Pedagogies of Freedom: Exile, Courage, and Reflexivity in the Life of Paulo Freire

Pedagogies of Freedom: Exile, Courage, and Reflexivity in the Life of Paulo Freire Abstract This article contributes to calls for a reflexive ethnography of academic life by examining the relationship between exile and courage in the work of Paulo Freire. I turn to Freire’s experience of exile and the role it plays in his critical pedagogy in order to develop a reflexive framework linking scholarly encounters with global politics and different forms of courage. I begin my analysis with a portrait of Freire’s life and work, focusing on the distinct elements in his writing that contribute to what I call an exilic reflexivity. I then turn to Freire’s writing on conscientization, pedagogy, and the role of ideology in higher education to highlight missed opportunities by international relations (IR) scholarship to engage with alternative forms of existential courage. Freire’s approach to education offers IR scholars an opportunity to rethink exile in light of ongoing structural challenges within the political economy of academic life. While Freire was not an IR scholar as such, his work is positioned against similar economic, political, and ideological constraints on contemporary academia, conveying a pedagogy of freedom that remains highly relevant today. Paulo Freire, exile, reflexivity, higher education, critical pedagogy In the title essay of his collection Reflections on Exile, Said (2000, 174) remarks on the political character of exile as a problem “produced by human beings for other human beings.” Though stories of exile have always spoken to a real and metaphorical sense of homelessness, the prevalence of exile today seems to lack any lessons in timeless wisdom. While Said offers some consolation that histories of exile have always given, and may yet continue to give, modern spectators something to ruminate on, the larger problem rests on what he perceives as our inability today to live the lessons that exile once proffered. “Exile,” he concludes, “is never the state of being satisfied, placid, or secure. Exile … is ‘a mind of winter’ in which the pathos of summer and autumn as much as the potential of spring are nearby but unobtainable” (Said 2000, 186). In the following pages, I argue that implicit in the weathered experience of exile is a relationship between a thinker and his context that points toward the possibility of learning tragic, yet empowering lessons. I seek to offer here a broader grounding for the concept of exile and how its lived experiences in the scholarly realm can offer insights regarding courage and scholarly reflexivity in the contemporary academy. A recent wave of work on the role of narrativity and storytelling in international relations (IR) has begun this difficult reconstruction of exile and its place in international theorizing (see Inayatullah 2011; Dauphinee 2013; Solomon 2014; Beattie 2015). Following these readings, I intend to link the experiential character of exile to forms of courage that emerge in one thinker’s encounter with political change. To do so, my analysis turns to the life of Paulo Freire as a contemporary example embodying the courage to risk exile and to use it as a staging ground for critical thought. Though Freire’s own displacement was a product of his social and political activism at the frontlines of Cold War politics, his approach to education acts as a pedagogy of freedom that offers IR scholars an opportunity to rethink exile in light of contemporary academic challenges. By exploring Freire’s resilience throughout multiple international encounters—global literacy campaigns, challenges to leftist authoritarianism, and the worldwide corporatization of higher education—I also use these experiences as an opportunity to speculate on IR scholarship’s noticeable silence on Freire’s endeavors. The silence on Freire—as well as on the mechanisms of domination he found central to perpetuating what he termed as the “culture of silence” (2000, 71–86)—leads me to position the intellectual-in-exile as one that cultivates a mode of questioning essential to living and thinking in the midst of crisis. Freire’s lessons on education and pedagogy may not fit the paradigmatic mold of conventional approaches to the study of global politics. However, they do offer a tactical response aimed at unpacking how the study of world politics is constituted and reproduced in everyday spaces wrapped up in those same politics (see de Certeau 1984; Caraccioli 2011). In particular, I look to Freire’s concern with the ideological nature of all education as being a central dilemma of contemporary IR scholarship. The embodied character of Freire’s pedagogy of freedom, I maintain, serves to acknowledge the often silent (though no less polemical) elitism facing scholars within the neoliberal university today. IR scholars can thus specifically draw from Freire the questioning attitude at the heart of all of exiles: a reflexive attitude at once indebted to, and positioned against, the arbitrary exercise of political power. I conclude the article by looking at the implications of Freire’s critical pedagogy on the problem of courage in the scholar’s negotiations with the ivory tower. While IR scholars today have recently taken up reflexivity and parrhesia (i.e., frank speech, truth telling) as acts to be employed with both courage and caution, many of these efforts continue to treat central analytic features of exile as either internal or external phenomena, where courage acts as a kind of internal response on the part of one who is exiled (Oren 2006; Steele 2010). Building on the work of scholars employing the concept of reflexivity, I instead position exile as a coextensive feature of the courage and reflexivity that shape the life of international scholars at three levels: personal journeys, higher education training, and the visions scholars impart through teaching. By engaging with exile as an inherent feature of IR theorizing, I see the challenge facing contemporary IR scholars as how to understand exile as both a theory and practice of human freedom, a path modeled by Freire that counters the notion of education as a form of domination. My intentions are therefore not to diminish the everyday courage and relevance that refugees and other exiles face on a daily basis. Rather, my concern is with the ways that IR scholars adopt the question of exile as an exhortation for courage in the struggles of scholarly work. In this sense, the article acts as a political ethnography of exile, a reflexive inventory of the discipline’s attitude toward what is in effect more than just an empirical problem (see Wedeen 2009). In brief, there is a kind of exile that pervades the academy, especially vivid in the marginalization of reflexive scholarship, which I find IR scholarship ill-equipped to talk about. Yet as Freire describes it, exile is a problem that “touches you existentially. It envelops you as a being. It shakes you up physically and mentally … magnifies your virtues and your faults. And this is what exile did to me [Freire]” (1985, 181). To describe the spaces of exile—both as practical endeavor in reshaping one’s life, but also as a means of speaking truth to power—requires a form of courage that emerges from uncertainty and loss, elements highly undertheorized in IR. The distinction between “exile as a feature” of politics and “exile as constitutive” of a critical disposition is crucial here because it highlights key opportunities for IR scholars to develop and employ new forms of political courage from a world that many of us often claim to want to save, but just as often use to save ourselves (see Patterson 2000; Mignolo 2002; Drainville 2003; Tickner 2006). As I will argue below, one pertinent way in which IR as a discipline may benefit from an experiential analysis of exile is through the grounding of contemporary pedagogical debates within the space of professionalization. Reflexivity in our professional biographies has an explicitly intersubjective component, shifting the “global knowledge” ethos of the discipline toward the “local knowledge” of everyday circumstances. By acknowledging the role of lived experiences in education and teaching, IR scholars may convey, in Löwenheim’s words, “the humanity and intrinsic worth and distinctiveness of other individuals” (2010, 1028).1 In this spirit, IR scholars can develop more communal attempts—both within and outside of the field—to rethink and theorize courage in today’s academic landscape. The Intellectual-in-Exile: A Critical Portrait of Paulo Freire Few disciplines perhaps have been as richly influenced by political exiles as IR. Both classical and contemporary schools of thought can trace their lineage to the experience of expulsion or escape, or as a result of the contradictions generated by capitalism and communism alike. Yet why have IR scholars neglected to take up the question of exile and what it can teach us about studying global politics? While there are predecessors in the history of IR that help convey the co-constitutive relation between the concept and experience of exile,2 IR scholarship today seems to miss the importance of exile as a mode of self- and collective critique.3 In the following section, I turn to the life and work of Freire as a response to efforts to theorize exile’s role as a courageous and reflexive facet of challenging political power. While Freire’s life and work were highly impacted by the experience of exile, his deeds and methods were far removed from the image of the exile as being “homeless” (Said 2000), or exile as some kind of causal mechanism for changing societies (Sznajder and Roniger 2009).4 Rather than viewing his sojourn as a source of alienation, Freire conceptualizes exile as an opportunity to be both free and “at home” in the broader world. Within the broader history of Latin American exiles, his experience offers timely lessons for an allegedly timeless problem. To begin, what does Freire’s trajectory look like? A small set of highlights should help frame the present discussion. Born into a middleclass family, Freire grew up in almost abject poverty after his father died in the middle of the Great Depression. His first encounters with education were less than encouraging, but by his own account, these helped to frame the great challenge of educating the forgotten masses of the world. “Thought and study alone did not produce” his studies and texts, he notes in one of the prefaces to Pedagogy of the Oppressed; rather, these are “rooted in concrete situations and … the reactions of laborers (peasant or urban) and of middle-class persons whom I have observed directly or indirectly during the course of my educative work” (Freire 2000, 37). That direct engagement would be central to Freire’s own sense of learning and discovery, as well as how he would implement these in practice. First a lawyer and later an educator by training, Freire was influenced by a cocktail of intellectual currents ranging from Marxism to phenomenology and liberation theology, among others (see Rivera 2004). His early pedagogical and activist work with the peasant communities of the Brazilian Northeast, as an official of Pernambuco state, focused on developing a dialogical pedagogy that emphasized local history and human freedom as understood in the locals’ own terms. He observed how “labor in the fields, meetings of a local association (noting the behavior of the participants, the language used, and the relations between the officers and the members), the role played by women and by young people, leisure hours, games and sports, conversations with people in their homes (noting examples of husband-wife and parent-child relationships)” all formed part of the spectrum under which adult education teams, for example, should observe the “life of an area” (Freire 2000, 111–12). It quickly becomes evident how these strategies put Freire in the left wing of the Brazilian ideological spectrum, often raising accusations of attempts to deploy Cuban-inspired efforts at fomenting populist revolution, not educational reform. In the lead-up to the 1964 US-backed coup against the democratic government of João Goulart, the provocatively political and nationalist illustrations that Freire developed for teaching peasants to read—including images of daily toils and struggles, of civic participation and voting, of collective solidarity and support—were singled out by both right-wing propaganda groups, as well as US government officials responsible for dispersing USAID funds, as “disseminating anti-US or Marxist doctrine in adult education programs” (Kirkendall 2010, 51). His exposure to the region’s poverty and the lack of alternatives available to its peoples (e.g., literacy was a voting requirement in Brazil) led Freire to enact education projects dedicated to bring the working classes closer to understanding their own context and situations. In his book Pedagogy of Hope, for instance, Freire (1994) emphasized how important visual and popular media in particular could be when used to convey a person’s positionality within his broader society: Never does an event, a fact, a deed, a gesture of rage or love, a poem, a painting, a song, a book, have one reason behind it. In fact a deep gesture, a poem, a painting, a song, a book are always wrapped in thick wrappers. They have been touched by manifold whys. Only some of these are close enough to the event or the creation to be visible as whys. And so I have always been more interested in understanding the process in and by which things come about than in the product itself. (Freire 1994, 10) For Freire, these moments of discovery were critical tools for the educator to use in empowering their students through self-conscious acts of contextualization. That these tactics linked Brazilian struggles against underdevelopment with the broader global struggles of decolonization through education did not seem to be explicitly Freire’s doing. Rather, it was perhaps the recognition from his contemporaries of the larger global context in which underdevelopment and colonial domination operated. In an increasingly tense climate of revolution and dictatorship, Freire was arrested as a traitor in 1964 and later forced into exile for approximately sixteen years. An ironic side effect of Freire’s exile was the worldwide impact of his methods stretching across the Western Hemisphere and into the African and Middle Eastern contexts (Gadotti 1994, 35–48). Freire traveled in the late 1960s to Bolivia and Chile, where he first put his methods to international scrutiny through his work with the United Nations (UN) Food and Agricultural Organization. Between 1967 and 1968, he published two key texts, Education as the Practice of Freedom (1967) and Pedagogy of the Oppressed (1968), of which the latter would push his name to international renown. Both these texts focused on the transformation of society through popular education and in particular the role of literacy in civic participation. The experience in Chile made Freire’s name known across Latin America, particularly since his efforts were the hallmarks of both radical efforts at empowering the powerless, as well as burgeoning land reform programs enacted by the ruling Christian Democrat Party. These experiences also helped to frame a wide field of differences for Freire, as he became increasingly concerned with the question of national culture and how concepts, ideas, and values traveled between nations. After being invited to a visiting professorship position at Harvard in 1969, Freire spent the following decade working as a special education advisor with the World Council of Churches on its literacy campaigns in Guinea-Bissau and Mozambique. It was in his experience in Africa that we find one of Freire’s most interesting contradictions, as seen in his optimism regarding a one-party state’s abilities to enact a national literacy campaign and the subsequent inadequacy of the literacy program enacted there. Freire’s own role in the failure of the Guinea-Bissau and Mozambique projects can be tied to a misperception on his part of the political consciousness of the Guinean peasantry and the commitment of a militaristic state to a democratic endeavor (Freire 1978). As Freire recognized, these failures would have a profound effect on his earlier assumptions about a certain existential universalism informing political and educational endeavors. Freire returned to Brazil in 1979 and subsequently joined the Partido dos Trabalhadores (Worker’s Party of Brazil), enacting dozens of adult literacy campaigns in the city of Sao Paulo, while continuing to advise multiple educational efforts in Nicaragua and inner-city schools in the United States. Noteworthy across Freire’s development as a pedagogical and international thinker was his focus on the experience of the poor. In his Pedagogy of the Oppressed, for example, Freire traced the notorious problem of the “banking notion of education” to two elements: the prevalence of the liberal notion of the individual as a tabula rasa and the central role a dialectical sense of history played in individual and collective liberation (2000, 71–86). His last statement on this issue came in a series of lecture notes compiled for a seminar on liberation pedagogy at the Harvard Graduate School of Education in the late 1990s. Freire died in May 1997 before the course could begin, but his lecture notes were published in 1998 under the title Pedagogy of Freedom. In this course, Freire frames the core of his life’s trajectory and pedagogical concerns in a characteristically unconventional fashion, channeling the spirit of multiple critical (and future) observations on the corporatization of the university, while remaining an unrepentant humanist: I cannot avoid a permanently critical attitude towards what I consider to be the source of neoliberalism, with its cynical fatalism and its inflexible negation of the right to dream differently, to dream of utopia. My abhorrence of neoliberalism helps to explain my legitimate anger when I speak of the injustices to which the ragpickers among humanity are condemned. It also explains my total lack of interest in any pretension of impartiality. I am not impartial or objective, not a fixed observer of facts and happenings. I never was able to be an adherent of the traits that falsely claim impartiality or objectivity. That did not prevent me, however, from holding always a rigorously ethical position. Whoever really observes, does so from a given point of view. (Freire 1998, 22) By Freire’s account, many of the positivist assumptions and “pretensions of impartiality” about the nature of knowledge do great violence to human experience. If there is at least one thing that exile taught him in this regard, it is that life is fluid and impermanent; our insights and concepts are not those of a “fixed observer,” but rather always “from a given point of view.” Freire himself traces this critical disposition directly to what exile taught him: first, that exile is never “peaceful”; second, that “nobody goes into exile by choice”; and lastly, that while in exile he realized his true interest in learning, as an opportunity to “each day be open to the world, be ready to think; each day be ready not to accept what is said just because it is said, be predisposed to reread what is read; each day investigate, question, and doubt” (1985, 181). While tempting for those who are critical of his approach to see Freire as too much a product of his time—a remnant of the post–Cuban Revolution radicalism that informed the 1960s and 1970s—such a critique may be more the result of the tenacity of a neoliberal individualist ideology than any concrete theoretical or pedagogical critique of Freire’s method. Freire is quite upfront about how his experience affected his role as a teacher, scholar, and participant in the dynamics of international politics. The very act of teaching, for Freire, is part of the human individual’s experiential relation to the world around them, and the space where both “teacher” and “student” learn embodies a process of self-discovery and engagement with that which is different. Harding, among other prominent feminist theorists and historians of science, has echoed these same sentiments concerning the hegemony of objectivity over the lived experiences of academic production, person-to-person relations, and human-nonhuman encounters. “The problem with the conventional conception of objectivity is not that it is too rigorous or too ‘objectifying,’” she argues, “but that it is not rigorous or objectifying enough; it is too weak to accomplish even the goals for which it has been designed, let alone the more difficult projects called for by feminisms and other new social movements” (Harding 1993, 50–51). Harding and Freire both propose that conventional notions of science, learning, education, and theoretical thought fail to account for the great resource that reflexivity—as a critical form of subject positionality—has become. Reflexivity reminds scholars that “[observers] do change the world that they observe” (Harding 1993, 73); how else is the conviction of one’s beliefs about the world put into action? The intersubjective and context-bound nature of teaching is thus for Freire an act that “cannot be reduced to a superficial or externalized contact with the object or its content but extends to the production of the conditions on which critical learning is possible” (1998, 33). The development of Freire’s life can be read along similar lines, where the transformations and transitions he embodied formed part of a broader array of changes and challenges faced by an entire generation of Latin American exiles (see Dorfman 2011). Freire’s life illustrates both the journey and return from exile, offering a vivid description of the tensions between experiences and future endeavors, as well as how these can critically shape one’s path—an exilic reflexivity. None of this suggests that one could not criticize Freire’s efforts or the meaning of his work for understanding exile. In fact, he saw such a confrontation as a necessary element of what he termed human “unfinishedness” and the responsibility of any teacher to encourage the search for the “support networks” of human life (1998, 51–54). As mentioned above, Freire himself acknowledges the threat of ahistorical reasoning and the alleged “end of history” as products of the creeping prevalence of neoliberal ideologies. The challenge here is to retain the ability to generate forms of history whose champions are people themselves. The objectives of a critical pedagogy therefore lie in the attempt to establish a kind of conscientization of both the environment in which teaching and learning take place (geographically, historically, and intersubjectively) and who scholars are as intellectuals, teachers, and ultimately political agents. Learning from Freire: The Conscientization of International Relations The notion of conscientization has often raised several alarms among scholars, particularly through its paternalistic connotations of enlightened individuals reaching down to unenlightened masses. It is often presented as a kind of universalism that is guilty of not giving enough attention to historical specificities and possibilities for difference and interaction. Rightfully, the concept needs to be interrogated for its ambiguous theoretical underpinnings. This lack, however, should not dissuade scholars and theorists from taking Freire’s challenge of acknowledging the unfinished nature of human life and that critical scholarly work must always be embodied in the struggles of communicating, teaching, and learning from our communities (see Glass 2001). Conscientization therefore continues to play an important role today as a dialogical challenge to the growing corporate elitism of higher education. The myth behind the objectivity of teaching and research falls flat, according to Freire, once we acknowledge the hidden relationship between past and future that neoliberal institutions embody, the experiences such institutions privilege, and the kinds of scholarship deemed worthwhile within them. To ignore the extent to which the university today is becoming a neoliberal institution is to ignore the challenge faced by entire throngs of junior and budding scholars alike. That the “death of tenure” has become a mandatory theme in graduate seminar discussions on the political economy or future of the academy is no mere exercise in curiosity. Often, the tension and anxiety generated by such discussions assume the theory-practice divide with alarming alacrity, prompting a necessary discussion on the contemporary role of courage. More specifically, one of the reasons why present economic and institutional changes in the professorate are so alarming rests on the absence of discussions pertaining to notions of dignity, relevance, and commitment within academic work (see Schmidt 2001; Deresiewicz 2011; Caraccioli and Hozic 2015). Freire highlighted such tensions and in the process made, but also lost, many friends. To be clear, the critique of the ideological nature of education is itself an ideological statement. Yet Freire never denied that, often noting how “for this reason … I, as a teacher, ought to be aware of the power of ideological discourse, beginning with discourse that proclaims the death of all ideologies” (1998, 117). In this regard, Freire’s borrowings from Marxism and existentialism display his ability to draw insights from dominant and counter-hegemonic narratives, while still resist their fatalistic excesses. Such grand narratives have been central to mediating change within society (and the academy) for much of modern history. Renewed calls for “living wages” or “niceness” are equally part of this trend. And while Freire never shied away from acknowledging this reality, the silence among IR scholars on his concrete global contributions, as well as his philosophical insights on the profession, become all the more salient.5 Within IR, what we find in many of the unquestioned ideologies of globalization is nothing more than the extension of the neoliberal and modernization projects Freire was fighting against in the Cold War: ideologies that reproduce a corporate structure of competition into the classrooms and landscape of social life. Even self-proclaimed “critical” approaches have become increasingly characterized by their reliance on Western rationalities and a mastery of self-preservation in the social world (see Odysseos 2007; Odysseos and Pal 2017). From the textbooks, schools of thought, and case studies used in the classroom environment, there is a peculiar elitism to the study of IR that allows intellectuals and politicians alike to disconnect their thought from the broader experiences of everyday life that makes the international possible. As Freire’s notion of conscientization highlights, education requires a critical awareness of history and the obstacles that intervene to make pedagogy an intersubjective task, demanding from scholars the recognition of how our environment shapes (and is shaped by) the international realm. Such an act of recognition not only demands that we rethink pedagogic practices, but that we rethink them in the context of a broader assessment of everyday patterns of capitalist consumption, the standardized modes of accounting for scholarly productivity, and the analytic character of the exile’s experience. Although the commodification of education may be quite a self-evident observation to the scholar who is well-positioned within the widening hierarchy of higher education, the dispossession and resentment of students and scholars alike is experienced quite differently across the spectrum. Indeed, the exilic reflexivity that Freire conveys shows how the largest threat of the contemporary capitalization of higher education is not the creative destruction of old rituals nor the proliferation of new subjectivities of the student as a consumer. Rather, the most scandalous dimension of such transformations is that scholarly conceptions of “diversity” and “excellence” may actually benefit from such developments. As I will develop in the following section of this article, a reflexive and experiential engagement with this question begins with a much more radical turn than that found in contemporary (even critical) IR approaches. Indeed, there is a powerfully intersubjective dimension to exile that makes its character as both a metaphor and experience central to the academic profession as a community. Recognizing the presence of another person as being somewhere else from our point of view, as inhabiting a particular place already there prior to our arrival, and not just merely “inside” or “outside” of my reach, is in part the ground on which an epistemic transformation can occur. The everyday interaction with people in spaces and places different from our own help illuminate the different styles and modalities through which human life is experienced. This dissonance between “inside” and “outside,” as Walker (1993) long ago pointed out, continues to plague IR theorizing. Yet this is not a result of territorial states, the relative merits of one approach over the other, or the evolutionary narratives shaping interparadigm warfare. Rather, as Walker concludes, it is about the fact that for “all its ambition to explain the world,” contemporary IR “remains intensely parochial, and not just because it has been developed primarily in relation to the interests of hegemonic states” (1993, 180). Freire’s thoughts here are doubly useful; on the one hand, his intellectual program parallels that of the phenomenological tradition, itself a geographically contested tradition (see Caraccioli 2015). Particularly key for Freire is the way in which the seemingly mundane and “normal” encounters carry the weight and sedimentation of myriad histories. As the philosopher Merleau-Ponty put it before Freire, “what is acquired is truly acquired only if it is taken up again in a fresh momentum of thought” (1962, 113). For Merleau-Ponty, as for Freire, consciousness “[provides] itself with one or several worlds, to bring into being its own thoughts before itself, as if they were things … [demonstrating] its vitality indivisibly by outlining these landscapes for itself and then by abandoning them” (1962, 114). Rethinking the role of perception is therefore central in the development of a critical consciousness, one that recognizes and challenges the extent to which only ideas or abstracted rationalities pervade our identity. Yet on the other hand, Freire also employs in his writings insights grounded within the context of his own history, Latin American history, resembling a conversation through which “the subjects in dialogue learn and grow by confronting their difference” (1998, 59). As seen in his reflections from Guinea-Bissau and Mozambique, he questions his own actions, judgments, and preconceptions as an exhortation for scholars and teachers to acknowledge their participation in a shared, though certainly contested, world of interpenetrations. The goal is not merely to be critical about actions, ideas, and emotions; rather, more positively (and more inclusive of the possibility of learning from others’ differences), the everyday workings of a given culture must form part of a tapestry of meanings often elided from scholarly visions, but just as constitutive—“they involve our whole lives, our cultures, the distinctive features that distinguish man from other animals” (Freire 1985, 182). In Freire’s work, culture “extends history to the praxis of people,” and thus the more one experiences and learns from the everyday lives of the world around them “the more they help [one] keep in touch with [one]self, while learning and reflecting” (1985, 182). It is important to point out here that Freire’s method implies more than sitting down with our feelings, forcing ourselves to acknowledge a bigger world. He is concerned with employing an analectical method (see Dussel 1985, 158–59) where the space of encounter (whether anecdotal or directly experienced) is reconstituted through an explicit denunciation of the structures of privilege and power that marginalize the poor and disenfranchised. The absence and presence of others—especially the conquered and dominated, who through Freire’s method can be in effect empowered to achieve their own liberation—are acknowledged as constitutive of the power relation and not a mere passive object of consumption. Freire’s experiences as a national educator in the poorest towns of Northeast Brazil portray the force, fragility, and implications of these kinds of dialogue with great clarity. The posture of conviction and openness that motivated his efforts was further coalesced through his exile and transformation into an international educator in both the developing world and the United States. His experience of exile became an attempt to interrogate the ways spaces, homes, and sites are thought of particularly as having an impact on one’s thoughts and actions. While a much broader reflection on the relation between space, place, and perception would be useful here, suffice it for now to suggest that, for Freire, these elements play central roles in the construction of human identity, especially in the scholar’s response to the oppression of state-sanctioned international violence and the cultural transformations that have shaped global politics. Where then does Freire leave us on the question of exile? I point here to the possibility of reenvisioning exile as a mode of questioning that is rooted in two realms: first, that of the existential, as it seeks not only to see the spatiality and experience of human displacement, but also to discover its intersubjective character; and second, that of the temporal, as that mode of questioning and probing that allows for intellectual queries to provoke further questions, attempting to clarify alternate visions and dimensions of reality. The exile is perpetually in search of ways through which to create and engage places-to-be—spaces that allow them to live, to express ideas, and to exchange agency in their given environments. However, the parallels with how teachers and students may be shaped by their shared encounters, particularly within an international environment, are not self-evident. To interpret human relations from an experiential lens may provide alternative forms of expression that resist conceptual or political domination, but they are always constructed in dialogue with others, never solely in isolation, and rarely at a distance. Thus, the revolutionary character of Freire’s thought lies in coming back from exile right into the very heart of an institution’s oppressive ideologies. That return need not be as a drastic as Freire’s exile, but can be mirrored in our ongoing return to the shared spaces of the classroom and scholarly communities. A common feature of contemporary undergraduate education, for example, remains the naturalization of phenomena such as competition, financial austerity, and ethnocentrism (i.e., “Western” civilization) through the inductive mechanism of the natural sciences. While the lack of a consensus over the discipline’s epistemology has led to vibrant debate in both graduate and professional settings, “practical” concerns in the changing structure of undergraduate education leave no room for such questioning and remain the norm. Most common remains the conception of education (and teaching) as an act of consumption and of services rendered, where the standardization of facts, methods, and data are directed toward the diffusion of a university’s (or a state’s) political and corporate interests. By privileging a corporate conception of the role of education in both national and international life—one that sees education as part of a banking system of “authoritative” forms of knowledge—the space for dialogue and exchange that lies at the heart of learning is reduced to the reproduction of preconceived ideologies. I would suggest here, however, that Freire’s intervention into the world of international politics puts IR scholars at a disadvantage. His preferential option for the poor is not merely a pedagogical exhortation, but rather a structural challenge that he asks of all self-proclaimed teachers to take up, weigh, and choose for themselves. In this sense, Freire is both an activist scholar as well as a prophetic thinker, offering a challenge for scholars in the stark terms of the liberation of the oppressed, but also the alleged salvation and possibility of a certain kind of civilization. Indeed, the canonization of Freire as a figure to be emulated has been the subject of several criticisms regarding Freire’s legacy and whether his approach is truly as universal as he often claimed. Kirkendall (2010), for example, suggests that similar to the corporate models they were struggling against, the Latin American Left, as personified by Freire, had its own illusions, its own impatience, and its own inability to stay true to its democratic beliefs … Freire’s historical experiences suggest that he should have embraced political pluralism more readily and more consistently, but the Left’s disdain for “bourgeois democracy” and enthusiasm for the one-party state were slow to wane. (2010, 167) Additionally, as it concerns the transformation of the everyday into a “teachable moment,” Torres points out that “there is a tendency in Freire to overturn everyday situations so that they become pedagogical … While his initial point of reference might be nonformal, the educational encounters he explores remain formal” and thus, in a sense, work against the notion of dialogue (1993, 127). While these criticisms reveal important gaps in Freirean scholarship, their intention, as Freire often admitted in later years, reveals the importance of challenging educators to take up their own methods to social and political liberation. The point here is not to criticize Freire’s person, deeds, or methods (though these points have their own advocates, such as Facundo [1984] and Ohliger [1995]); rather, I would like to pose here the problem of how we transform the everyday, especially concerning IR, into a critical pedagogical encounter. What “teachable moments” do we privilege in our discipline? What limitations do we draw for ourselves in negotiating the changing structures of the academy? And finally, in regards to Freire himself, why should we turn to such a paradoxical figure in clarifying our understanding of reflexivity and courage? Such questions lead to my claim that the IR scholar today faces a kind of existential exile with similar implications for our political and international life. In the section that follows, I address where such an exile comes from. The Inversion of Exile: Coming Home in a Place-Less World In asking what exile teaches us about IR, we should also ask what IR teaches us about coming home. In his classic book, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Campbell suggests that “the place of the hero’s birth, or the remote land of exile from which he returns to perform his adult deeds among men, is the mid-point or navel of the world” (1949, 334). Campbell’s work was an attempt to situate the broader facets of myth and history within a world that was politically and ideologically unravelling. More specifically, in Campbell’s work we find a broader engagement with the functions of myth in modern society: how the hero today, beyond the conscious effort to face the things that are unjust, is always already an exile. For she who is banished, Campbell tells us, “exile is the first step of the quest,” where individuals take within themselves their communities, their practices, their values toward other lands, realities, and ways of being; exile “brings the hero to the Self in all” (1949, 385–86). But if exile is to be understood as a form of banishment from what one thinks of as home, any return could only ever be a deficient one. To “come back,” even under laudatory circumstances, is an act fundamentally imbued with both a sense of loss, as well as opportunity. Is such a return possible in today’s world of corporate education? Do we need more heroes today in the academy? Why yearn for them, if not as a projection of our desire to save the world, or save ourselves? Throughout this article, I have emphasized the pedagogical exchange that takes place in the experience of exile and how a kind of exilic reflexivity may emerge from such moments. While exile generates lessons that emphasize the changing character of politics and education, it also represents the banishment of dissent. For example, rather than acknowledging “science” as part of a long process of pedagogical and intellectual transformation, scholars today continue to battle over one ready-made version of “science” (e.g., positivist, critical, or pluralist) with often disturbing animosity against demonized others. No doubt the material and political character of the “science wars” is important. What is often missed or elided, however, is the wider existential and experiential horizon of students, amateurs, professionals, and publics that partake in the co-constitution of ideas. IR is no different in this regard, particularly if we eschew the difficult work of tracing the field’s origins in colonial administration to our undergraduate students, normalize the political economy of adjunct and graduate exploitation, or ignore our everyday complicity as members of the US imperium while we wax poetic about the virtues of a humanities education. In this sense, Steele is right when he says, while writing about the marginalization of liberal theorist-turned-critic Tony Smith (2007), that the “status that gives purchase to the academic in their own scholarly community has an inverse quality in the political sphere” (Steele 2010, 52). The less “political” our research the more it seems celebrated; the more engaged with politics it becomes the more we risk being ostracized. The inverse of Steele’s statement is also true; the social and political qualities that we inherit from the world often have the inverse effect when embraced in academia. Our demand for high rates of productivity isolates, rather than socializes, our students. Community is often built through antagonistic competition, rather than the cultivation of mutual intellectual interests. And, administrative and pedagogical dissent is reduced to personal quirks, rather than negotiated to properly reflect the material (and affective) capacities of our epistemic and learning communities. These three points are crucial as I illustrate the possible spaces generated by our personal journeys and how the sites of our education inform the visions our discipline is capable of imparting to future generations. Steele’s comment regarding the inversion of scholarly and political goals is also tied to his broader analysis of the sociological vectors scholars face in speaking truth (parrhesia) to our broader scholarly communities. For Steele, the prospects of parrhesia are most vivid today in the transition of IR from an active to a passive enterprise of scholarly involvement in the political (2010, 59–63). Central to his argument is the rise of neoconservatism in the United States, the overt endorsement or silence of IR scholars in the face of politicizing a national sentiment of mourning and loss around the attacks of September 11, 2001, and the justification of war in the name of spreading democracy. Steele’s analysis asks for reflection on two points: first, the function of academic employment, or lack thereof, as being a primary obstacle to speaking truth to power; and second, the emotional and analytic distance that informs a scholar’s generational vector. In the first point, scholars without the institutional affiliation and support to participate in the seasonal gatherings of the discipline do not have their concerns or stories heard. But does that mean they have no stories? Inversely, the fear of unemployment (an increasingly insidious feature of the corporate university model of high production and low opportunity) puts the onus of being exiled from the discipline on scholars themselves. We self-censor, we self-insulate, and though some scholars find outlets, or even families, of mutual dissent, others keep vitriolic and resentful sentiments within. In critical pedagogy circles, this amounts to the difference between “burning-out” and “burning-in,” where some scholars drop out of the system of higher education, while others lose their sense of purpose in it (Higgins 2010; Beattie 2015). It often seems inconsequential, if not narcissistic, to reflect on the exiled scholar of higher education. Yet professional venues such as the Chronicle of Higher Education and Inside HigherEd have increasingly drawn our attention to some recurring existential concerns: What are a department and university’s scholarly relations built on? How well are graduate programs socializing their students for the challenges of both the academic job market and new tenure-granting metrics? How much is higher education still, if ever, about intellectual growth and maturity? Or, more pertinently, how much of it is about filling a teaching “need” or research trend? It seems unfair to frame the contemporary economic and generational dilemma of academia in purely career-oriented terms; however, the silence regarding so many of the above queries makes the failure to speak out all the more conspicuous. Indeed, the trade-off haunting the present academic generation may be less about relations between our colleagues, but rather which of them will I speak for as they are expelled, for either economic or political reasons. Steele’s (2010) second point regarding generational distance appropriately parallels the possibility of finding courage within this contemporary form of scholarly exile. In comparing the responses (or lack thereof) of both Morgenthau’s (1962) and Smith’s (2007) criticisms of the Vietnam and Iraq wars, Steele brings up the problem of silence as a disciplining factor in both public and scholarly reactions. Key to his analysis is not so much that lack of acknowledgment punishes or teaches some kind of lesson to the parrhesiastic scholar. Rather, Steele’s point is to emphasize the two-pronged effects of silence on theory formation as a form of dissent. Silence, he tells us, “can be a compelling form of discipline,” not least because it is often expressed in the interest and attention a scholarly community grants an argument (2010, 52). Additionally, and here Steele is less explicit, silence is a regulatory tool of “knowing your place.” More specifically, he says, “[regardless] of what is intended by a theorist, we should ask if the construction and ‘rules’ of theory themselves are doing something that would make the theory attractive to those in power” (2010, 61). This is especially salient when theory formation elides the role of self-awareness in the process of “[abetting] those in power with a sense of legitimacy, scientific validity, or authority” (ibid.). For Morgenthau and Smith, this conflict was embodied in their role as leading intellectual figures in the study of global politics, while residing in the heart of American empire. Contemporary IR scholars live in a context that has not changed much since the Vietnam and Iraq Wars, not least in the prevalence of imperialist war making. In terms of what we as a scholarly community do, however, many things have changed, and it is useful here to bring Freire back into the conversation. For Freire, education is first and foremost a “specifically human act of intervening in the world” (1998, 99), yet one with an unequivocal target: When I speak of education as intervention, I refer both to the aspiration for radical changes in society in such areas as economics, human relations, property, the right to employment, to land, to education, and to health, and to the reactionary position whose aim is to immobilize history and maintain an unjust socioeconomic and cultural order. (Freire 2000, 99) Indeed, as Steele goes on, this kind of self-awareness in our actions is “the most difficult of the practices to inhabit as a scholar” (2010, 64). He concludes with a set of alternatives that, while productive, also assume a previous theoretical move. Both the kind of reflexivity that Steele draws attention to, as well as the kinds of scholarly interrogation that he admits would generate greater forms of courage (but at higher personal costs), assume that IR scholars know what kind of “IR self” one embodies. Steele assumes we can know who we are without ever asking and looking at who we share our worlds with and who (by virtue of generational, physical, or emotional distance) we do not share this world with. Such a portrait of reflexivity risks bordering on the self-indulgent, assuming we can know ourselves in the absence of how we look to others. It forgets, again in Merleau-Ponty’s phrasing, that it is always “through other eyes that we become for ourselves fully visible” (1968, 143). It seems at this point that greater discussion on the intentions of scholars and their theories is called for. More specifically, the courage that such intentions demand today in the face of silence, being publicly ostracized, and even denied tenure require a closer look at the way exile pervades our daily lives. There is great potential here for IR scholars to look both within and outside of the discipline for the stories and examples that for centuries have shaped the experience of speaking truth to power. While I have offered a brief sketch of just one such example in the life of Freire, I will add that it is those stories that overlap the most with our own situations that should also be sought out. Steele (2015) has more recently been more vocal about these stories, increasingly referring in his works to the need for “documentary provocation” as a mode of reflexivity. As a kind of inventory of our work, documentary provocation “[holds] scholars responsible to a variety of outcomes linked to their scholarship—outcomes planned, unplanned, seen, and unforeseen” (Steele 2015, 62). That such an approach will generate discomfort among neopositivist scholars is precisely Steele’s intent, an aim that Freire himself would recognize as part of the “ethics of human solidarity” (1998, 116). The present article, then, is part of a similarly situated web of scholarly activities, taking aim at the institutionalized silos that treat the goal of human solidarity as an ancillary concern of proper social science. More specifically, it is a story written in the midst of a broader crisis in the production of knowledge, one tied to public defunding of universities, the use of corporate metrics for intellectual activity, and the individualizing of scholarly work away from politics itself (see Sclofsky and Funk 2017). Although multiple challenges to how highly industrialized societies think, work, and live have emerged as a result of the ongoing global economic crisis, substantive analysis of how higher education is coping (or not) with these material changes remains scant. What the systematic analysis of exile brings to scholarly discussions in these times is a reflexivity that informs the daily encounter with the world, not least in spaces where we have the opportunity to reflect on education, but perhaps only occasionally pursue it. Indeed, much of the romanticism surrounding the current state of academic life forgets that no “golden era” of higher education truly ever existed. Rather, there are more or less extreme rearrangements of public money and institutions in the service of various facets of state power. At some times these facets were about greater public empowerment; at others they have been about militarism, racism, and the bulwarking of global capitalism. What is new today in these institutional dynamics is a defanged public sector open for greater market exploitation than ever before. Our reminiscence of past times may then just be a symptom of a depoliticized present. Conclusion: The Changing Face of IR Scholarship Exile is such a human component of contemporary life that it produces both nostalgia and disenchantment in the larger constellation of the twentieth century. More than this, exile also produces a different temporality that speaks to other ways of recovering the past in light of the theoretical poverty of our language. One of these ways is the narratives about the world we live in and the world to come. Such utopian aspirations, however, must not only be for the future, but also for the past. Our aspirations must attempt to recover the experiences that have been erased by the sanctioned packages of “structural readjustment,” “austerity,” and particularly the ambiguities of career-oriented “credentialism.” Exile demands a reconstruction of who we were and who we are in light of the coming challenges we can see so clearly. Freire is testament to this changing temporality, oscillating between a hope in the power of education to save the individual and the existential angst of questioning our differences as a lesson in plurality. To trace and conceptualize this effort takes searching for a new language. And while today’s scholarship may be poor in new concepts (and perhaps even poorer in capturing the experiences of exile), one is never alone in the perpetual search for a scholarly home. I conclude here with the object of our analysis: exile and courage in the study of international politics. Generations of students restlessly await the originality, creativity, and conviction that so many of us have been taught are crucial for our future of the discipline. IR today does them a great disservice by failing to acknowledge the context and implications of the larger crises of exile shared worldwide. For Freire, courage is only possible as an attitude that replaces—by way of human intervention into our existential and material conditions—the fear and insecurity that are inherent to the activities of learning. This is true within experiences of personal and collective questioning, but even more so in a context of indifference and injustice. As it concerns IR, the last decade has been marked by a simultaneous return and retreat from the question of courage via a turn toward epistemology and the space of “qualitative” analyses. This turn speaks powerfully to Freire’s concern with teaching as being more than “the mechanical repetition of this or that gesture,” but rather “a comprehension of the value of sentiments, emotions, and desires” (1998, 48). There is a risk in these turns of closing the space that generated indignation and, to begin with, the courage to revolt, making the spirit of inquiry a thing to be reproduced objectively, rather than reenacted personally and contextually. If one considers the experiences that inform a scholar’s trajectories, we will often find that both great teachers, but also great struggles, have made the particular moments of an education truly memorable. The spaces that inform educational experiences are always contentious and contested. I think this much should be true of the classroom today, as well as how we conceive of education in our discipline as part of the larger classroom of the world. Sadly, the world we inhabit is one of tragedy and strife, hardship and injustice, and abandonment and exile. I say this not only for IR and study of politics, but also for our personal worlds as thinkers and scholars. The common link here is that both are human worlds; yet in these worlds lie the visions of other worlds long gone and many still to come. Courage, it seems, lies in the acknowledgment of that space of inclusion/exclusion, diligence/capitulation, and indignation/humility that makes waking up a struggle and a privilege. More specifically, if there is anything that the contemporary crisis of academia should do—particularly as it has been experienced in North America—it is to convince us of the need for deeper engagement with the reasons scholars choose their craft and the questions that emerge when they are threatened with dissolution, punishment, indifference, or even exile. The question of exile is a way of articulating an experiential attitude that is rooted not just in physical displacement, but also personal acknowledgment. It ultimately points to an interrogation of context and motive that almost always reveals hidden possibilities. For the sake of our discipline, it may be time IR scholars realize that the place for those opportunities to magnify our virtues and our faults may be right where it always was: inside ourselves and our communities. Footnotes 1 Given the increasing attention to the problem of paradigmatism on the study of IR, works focusing on the trajectories of scholars themselves offer crucial insights on the analytic value of biographical knowledge (see Kruzel and Rosenau 1989 and Jacobi et al. 2011). 2 For example, Carr’s (1964) concern with the relation between utopia and reality in the face of his own disenchantment with liberalism and Morgenthau’s (1962) own “middle-road” approach to navigating the ideological extremes of his time. 3 Recent efforts have attempted to clarify the role that exile played in Carr and Morgenthau’s formative periods. Yet such histories so far single out the problematic nature of exile and its limits on studying international political theorizing, rather than its possibilities (see Frei 2001; Williams 2004, 2005; Nishimura 2011). 4 Although Sznajder and Roniger’s efforts are to be commended—particularly in their reading of exile as “both the result of political processes and a constitutive factor of political systems” (2009, 5)—my aim here is to go beyond the macropolitical effects of exile as an explanatory model to the reflexive elements of exile that contribute to a pedagogical understanding. 5 A single, though poignant, footnote in one IR theorist’s work points to the lamentable effects of this silence. See Neufeld (1995, 161). 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Pedagogies of Freedom: Exile, Courage, and Reflexivity in the Life of Paulo Freire

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Abstract

Abstract This article contributes to calls for a reflexive ethnography of academic life by examining the relationship between exile and courage in the work of Paulo Freire. I turn to Freire’s experience of exile and the role it plays in his critical pedagogy in order to develop a reflexive framework linking scholarly encounters with global politics and different forms of courage. I begin my analysis with a portrait of Freire’s life and work, focusing on the distinct elements in his writing that contribute to what I call an exilic reflexivity. I then turn to Freire’s writing on conscientization, pedagogy, and the role of ideology in higher education to highlight missed opportunities by international relations (IR) scholarship to engage with alternative forms of existential courage. Freire’s approach to education offers IR scholars an opportunity to rethink exile in light of ongoing structural challenges within the political economy of academic life. While Freire was not an IR scholar as such, his work is positioned against similar economic, political, and ideological constraints on contemporary academia, conveying a pedagogy of freedom that remains highly relevant today. Paulo Freire, exile, reflexivity, higher education, critical pedagogy In the title essay of his collection Reflections on Exile, Said (2000, 174) remarks on the political character of exile as a problem “produced by human beings for other human beings.” Though stories of exile have always spoken to a real and metaphorical sense of homelessness, the prevalence of exile today seems to lack any lessons in timeless wisdom. While Said offers some consolation that histories of exile have always given, and may yet continue to give, modern spectators something to ruminate on, the larger problem rests on what he perceives as our inability today to live the lessons that exile once proffered. “Exile,” he concludes, “is never the state of being satisfied, placid, or secure. Exile … is ‘a mind of winter’ in which the pathos of summer and autumn as much as the potential of spring are nearby but unobtainable” (Said 2000, 186). In the following pages, I argue that implicit in the weathered experience of exile is a relationship between a thinker and his context that points toward the possibility of learning tragic, yet empowering lessons. I seek to offer here a broader grounding for the concept of exile and how its lived experiences in the scholarly realm can offer insights regarding courage and scholarly reflexivity in the contemporary academy. A recent wave of work on the role of narrativity and storytelling in international relations (IR) has begun this difficult reconstruction of exile and its place in international theorizing (see Inayatullah 2011; Dauphinee 2013; Solomon 2014; Beattie 2015). Following these readings, I intend to link the experiential character of exile to forms of courage that emerge in one thinker’s encounter with political change. To do so, my analysis turns to the life of Paulo Freire as a contemporary example embodying the courage to risk exile and to use it as a staging ground for critical thought. Though Freire’s own displacement was a product of his social and political activism at the frontlines of Cold War politics, his approach to education acts as a pedagogy of freedom that offers IR scholars an opportunity to rethink exile in light of contemporary academic challenges. By exploring Freire’s resilience throughout multiple international encounters—global literacy campaigns, challenges to leftist authoritarianism, and the worldwide corporatization of higher education—I also use these experiences as an opportunity to speculate on IR scholarship’s noticeable silence on Freire’s endeavors. The silence on Freire—as well as on the mechanisms of domination he found central to perpetuating what he termed as the “culture of silence” (2000, 71–86)—leads me to position the intellectual-in-exile as one that cultivates a mode of questioning essential to living and thinking in the midst of crisis. Freire’s lessons on education and pedagogy may not fit the paradigmatic mold of conventional approaches to the study of global politics. However, they do offer a tactical response aimed at unpacking how the study of world politics is constituted and reproduced in everyday spaces wrapped up in those same politics (see de Certeau 1984; Caraccioli 2011). In particular, I look to Freire’s concern with the ideological nature of all education as being a central dilemma of contemporary IR scholarship. The embodied character of Freire’s pedagogy of freedom, I maintain, serves to acknowledge the often silent (though no less polemical) elitism facing scholars within the neoliberal university today. IR scholars can thus specifically draw from Freire the questioning attitude at the heart of all of exiles: a reflexive attitude at once indebted to, and positioned against, the arbitrary exercise of political power. I conclude the article by looking at the implications of Freire’s critical pedagogy on the problem of courage in the scholar’s negotiations with the ivory tower. While IR scholars today have recently taken up reflexivity and parrhesia (i.e., frank speech, truth telling) as acts to be employed with both courage and caution, many of these efforts continue to treat central analytic features of exile as either internal or external phenomena, where courage acts as a kind of internal response on the part of one who is exiled (Oren 2006; Steele 2010). Building on the work of scholars employing the concept of reflexivity, I instead position exile as a coextensive feature of the courage and reflexivity that shape the life of international scholars at three levels: personal journeys, higher education training, and the visions scholars impart through teaching. By engaging with exile as an inherent feature of IR theorizing, I see the challenge facing contemporary IR scholars as how to understand exile as both a theory and practice of human freedom, a path modeled by Freire that counters the notion of education as a form of domination. My intentions are therefore not to diminish the everyday courage and relevance that refugees and other exiles face on a daily basis. Rather, my concern is with the ways that IR scholars adopt the question of exile as an exhortation for courage in the struggles of scholarly work. In this sense, the article acts as a political ethnography of exile, a reflexive inventory of the discipline’s attitude toward what is in effect more than just an empirical problem (see Wedeen 2009). In brief, there is a kind of exile that pervades the academy, especially vivid in the marginalization of reflexive scholarship, which I find IR scholarship ill-equipped to talk about. Yet as Freire describes it, exile is a problem that “touches you existentially. It envelops you as a being. It shakes you up physically and mentally … magnifies your virtues and your faults. And this is what exile did to me [Freire]” (1985, 181). To describe the spaces of exile—both as practical endeavor in reshaping one’s life, but also as a means of speaking truth to power—requires a form of courage that emerges from uncertainty and loss, elements highly undertheorized in IR. The distinction between “exile as a feature” of politics and “exile as constitutive” of a critical disposition is crucial here because it highlights key opportunities for IR scholars to develop and employ new forms of political courage from a world that many of us often claim to want to save, but just as often use to save ourselves (see Patterson 2000; Mignolo 2002; Drainville 2003; Tickner 2006). As I will argue below, one pertinent way in which IR as a discipline may benefit from an experiential analysis of exile is through the grounding of contemporary pedagogical debates within the space of professionalization. Reflexivity in our professional biographies has an explicitly intersubjective component, shifting the “global knowledge” ethos of the discipline toward the “local knowledge” of everyday circumstances. By acknowledging the role of lived experiences in education and teaching, IR scholars may convey, in Löwenheim’s words, “the humanity and intrinsic worth and distinctiveness of other individuals” (2010, 1028).1 In this spirit, IR scholars can develop more communal attempts—both within and outside of the field—to rethink and theorize courage in today’s academic landscape. The Intellectual-in-Exile: A Critical Portrait of Paulo Freire Few disciplines perhaps have been as richly influenced by political exiles as IR. Both classical and contemporary schools of thought can trace their lineage to the experience of expulsion or escape, or as a result of the contradictions generated by capitalism and communism alike. Yet why have IR scholars neglected to take up the question of exile and what it can teach us about studying global politics? While there are predecessors in the history of IR that help convey the co-constitutive relation between the concept and experience of exile,2 IR scholarship today seems to miss the importance of exile as a mode of self- and collective critique.3 In the following section, I turn to the life and work of Freire as a response to efforts to theorize exile’s role as a courageous and reflexive facet of challenging political power. While Freire’s life and work were highly impacted by the experience of exile, his deeds and methods were far removed from the image of the exile as being “homeless” (Said 2000), or exile as some kind of causal mechanism for changing societies (Sznajder and Roniger 2009).4 Rather than viewing his sojourn as a source of alienation, Freire conceptualizes exile as an opportunity to be both free and “at home” in the broader world. Within the broader history of Latin American exiles, his experience offers timely lessons for an allegedly timeless problem. To begin, what does Freire’s trajectory look like? A small set of highlights should help frame the present discussion. Born into a middleclass family, Freire grew up in almost abject poverty after his father died in the middle of the Great Depression. His first encounters with education were less than encouraging, but by his own account, these helped to frame the great challenge of educating the forgotten masses of the world. “Thought and study alone did not produce” his studies and texts, he notes in one of the prefaces to Pedagogy of the Oppressed; rather, these are “rooted in concrete situations and … the reactions of laborers (peasant or urban) and of middle-class persons whom I have observed directly or indirectly during the course of my educative work” (Freire 2000, 37). That direct engagement would be central to Freire’s own sense of learning and discovery, as well as how he would implement these in practice. First a lawyer and later an educator by training, Freire was influenced by a cocktail of intellectual currents ranging from Marxism to phenomenology and liberation theology, among others (see Rivera 2004). His early pedagogical and activist work with the peasant communities of the Brazilian Northeast, as an official of Pernambuco state, focused on developing a dialogical pedagogy that emphasized local history and human freedom as understood in the locals’ own terms. He observed how “labor in the fields, meetings of a local association (noting the behavior of the participants, the language used, and the relations between the officers and the members), the role played by women and by young people, leisure hours, games and sports, conversations with people in their homes (noting examples of husband-wife and parent-child relationships)” all formed part of the spectrum under which adult education teams, for example, should observe the “life of an area” (Freire 2000, 111–12). It quickly becomes evident how these strategies put Freire in the left wing of the Brazilian ideological spectrum, often raising accusations of attempts to deploy Cuban-inspired efforts at fomenting populist revolution, not educational reform. In the lead-up to the 1964 US-backed coup against the democratic government of João Goulart, the provocatively political and nationalist illustrations that Freire developed for teaching peasants to read—including images of daily toils and struggles, of civic participation and voting, of collective solidarity and support—were singled out by both right-wing propaganda groups, as well as US government officials responsible for dispersing USAID funds, as “disseminating anti-US or Marxist doctrine in adult education programs” (Kirkendall 2010, 51). His exposure to the region’s poverty and the lack of alternatives available to its peoples (e.g., literacy was a voting requirement in Brazil) led Freire to enact education projects dedicated to bring the working classes closer to understanding their own context and situations. In his book Pedagogy of Hope, for instance, Freire (1994) emphasized how important visual and popular media in particular could be when used to convey a person’s positionality within his broader society: Never does an event, a fact, a deed, a gesture of rage or love, a poem, a painting, a song, a book, have one reason behind it. In fact a deep gesture, a poem, a painting, a song, a book are always wrapped in thick wrappers. They have been touched by manifold whys. Only some of these are close enough to the event or the creation to be visible as whys. And so I have always been more interested in understanding the process in and by which things come about than in the product itself. (Freire 1994, 10) For Freire, these moments of discovery were critical tools for the educator to use in empowering their students through self-conscious acts of contextualization. That these tactics linked Brazilian struggles against underdevelopment with the broader global struggles of decolonization through education did not seem to be explicitly Freire’s doing. Rather, it was perhaps the recognition from his contemporaries of the larger global context in which underdevelopment and colonial domination operated. In an increasingly tense climate of revolution and dictatorship, Freire was arrested as a traitor in 1964 and later forced into exile for approximately sixteen years. An ironic side effect of Freire’s exile was the worldwide impact of his methods stretching across the Western Hemisphere and into the African and Middle Eastern contexts (Gadotti 1994, 35–48). Freire traveled in the late 1960s to Bolivia and Chile, where he first put his methods to international scrutiny through his work with the United Nations (UN) Food and Agricultural Organization. Between 1967 and 1968, he published two key texts, Education as the Practice of Freedom (1967) and Pedagogy of the Oppressed (1968), of which the latter would push his name to international renown. Both these texts focused on the transformation of society through popular education and in particular the role of literacy in civic participation. The experience in Chile made Freire’s name known across Latin America, particularly since his efforts were the hallmarks of both radical efforts at empowering the powerless, as well as burgeoning land reform programs enacted by the ruling Christian Democrat Party. These experiences also helped to frame a wide field of differences for Freire, as he became increasingly concerned with the question of national culture and how concepts, ideas, and values traveled between nations. After being invited to a visiting professorship position at Harvard in 1969, Freire spent the following decade working as a special education advisor with the World Council of Churches on its literacy campaigns in Guinea-Bissau and Mozambique. It was in his experience in Africa that we find one of Freire’s most interesting contradictions, as seen in his optimism regarding a one-party state’s abilities to enact a national literacy campaign and the subsequent inadequacy of the literacy program enacted there. Freire’s own role in the failure of the Guinea-Bissau and Mozambique projects can be tied to a misperception on his part of the political consciousness of the Guinean peasantry and the commitment of a militaristic state to a democratic endeavor (Freire 1978). As Freire recognized, these failures would have a profound effect on his earlier assumptions about a certain existential universalism informing political and educational endeavors. Freire returned to Brazil in 1979 and subsequently joined the Partido dos Trabalhadores (Worker’s Party of Brazil), enacting dozens of adult literacy campaigns in the city of Sao Paulo, while continuing to advise multiple educational efforts in Nicaragua and inner-city schools in the United States. Noteworthy across Freire’s development as a pedagogical and international thinker was his focus on the experience of the poor. In his Pedagogy of the Oppressed, for example, Freire traced the notorious problem of the “banking notion of education” to two elements: the prevalence of the liberal notion of the individual as a tabula rasa and the central role a dialectical sense of history played in individual and collective liberation (2000, 71–86). His last statement on this issue came in a series of lecture notes compiled for a seminar on liberation pedagogy at the Harvard Graduate School of Education in the late 1990s. Freire died in May 1997 before the course could begin, but his lecture notes were published in 1998 under the title Pedagogy of Freedom. In this course, Freire frames the core of his life’s trajectory and pedagogical concerns in a characteristically unconventional fashion, channeling the spirit of multiple critical (and future) observations on the corporatization of the university, while remaining an unrepentant humanist: I cannot avoid a permanently critical attitude towards what I consider to be the source of neoliberalism, with its cynical fatalism and its inflexible negation of the right to dream differently, to dream of utopia. My abhorrence of neoliberalism helps to explain my legitimate anger when I speak of the injustices to which the ragpickers among humanity are condemned. It also explains my total lack of interest in any pretension of impartiality. I am not impartial or objective, not a fixed observer of facts and happenings. I never was able to be an adherent of the traits that falsely claim impartiality or objectivity. That did not prevent me, however, from holding always a rigorously ethical position. Whoever really observes, does so from a given point of view. (Freire 1998, 22) By Freire’s account, many of the positivist assumptions and “pretensions of impartiality” about the nature of knowledge do great violence to human experience. If there is at least one thing that exile taught him in this regard, it is that life is fluid and impermanent; our insights and concepts are not those of a “fixed observer,” but rather always “from a given point of view.” Freire himself traces this critical disposition directly to what exile taught him: first, that exile is never “peaceful”; second, that “nobody goes into exile by choice”; and lastly, that while in exile he realized his true interest in learning, as an opportunity to “each day be open to the world, be ready to think; each day be ready not to accept what is said just because it is said, be predisposed to reread what is read; each day investigate, question, and doubt” (1985, 181). While tempting for those who are critical of his approach to see Freire as too much a product of his time—a remnant of the post–Cuban Revolution radicalism that informed the 1960s and 1970s—such a critique may be more the result of the tenacity of a neoliberal individualist ideology than any concrete theoretical or pedagogical critique of Freire’s method. Freire is quite upfront about how his experience affected his role as a teacher, scholar, and participant in the dynamics of international politics. The very act of teaching, for Freire, is part of the human individual’s experiential relation to the world around them, and the space where both “teacher” and “student” learn embodies a process of self-discovery and engagement with that which is different. Harding, among other prominent feminist theorists and historians of science, has echoed these same sentiments concerning the hegemony of objectivity over the lived experiences of academic production, person-to-person relations, and human-nonhuman encounters. “The problem with the conventional conception of objectivity is not that it is too rigorous or too ‘objectifying,’” she argues, “but that it is not rigorous or objectifying enough; it is too weak to accomplish even the goals for which it has been designed, let alone the more difficult projects called for by feminisms and other new social movements” (Harding 1993, 50–51). Harding and Freire both propose that conventional notions of science, learning, education, and theoretical thought fail to account for the great resource that reflexivity—as a critical form of subject positionality—has become. Reflexivity reminds scholars that “[observers] do change the world that they observe” (Harding 1993, 73); how else is the conviction of one’s beliefs about the world put into action? The intersubjective and context-bound nature of teaching is thus for Freire an act that “cannot be reduced to a superficial or externalized contact with the object or its content but extends to the production of the conditions on which critical learning is possible” (1998, 33). The development of Freire’s life can be read along similar lines, where the transformations and transitions he embodied formed part of a broader array of changes and challenges faced by an entire generation of Latin American exiles (see Dorfman 2011). Freire’s life illustrates both the journey and return from exile, offering a vivid description of the tensions between experiences and future endeavors, as well as how these can critically shape one’s path—an exilic reflexivity. None of this suggests that one could not criticize Freire’s efforts or the meaning of his work for understanding exile. In fact, he saw such a confrontation as a necessary element of what he termed human “unfinishedness” and the responsibility of any teacher to encourage the search for the “support networks” of human life (1998, 51–54). As mentioned above, Freire himself acknowledges the threat of ahistorical reasoning and the alleged “end of history” as products of the creeping prevalence of neoliberal ideologies. The challenge here is to retain the ability to generate forms of history whose champions are people themselves. The objectives of a critical pedagogy therefore lie in the attempt to establish a kind of conscientization of both the environment in which teaching and learning take place (geographically, historically, and intersubjectively) and who scholars are as intellectuals, teachers, and ultimately political agents. Learning from Freire: The Conscientization of International Relations The notion of conscientization has often raised several alarms among scholars, particularly through its paternalistic connotations of enlightened individuals reaching down to unenlightened masses. It is often presented as a kind of universalism that is guilty of not giving enough attention to historical specificities and possibilities for difference and interaction. Rightfully, the concept needs to be interrogated for its ambiguous theoretical underpinnings. This lack, however, should not dissuade scholars and theorists from taking Freire’s challenge of acknowledging the unfinished nature of human life and that critical scholarly work must always be embodied in the struggles of communicating, teaching, and learning from our communities (see Glass 2001). Conscientization therefore continues to play an important role today as a dialogical challenge to the growing corporate elitism of higher education. The myth behind the objectivity of teaching and research falls flat, according to Freire, once we acknowledge the hidden relationship between past and future that neoliberal institutions embody, the experiences such institutions privilege, and the kinds of scholarship deemed worthwhile within them. To ignore the extent to which the university today is becoming a neoliberal institution is to ignore the challenge faced by entire throngs of junior and budding scholars alike. That the “death of tenure” has become a mandatory theme in graduate seminar discussions on the political economy or future of the academy is no mere exercise in curiosity. Often, the tension and anxiety generated by such discussions assume the theory-practice divide with alarming alacrity, prompting a necessary discussion on the contemporary role of courage. More specifically, one of the reasons why present economic and institutional changes in the professorate are so alarming rests on the absence of discussions pertaining to notions of dignity, relevance, and commitment within academic work (see Schmidt 2001; Deresiewicz 2011; Caraccioli and Hozic 2015). Freire highlighted such tensions and in the process made, but also lost, many friends. To be clear, the critique of the ideological nature of education is itself an ideological statement. Yet Freire never denied that, often noting how “for this reason … I, as a teacher, ought to be aware of the power of ideological discourse, beginning with discourse that proclaims the death of all ideologies” (1998, 117). In this regard, Freire’s borrowings from Marxism and existentialism display his ability to draw insights from dominant and counter-hegemonic narratives, while still resist their fatalistic excesses. Such grand narratives have been central to mediating change within society (and the academy) for much of modern history. Renewed calls for “living wages” or “niceness” are equally part of this trend. And while Freire never shied away from acknowledging this reality, the silence among IR scholars on his concrete global contributions, as well as his philosophical insights on the profession, become all the more salient.5 Within IR, what we find in many of the unquestioned ideologies of globalization is nothing more than the extension of the neoliberal and modernization projects Freire was fighting against in the Cold War: ideologies that reproduce a corporate structure of competition into the classrooms and landscape of social life. Even self-proclaimed “critical” approaches have become increasingly characterized by their reliance on Western rationalities and a mastery of self-preservation in the social world (see Odysseos 2007; Odysseos and Pal 2017). From the textbooks, schools of thought, and case studies used in the classroom environment, there is a peculiar elitism to the study of IR that allows intellectuals and politicians alike to disconnect their thought from the broader experiences of everyday life that makes the international possible. As Freire’s notion of conscientization highlights, education requires a critical awareness of history and the obstacles that intervene to make pedagogy an intersubjective task, demanding from scholars the recognition of how our environment shapes (and is shaped by) the international realm. Such an act of recognition not only demands that we rethink pedagogic practices, but that we rethink them in the context of a broader assessment of everyday patterns of capitalist consumption, the standardized modes of accounting for scholarly productivity, and the analytic character of the exile’s experience. Although the commodification of education may be quite a self-evident observation to the scholar who is well-positioned within the widening hierarchy of higher education, the dispossession and resentment of students and scholars alike is experienced quite differently across the spectrum. Indeed, the exilic reflexivity that Freire conveys shows how the largest threat of the contemporary capitalization of higher education is not the creative destruction of old rituals nor the proliferation of new subjectivities of the student as a consumer. Rather, the most scandalous dimension of such transformations is that scholarly conceptions of “diversity” and “excellence” may actually benefit from such developments. As I will develop in the following section of this article, a reflexive and experiential engagement with this question begins with a much more radical turn than that found in contemporary (even critical) IR approaches. Indeed, there is a powerfully intersubjective dimension to exile that makes its character as both a metaphor and experience central to the academic profession as a community. Recognizing the presence of another person as being somewhere else from our point of view, as inhabiting a particular place already there prior to our arrival, and not just merely “inside” or “outside” of my reach, is in part the ground on which an epistemic transformation can occur. The everyday interaction with people in spaces and places different from our own help illuminate the different styles and modalities through which human life is experienced. This dissonance between “inside” and “outside,” as Walker (1993) long ago pointed out, continues to plague IR theorizing. Yet this is not a result of territorial states, the relative merits of one approach over the other, or the evolutionary narratives shaping interparadigm warfare. Rather, as Walker concludes, it is about the fact that for “all its ambition to explain the world,” contemporary IR “remains intensely parochial, and not just because it has been developed primarily in relation to the interests of hegemonic states” (1993, 180). Freire’s thoughts here are doubly useful; on the one hand, his intellectual program parallels that of the phenomenological tradition, itself a geographically contested tradition (see Caraccioli 2015). Particularly key for Freire is the way in which the seemingly mundane and “normal” encounters carry the weight and sedimentation of myriad histories. As the philosopher Merleau-Ponty put it before Freire, “what is acquired is truly acquired only if it is taken up again in a fresh momentum of thought” (1962, 113). For Merleau-Ponty, as for Freire, consciousness “[provides] itself with one or several worlds, to bring into being its own thoughts before itself, as if they were things … [demonstrating] its vitality indivisibly by outlining these landscapes for itself and then by abandoning them” (1962, 114). Rethinking the role of perception is therefore central in the development of a critical consciousness, one that recognizes and challenges the extent to which only ideas or abstracted rationalities pervade our identity. Yet on the other hand, Freire also employs in his writings insights grounded within the context of his own history, Latin American history, resembling a conversation through which “the subjects in dialogue learn and grow by confronting their difference” (1998, 59). As seen in his reflections from Guinea-Bissau and Mozambique, he questions his own actions, judgments, and preconceptions as an exhortation for scholars and teachers to acknowledge their participation in a shared, though certainly contested, world of interpenetrations. The goal is not merely to be critical about actions, ideas, and emotions; rather, more positively (and more inclusive of the possibility of learning from others’ differences), the everyday workings of a given culture must form part of a tapestry of meanings often elided from scholarly visions, but just as constitutive—“they involve our whole lives, our cultures, the distinctive features that distinguish man from other animals” (Freire 1985, 182). In Freire’s work, culture “extends history to the praxis of people,” and thus the more one experiences and learns from the everyday lives of the world around them “the more they help [one] keep in touch with [one]self, while learning and reflecting” (1985, 182). It is important to point out here that Freire’s method implies more than sitting down with our feelings, forcing ourselves to acknowledge a bigger world. He is concerned with employing an analectical method (see Dussel 1985, 158–59) where the space of encounter (whether anecdotal or directly experienced) is reconstituted through an explicit denunciation of the structures of privilege and power that marginalize the poor and disenfranchised. The absence and presence of others—especially the conquered and dominated, who through Freire’s method can be in effect empowered to achieve their own liberation—are acknowledged as constitutive of the power relation and not a mere passive object of consumption. Freire’s experiences as a national educator in the poorest towns of Northeast Brazil portray the force, fragility, and implications of these kinds of dialogue with great clarity. The posture of conviction and openness that motivated his efforts was further coalesced through his exile and transformation into an international educator in both the developing world and the United States. His experience of exile became an attempt to interrogate the ways spaces, homes, and sites are thought of particularly as having an impact on one’s thoughts and actions. While a much broader reflection on the relation between space, place, and perception would be useful here, suffice it for now to suggest that, for Freire, these elements play central roles in the construction of human identity, especially in the scholar’s response to the oppression of state-sanctioned international violence and the cultural transformations that have shaped global politics. Where then does Freire leave us on the question of exile? I point here to the possibility of reenvisioning exile as a mode of questioning that is rooted in two realms: first, that of the existential, as it seeks not only to see the spatiality and experience of human displacement, but also to discover its intersubjective character; and second, that of the temporal, as that mode of questioning and probing that allows for intellectual queries to provoke further questions, attempting to clarify alternate visions and dimensions of reality. The exile is perpetually in search of ways through which to create and engage places-to-be—spaces that allow them to live, to express ideas, and to exchange agency in their given environments. However, the parallels with how teachers and students may be shaped by their shared encounters, particularly within an international environment, are not self-evident. To interpret human relations from an experiential lens may provide alternative forms of expression that resist conceptual or political domination, but they are always constructed in dialogue with others, never solely in isolation, and rarely at a distance. Thus, the revolutionary character of Freire’s thought lies in coming back from exile right into the very heart of an institution’s oppressive ideologies. That return need not be as a drastic as Freire’s exile, but can be mirrored in our ongoing return to the shared spaces of the classroom and scholarly communities. A common feature of contemporary undergraduate education, for example, remains the naturalization of phenomena such as competition, financial austerity, and ethnocentrism (i.e., “Western” civilization) through the inductive mechanism of the natural sciences. While the lack of a consensus over the discipline’s epistemology has led to vibrant debate in both graduate and professional settings, “practical” concerns in the changing structure of undergraduate education leave no room for such questioning and remain the norm. Most common remains the conception of education (and teaching) as an act of consumption and of services rendered, where the standardization of facts, methods, and data are directed toward the diffusion of a university’s (or a state’s) political and corporate interests. By privileging a corporate conception of the role of education in both national and international life—one that sees education as part of a banking system of “authoritative” forms of knowledge—the space for dialogue and exchange that lies at the heart of learning is reduced to the reproduction of preconceived ideologies. I would suggest here, however, that Freire’s intervention into the world of international politics puts IR scholars at a disadvantage. His preferential option for the poor is not merely a pedagogical exhortation, but rather a structural challenge that he asks of all self-proclaimed teachers to take up, weigh, and choose for themselves. In this sense, Freire is both an activist scholar as well as a prophetic thinker, offering a challenge for scholars in the stark terms of the liberation of the oppressed, but also the alleged salvation and possibility of a certain kind of civilization. Indeed, the canonization of Freire as a figure to be emulated has been the subject of several criticisms regarding Freire’s legacy and whether his approach is truly as universal as he often claimed. Kirkendall (2010), for example, suggests that similar to the corporate models they were struggling against, the Latin American Left, as personified by Freire, had its own illusions, its own impatience, and its own inability to stay true to its democratic beliefs … Freire’s historical experiences suggest that he should have embraced political pluralism more readily and more consistently, but the Left’s disdain for “bourgeois democracy” and enthusiasm for the one-party state were slow to wane. (2010, 167) Additionally, as it concerns the transformation of the everyday into a “teachable moment,” Torres points out that “there is a tendency in Freire to overturn everyday situations so that they become pedagogical … While his initial point of reference might be nonformal, the educational encounters he explores remain formal” and thus, in a sense, work against the notion of dialogue (1993, 127). While these criticisms reveal important gaps in Freirean scholarship, their intention, as Freire often admitted in later years, reveals the importance of challenging educators to take up their own methods to social and political liberation. The point here is not to criticize Freire’s person, deeds, or methods (though these points have their own advocates, such as Facundo [1984] and Ohliger [1995]); rather, I would like to pose here the problem of how we transform the everyday, especially concerning IR, into a critical pedagogical encounter. What “teachable moments” do we privilege in our discipline? What limitations do we draw for ourselves in negotiating the changing structures of the academy? And finally, in regards to Freire himself, why should we turn to such a paradoxical figure in clarifying our understanding of reflexivity and courage? Such questions lead to my claim that the IR scholar today faces a kind of existential exile with similar implications for our political and international life. In the section that follows, I address where such an exile comes from. The Inversion of Exile: Coming Home in a Place-Less World In asking what exile teaches us about IR, we should also ask what IR teaches us about coming home. In his classic book, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Campbell suggests that “the place of the hero’s birth, or the remote land of exile from which he returns to perform his adult deeds among men, is the mid-point or navel of the world” (1949, 334). Campbell’s work was an attempt to situate the broader facets of myth and history within a world that was politically and ideologically unravelling. More specifically, in Campbell’s work we find a broader engagement with the functions of myth in modern society: how the hero today, beyond the conscious effort to face the things that are unjust, is always already an exile. For she who is banished, Campbell tells us, “exile is the first step of the quest,” where individuals take within themselves their communities, their practices, their values toward other lands, realities, and ways of being; exile “brings the hero to the Self in all” (1949, 385–86). But if exile is to be understood as a form of banishment from what one thinks of as home, any return could only ever be a deficient one. To “come back,” even under laudatory circumstances, is an act fundamentally imbued with both a sense of loss, as well as opportunity. Is such a return possible in today’s world of corporate education? Do we need more heroes today in the academy? Why yearn for them, if not as a projection of our desire to save the world, or save ourselves? Throughout this article, I have emphasized the pedagogical exchange that takes place in the experience of exile and how a kind of exilic reflexivity may emerge from such moments. While exile generates lessons that emphasize the changing character of politics and education, it also represents the banishment of dissent. For example, rather than acknowledging “science” as part of a long process of pedagogical and intellectual transformation, scholars today continue to battle over one ready-made version of “science” (e.g., positivist, critical, or pluralist) with often disturbing animosity against demonized others. No doubt the material and political character of the “science wars” is important. What is often missed or elided, however, is the wider existential and experiential horizon of students, amateurs, professionals, and publics that partake in the co-constitution of ideas. IR is no different in this regard, particularly if we eschew the difficult work of tracing the field’s origins in colonial administration to our undergraduate students, normalize the political economy of adjunct and graduate exploitation, or ignore our everyday complicity as members of the US imperium while we wax poetic about the virtues of a humanities education. In this sense, Steele is right when he says, while writing about the marginalization of liberal theorist-turned-critic Tony Smith (2007), that the “status that gives purchase to the academic in their own scholarly community has an inverse quality in the political sphere” (Steele 2010, 52). The less “political” our research the more it seems celebrated; the more engaged with politics it becomes the more we risk being ostracized. The inverse of Steele’s statement is also true; the social and political qualities that we inherit from the world often have the inverse effect when embraced in academia. Our demand for high rates of productivity isolates, rather than socializes, our students. Community is often built through antagonistic competition, rather than the cultivation of mutual intellectual interests. And, administrative and pedagogical dissent is reduced to personal quirks, rather than negotiated to properly reflect the material (and affective) capacities of our epistemic and learning communities. These three points are crucial as I illustrate the possible spaces generated by our personal journeys and how the sites of our education inform the visions our discipline is capable of imparting to future generations. Steele’s comment regarding the inversion of scholarly and political goals is also tied to his broader analysis of the sociological vectors scholars face in speaking truth (parrhesia) to our broader scholarly communities. For Steele, the prospects of parrhesia are most vivid today in the transition of IR from an active to a passive enterprise of scholarly involvement in the political (2010, 59–63). Central to his argument is the rise of neoconservatism in the United States, the overt endorsement or silence of IR scholars in the face of politicizing a national sentiment of mourning and loss around the attacks of September 11, 2001, and the justification of war in the name of spreading democracy. Steele’s analysis asks for reflection on two points: first, the function of academic employment, or lack thereof, as being a primary obstacle to speaking truth to power; and second, the emotional and analytic distance that informs a scholar’s generational vector. In the first point, scholars without the institutional affiliation and support to participate in the seasonal gatherings of the discipline do not have their concerns or stories heard. But does that mean they have no stories? Inversely, the fear of unemployment (an increasingly insidious feature of the corporate university model of high production and low opportunity) puts the onus of being exiled from the discipline on scholars themselves. We self-censor, we self-insulate, and though some scholars find outlets, or even families, of mutual dissent, others keep vitriolic and resentful sentiments within. In critical pedagogy circles, this amounts to the difference between “burning-out” and “burning-in,” where some scholars drop out of the system of higher education, while others lose their sense of purpose in it (Higgins 2010; Beattie 2015). It often seems inconsequential, if not narcissistic, to reflect on the exiled scholar of higher education. Yet professional venues such as the Chronicle of Higher Education and Inside HigherEd have increasingly drawn our attention to some recurring existential concerns: What are a department and university’s scholarly relations built on? How well are graduate programs socializing their students for the challenges of both the academic job market and new tenure-granting metrics? How much is higher education still, if ever, about intellectual growth and maturity? Or, more pertinently, how much of it is about filling a teaching “need” or research trend? It seems unfair to frame the contemporary economic and generational dilemma of academia in purely career-oriented terms; however, the silence regarding so many of the above queries makes the failure to speak out all the more conspicuous. Indeed, the trade-off haunting the present academic generation may be less about relations between our colleagues, but rather which of them will I speak for as they are expelled, for either economic or political reasons. Steele’s (2010) second point regarding generational distance appropriately parallels the possibility of finding courage within this contemporary form of scholarly exile. In comparing the responses (or lack thereof) of both Morgenthau’s (1962) and Smith’s (2007) criticisms of the Vietnam and Iraq wars, Steele brings up the problem of silence as a disciplining factor in both public and scholarly reactions. Key to his analysis is not so much that lack of acknowledgment punishes or teaches some kind of lesson to the parrhesiastic scholar. Rather, Steele’s point is to emphasize the two-pronged effects of silence on theory formation as a form of dissent. Silence, he tells us, “can be a compelling form of discipline,” not least because it is often expressed in the interest and attention a scholarly community grants an argument (2010, 52). Additionally, and here Steele is less explicit, silence is a regulatory tool of “knowing your place.” More specifically, he says, “[regardless] of what is intended by a theorist, we should ask if the construction and ‘rules’ of theory themselves are doing something that would make the theory attractive to those in power” (2010, 61). This is especially salient when theory formation elides the role of self-awareness in the process of “[abetting] those in power with a sense of legitimacy, scientific validity, or authority” (ibid.). For Morgenthau and Smith, this conflict was embodied in their role as leading intellectual figures in the study of global politics, while residing in the heart of American empire. Contemporary IR scholars live in a context that has not changed much since the Vietnam and Iraq Wars, not least in the prevalence of imperialist war making. In terms of what we as a scholarly community do, however, many things have changed, and it is useful here to bring Freire back into the conversation. For Freire, education is first and foremost a “specifically human act of intervening in the world” (1998, 99), yet one with an unequivocal target: When I speak of education as intervention, I refer both to the aspiration for radical changes in society in such areas as economics, human relations, property, the right to employment, to land, to education, and to health, and to the reactionary position whose aim is to immobilize history and maintain an unjust socioeconomic and cultural order. (Freire 2000, 99) Indeed, as Steele goes on, this kind of self-awareness in our actions is “the most difficult of the practices to inhabit as a scholar” (2010, 64). He concludes with a set of alternatives that, while productive, also assume a previous theoretical move. Both the kind of reflexivity that Steele draws attention to, as well as the kinds of scholarly interrogation that he admits would generate greater forms of courage (but at higher personal costs), assume that IR scholars know what kind of “IR self” one embodies. Steele assumes we can know who we are without ever asking and looking at who we share our worlds with and who (by virtue of generational, physical, or emotional distance) we do not share this world with. Such a portrait of reflexivity risks bordering on the self-indulgent, assuming we can know ourselves in the absence of how we look to others. It forgets, again in Merleau-Ponty’s phrasing, that it is always “through other eyes that we become for ourselves fully visible” (1968, 143). It seems at this point that greater discussion on the intentions of scholars and their theories is called for. More specifically, the courage that such intentions demand today in the face of silence, being publicly ostracized, and even denied tenure require a closer look at the way exile pervades our daily lives. There is great potential here for IR scholars to look both within and outside of the discipline for the stories and examples that for centuries have shaped the experience of speaking truth to power. While I have offered a brief sketch of just one such example in the life of Freire, I will add that it is those stories that overlap the most with our own situations that should also be sought out. Steele (2015) has more recently been more vocal about these stories, increasingly referring in his works to the need for “documentary provocation” as a mode of reflexivity. As a kind of inventory of our work, documentary provocation “[holds] scholars responsible to a variety of outcomes linked to their scholarship—outcomes planned, unplanned, seen, and unforeseen” (Steele 2015, 62). That such an approach will generate discomfort among neopositivist scholars is precisely Steele’s intent, an aim that Freire himself would recognize as part of the “ethics of human solidarity” (1998, 116). The present article, then, is part of a similarly situated web of scholarly activities, taking aim at the institutionalized silos that treat the goal of human solidarity as an ancillary concern of proper social science. More specifically, it is a story written in the midst of a broader crisis in the production of knowledge, one tied to public defunding of universities, the use of corporate metrics for intellectual activity, and the individualizing of scholarly work away from politics itself (see Sclofsky and Funk 2017). Although multiple challenges to how highly industrialized societies think, work, and live have emerged as a result of the ongoing global economic crisis, substantive analysis of how higher education is coping (or not) with these material changes remains scant. What the systematic analysis of exile brings to scholarly discussions in these times is a reflexivity that informs the daily encounter with the world, not least in spaces where we have the opportunity to reflect on education, but perhaps only occasionally pursue it. Indeed, much of the romanticism surrounding the current state of academic life forgets that no “golden era” of higher education truly ever existed. Rather, there are more or less extreme rearrangements of public money and institutions in the service of various facets of state power. At some times these facets were about greater public empowerment; at others they have been about militarism, racism, and the bulwarking of global capitalism. What is new today in these institutional dynamics is a defanged public sector open for greater market exploitation than ever before. Our reminiscence of past times may then just be a symptom of a depoliticized present. Conclusion: The Changing Face of IR Scholarship Exile is such a human component of contemporary life that it produces both nostalgia and disenchantment in the larger constellation of the twentieth century. More than this, exile also produces a different temporality that speaks to other ways of recovering the past in light of the theoretical poverty of our language. One of these ways is the narratives about the world we live in and the world to come. Such utopian aspirations, however, must not only be for the future, but also for the past. Our aspirations must attempt to recover the experiences that have been erased by the sanctioned packages of “structural readjustment,” “austerity,” and particularly the ambiguities of career-oriented “credentialism.” Exile demands a reconstruction of who we were and who we are in light of the coming challenges we can see so clearly. Freire is testament to this changing temporality, oscillating between a hope in the power of education to save the individual and the existential angst of questioning our differences as a lesson in plurality. To trace and conceptualize this effort takes searching for a new language. And while today’s scholarship may be poor in new concepts (and perhaps even poorer in capturing the experiences of exile), one is never alone in the perpetual search for a scholarly home. I conclude here with the object of our analysis: exile and courage in the study of international politics. Generations of students restlessly await the originality, creativity, and conviction that so many of us have been taught are crucial for our future of the discipline. IR today does them a great disservice by failing to acknowledge the context and implications of the larger crises of exile shared worldwide. For Freire, courage is only possible as an attitude that replaces—by way of human intervention into our existential and material conditions—the fear and insecurity that are inherent to the activities of learning. This is true within experiences of personal and collective questioning, but even more so in a context of indifference and injustice. As it concerns IR, the last decade has been marked by a simultaneous return and retreat from the question of courage via a turn toward epistemology and the space of “qualitative” analyses. This turn speaks powerfully to Freire’s concern with teaching as being more than “the mechanical repetition of this or that gesture,” but rather “a comprehension of the value of sentiments, emotions, and desires” (1998, 48). There is a risk in these turns of closing the space that generated indignation and, to begin with, the courage to revolt, making the spirit of inquiry a thing to be reproduced objectively, rather than reenacted personally and contextually. If one considers the experiences that inform a scholar’s trajectories, we will often find that both great teachers, but also great struggles, have made the particular moments of an education truly memorable. The spaces that inform educational experiences are always contentious and contested. I think this much should be true of the classroom today, as well as how we conceive of education in our discipline as part of the larger classroom of the world. Sadly, the world we inhabit is one of tragedy and strife, hardship and injustice, and abandonment and exile. I say this not only for IR and study of politics, but also for our personal worlds as thinkers and scholars. The common link here is that both are human worlds; yet in these worlds lie the visions of other worlds long gone and many still to come. Courage, it seems, lies in the acknowledgment of that space of inclusion/exclusion, diligence/capitulation, and indignation/humility that makes waking up a struggle and a privilege. More specifically, if there is anything that the contemporary crisis of academia should do—particularly as it has been experienced in North America—it is to convince us of the need for deeper engagement with the reasons scholars choose their craft and the questions that emerge when they are threatened with dissolution, punishment, indifference, or even exile. The question of exile is a way of articulating an experiential attitude that is rooted not just in physical displacement, but also personal acknowledgment. It ultimately points to an interrogation of context and motive that almost always reveals hidden possibilities. For the sake of our discipline, it may be time IR scholars realize that the place for those opportunities to magnify our virtues and our faults may be right where it always was: inside ourselves and our communities. Footnotes 1 Given the increasing attention to the problem of paradigmatism on the study of IR, works focusing on the trajectories of scholars themselves offer crucial insights on the analytic value of biographical knowledge (see Kruzel and Rosenau 1989 and Jacobi et al. 2011). 2 For example, Carr’s (1964) concern with the relation between utopia and reality in the face of his own disenchantment with liberalism and Morgenthau’s (1962) own “middle-road” approach to navigating the ideological extremes of his time. 3 Recent efforts have attempted to clarify the role that exile played in Carr and Morgenthau’s formative periods. Yet such histories so far single out the problematic nature of exile and its limits on studying international political theorizing, rather than its possibilities (see Frei 2001; Williams 2004, 2005; Nishimura 2011). 4 Although Sznajder and Roniger’s efforts are to be commended—particularly in their reading of exile as “both the result of political processes and a constitutive factor of political systems” (2009, 5)—my aim here is to go beyond the macropolitical effects of exile as an explanatory model to the reflexive elements of exile that contribute to a pedagogical understanding. 5 A single, though poignant, footnote in one IR theorist’s work points to the lamentable effects of this silence. See Neufeld (1995, 161). 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