ABSTRACT

In our exploration of radical imagination as pedagogy, we theorize education as a particular mode of study that has historically been bound up with oppressive modes of life, including capitalism and colonialism. We argue that alternative modes of study have existed alongside, and in conflict with, education and its associated modes of life. These alternatives have been intertwined with the radical imagination, a collective practice that arises from within social movements against imaginaries that uphold the status quo. Inspired by Black radicalism, movements for Indigenous resurgence, and other intellectual traditions that theorize and mobilize a radical imagination, we reflect on our experiences of attempting to create subversive spaces of collective study, from within and beyond education institutions. In our analysis of our experiences in case studies of teaching a university course, organizing a radical education union, and projects of collective Black study beyond formal education institutions, we find that the practice of radical imagination-as-pedagogy is premised on affective and relational labor—labor that has been historically invisibilized, feminized/sentimentalized, and devalued in education, even in writing on critical pedagogies. Working across our examples, we consider the key role of relationships and affect for movement-building toward education justice. We conclude by offering strategies for cultivating a radical imagination within and beyond classrooms.

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