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Today’s Epistemic Crisis and a Post-Postmodernism: Implications for Transformative Education
We live in an age when propaganda, ‘fake news’, conspiracy theories, and misinformation have become so ubiquitous that our very notions of truth and knowledge have eroded away. Lacking a foundation for shared understandings, we drift into echo chambers, engaging only with the news, social media, and communities that support our existing biases and views. This situation contributes to the increasing political divide that we see across the Western world. We call this an ‘epistemic crisis’ because a widespread lack of consensus about knowledge and how it is acquired makes it difficult to have constructive dialogues across difference, and therefore impossible for democracy to function within our societies and for international conflict resolution.
With what conceptual tools can educators address this crisis? Whereas postmodernism was an important counter to simplistic notions of truth, knowledge, power, and ‘progress,’ it does not help us work our way out of today’s epistemic crisis. As scholars and practitioners of education, we need a post-postmodernism, which we argue begins with a renewed emphasis on developing epistemically responsible learners. This presentation explores key concepts for such an effort: Bounded Rationality, Autonomy, and Pluralism, and Solidarity. These concepts have important implications for what a ‘transformative education’ should and should not attempt to do.
Dr. habil. Tetyana Hoggan-Kloubert is an Akademische Rätin (Associate Professor) at the University of Augsburg, Germany. She has published extensively in the German-, English-, Polish-, and Ukranian-speaking adult education literature, including three authored and three edited books, in addition to many articles and book chapters. She has been the Director of the Summer Institute of Civic Studies (in Germany and Ukraine) since 2015.
Dr. Chad Hoggan is an Associate Professor of Adult and Lifelong Education at North Carolina State University. He has been co-editor of the Journal of Transformative Education since 2016. He has published 4 books on adult education, dealing with the theory and practice of transformative learning. His research explores transformative learning in different contexts, including migration, higher education, and major life transitions.
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