It takes readers outside the comfort zone of Eurocentrism and Whiteness, and the deficit narrative that has pervaded much of so-called ‘development education’ in particular.

The book is an invaluable resource for educators as it offers a counter-epistemological perspective on the politics of knowledge and pedagogies in White societies about Africa, and people of African descent. It is not only of value to those who do ‘Global Justice Education’, however, it is a tool box for exploring the privileging of discourses, ways of thinking and ways of living that are contingent on violating peoples and the natural world in the name of modernisation, growth, and progress. It demonstrates how the practice of development-as-charity is contingent on the perpetuation of one’s own privileges, reinforcing the colonial matrix of power.

Kathleen Lynch, Professor and Chair of Equality Studies 2003–2018, University College Dublin