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Cátedra Paulo Freire: Freire’s Continued Presence in Times of Disruptions and Hopelessness

March 11, 2021 | 5 p.m. - 7 p.m. (CST) | Zoom

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As the 100th anniversary of Paulo Freire's birth approaches, we want to celebrate his life and work by reaffirming our commitment to embrace an emancipatory education as we, together, seek to reinvent his legacy.

Amid many disruptions such as attacks on democracy, the violation of human rights, the COVID-19 pandemic, the systemic racism against Brown and Black lives, and the intensification of economic and social inequalities, many have been led to experience hopeless and disbelief. However, as Freire always reminded us, it is paramount to never fall into cynicism and despair. On the contrary, the hardening of the hearts should motivate and inspire greater efforts in the continue and dignified struggle for social, economic, and environmental justice centered in a pedagogy that humanizes rather than dehumanizes.

Freire's conceptualization of human’s unfinishedness opens the possibility to hope and to resist against all forms of dehumanization. Hence, it is through a collective struggle that humans intervene, recreate and transform the unjust world and announce a world steeped in love, ethics and responsibility.

Cátedra 2021 is honored to create a pedagogical space that brings together notable scholars—Antonia Darder, Henry Giroux, Donaldo Macedo, and Peter McLaren—to dialogue on the importance of re-inventing Freire. These remarkable authors, while contributing in different and varied ways dictated by the challenges of the current historical darkness, they all share Freire’s invitation to never accept the neoliberalist determinism, as they re-invent and re-create the precepts of Pedagogy of the Oppressed to unmask the ever-present violation of human ethics while re-committing themselves to the creation of a world that is more humane. The proposed dialogue provides educators, activists, and all who are agents of change with a remarkable opportunity to critically engage Freire’s ideas and ideals as applied to past, present, and beyond.  

- Débora B. A. Junker, Director and Founder of Cátedra Paulo Freire



Registration Information

Registration Deadline: 5:00 p.m (CST) on March 10, 2021
Registration Fee: Free

NOTE: The Cátedra will take place online using Zoom. Information on how to join the Cátedra via Zoom will be emailed to registered participants closer to the date of the event. 

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Support the Work of the Hispanic-Latinx Center

This year's Cátedra will offered for free but we are asking, if you are able, to please make a donation to the Hispanic-Latinx Center at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. Your donation will provide support for the Center's programming, including the annual Cátedra Paulo Freire. When you make your donation, please put "Hispanic-Latinx Center" in the "Restricted to" field. 

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Cátedra Presenters

Catedra Speakers

Catedra speakers

Dr. Ana Maria Araújo Freire

Dr. Ana Maria Araújo FreireDr. Ana Maria (Nita) Araújo Freire was born in Recife, Brazil, on November 13, 1933. The daughter of educators, she is an intellectual in her own right, with a master's and Ph.D. degrees in Education both from Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo- Brazil. 

Dr. Ana Maria Araújo Freire, the widow of Paulo Freire and legal successor to Freire's work since his death in 1997, has given numerous conferences and seminars in various parts of the world, promoting the thinking of Paulo Freire. Nita, a name affectionately used by Freire, in addition to writing books, book chapters, and articles, also collaborated with Freire, writing comprehensive endnotes for his following books Pedagogy of Hope (1994), Letters to Cristina (1994), and Pedagogy of the Heart (1997). According to Freire, her endnotes gave readers an essential insight into the historical conditions and cultural nuances from which he wrote his books. In Freire's own words: "Nita is without a doubt one of the few people who truly and completely understand my work. It is almost scary. Sometimes I think she understands my ideas better than I do." 

Nita Freire published Paulo Freire: Uma História de Vida (Paulo Freire: Uma História de Vida), 2005 (2nd ed, 2017), considered the most comprehensive Freire's biography, with which she won the Jabuti Award in 2017. This award is the most important literary award in Brazil, in Best Biography. She also published Nita and Paulo: chronicles of love, São Paulo, 1998; Analfabetismo no Brasil, 3rd edition, 2001; Centenáriode Nascimento: Aluízio Pessoa de Araujo, 1997; and Centenário de Nascimento: Francisca de Albuquerque Araújo - Genove, 2002. Since Paulo's death, she has dedicated time and effort to organizing other Freire's writings published posthumously. Among her several published books—all in Portuguese and some translated into Spanish and English—the following stand out: Daring to Dream: Towards a Pedagogy of the Unfinished (2007), Pedagogy of Indignation (2004), A Pedagogia da Libertação em Paulo Freire (2001), and Pedagogia do Sonhos Possíveis (2001).

In her 87 years, Nita is still active in writing and participating in debates, meetings, and conferences. Her most recent publications are Freire Pedagogy of Commitment: Latin America and Popular Education (2018), and Paulo Freire, Human Rights and Liberating Education (2019), which brings together Paulo Freire's writings and speeches during the period he worked at the Secretariat of Education in the city of São Paulo. She is currently working on a new book.

Dr. Débora B. A. Junker | Moderator

Dr. Débora B. A. JunkerDébora Barbosa Agra Junker, a native of Brazil, is Associate Professor of Critical Pedagogies and director of the Hispanic-Latinx Center at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois. As founder and director of Cátedra Paulo Freire since 2016, she is committed to advancing Paulo Freire's contribution to the field of religious studies. The Cátedra has hosted annual events with renowned Freire scholars in the United States under her leadership. As part of her continuing international engagements, she has presented her work in numerous universities such as UNISO, UMESP, and UFPB in Brazil, the University of Waikato in New Zealand, and the University of Hamburg in Germany. As a member of international organizations such as the Parliament of World Religions, OMNIA Institute of Contextual Leadership, and the Research Society for Historical-Cultural Activities–ISCAR, she has presented her research at conferences in Toronto, Chicago, and Sydney.

Dr. Junker brings to her scholarship cultural experiences lived in Brazil, Argentina, and the USA. As a Freirean scholar, she seeks to challenge colonialist forms of education deeply rooted in cultural repertories of exclusion and cruelty by engaging in what Freire calls a process of conscientização (critical consciousness). Hence, she seeks to embrace an educational praxis that promotes social justice, ethical responsibility, tenderness, and transformation. As participants in God's creation, she believes that we should cherish the sacredness of life anchored in hope and prophetic consciousness.  

Junker has book chapters published in Brazil and the United States as well as articles in specialized journals. She recently contributed a chapter to the book Reinventing the Pedagogy of the Oppressed, edited by James Kirylo, and an article in Dossiê Paulo Freire: presença no mundo e com o mundo – Revista de Educação, UMESP ( the Paulo Freire Dossier: presence in the world and with the world in Journal of Education, UMESP). She is currently working on a book on religious education and has other publishing projects in progress.

Dr. Antonia Darder | Panelist

Dr. Antonia DarderDr. Antonia Darder is a distinguished international Freirean scholar. She is a public intellectual, educator, writer, activist, and artist. She holds the Leavey Presidential Endowed Chair of Ethics and Moral Leadership at Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles and is Professor Emerita of Education Policy, Organization, and Leadership at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign. She also holds a Distinguished Visiting faculty post at the University of Johannesburg, in South Africa. Antonia is an American Educational Research Association Fellow and is the recipient of the Paulo Freire Social Justice Award. She has worked tirelessly for more than three decades to fiercely counter social and material inequalities at work in schools and communities.

Antonia’s scholarship has consistently focused on issues of racism, political economy, social justice, and education. Her work critically engages the contributions of Paulo Freire to our understanding of inequalities in schools and society. Darder’s critical theory of biculturalism links questions of culture, power, and pedagogy to social justice concerns in education. Through her scholarship on ethics and moral issues, she articulates a critical theory of leadership for social justice, with a particular focus on the empowerment of subaltern communities.

Antonia is the author of numerous books and articles in the field, including The Student Guide to Freire's Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Culture and Power in the Classroom (20th Anniversary edition), Reinventing Paulo Freire: A Pedagogy of Love, A Dissident Voice: Essays on Culture, Pedagogy, and Power and Freire and Education. She is also co-author of After Race: Racism After Multiculturalism, editor of Decolonizing Interpretive Methodology: A Subaltern Methodology for Social Change, and co-editor of The Critical Pedagogy Reader, Latinos and Education: A Critical Reader, and the International Critical Pedagogy Reader, which was awarded the 2016 Alpha Sigma Nu Book Award.

Through the passion of her written and spoken word and the simple beauty of her art, her work has traveled around the world, consistently calling for economic justice, human rights, and cultural democracy for all people. In 2015, Antonia was nominated for the prestigious Brock International Prize in Education.

Dr. Henry A. Giroux | Panelist

Henry A. GirouxHenry A. Giroux is the McMaster University Chair for Scholarship in the Public Interest & The Paulo Freire Distinguished Scholar in Critical Pedagogy (Dept. of English and Cultural Studies McMaster University- Canada).  One of the founding theorists of critical pedagogy in the United States, he is best known for his pioneering work in public pedagogy, cultural studies, youth studies, higher education, media studies, and critical theory.

His previous academic roles include Professor of Education at Boston University (1997-1983), Professor of Education and scholar in residence at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio (1983-1992), and Distinguished Professor at the College of Education, Penn State University (1992- 2004).  

Over the span of his career Giroux has authored, coauthored, edited, and co-edited more than 70 volumes, at least 400 scholarly popular press articles, 154 contributions to edited collections, and made numerous public speaking engagements. He has been presented with several  awards, accolades and honorary doctor of Letters Degree.

He was also named one of the top fifty educational thinkers of the modern period in Fifty Modern Thinkers on Education: From Piaget to the Present as part of Routledge’s Guides Publication Series (2002).

In 2007, he was named by the Toronto Star as one of the “12 Canadians Changing the Way We Think.” In 2005, he received an honorary doctorate from Memorial University in Canada. He is on the editorial and advisory boards of numerous national and international scholarly journals, and he has served as the editor or co-editor of four scholarly book series. He co-edited a series on education and cultural studies with Paulo Freire for a decade. He is a regular contributor to a number of online journals including Salon, Truthout, Alternet,  and CounterPunch.  He has published in many journals including Social Text, Third Text, Cultural Studies, Harvard Educational Review, Theory, Culture, & Society , and Monthly Review.

Dr. Donald Macedo | Panelist

Dr. Donaldo MacedoDonaldo Macedo is a professor of English and a Distinguished Professor of Liberal Arts and Education at the University of Massachusetts Boston. A critical theorist, linguist, and expert on literacy and education studies, Macedo is the founder and former chair of the Applied Linguistics Master of Arts Program at the University of Massachusetts Boston.

Macedo has been a central figure in the field of critical pedagogy for more than 30 years. His work with Paulo Freire broke new theoretical ground, as it helped to develop a critical understanding of the ways in which language, power, and culture contribute to the positioning and formation of human experience and learning.  Macedo was Freire’s chief translator and English language interpreter.  His published dialogues with Paulo Freire are considered classic works not only for their elucidation of Freire’s theories of literacy but also for adding a more critical and theoretically advanced dimension to the study of literacy and critical pedagogy. Macedo’s and Freire’s coauthored book, Literacy: Reading the World and the Word, is central to Critical Literacy in that it redefines the very nature and terrain of literacy and Critical Pedagogy.

In 2003, Macedo was named a member of the Laureate Chapter of Kappa Delta Pi—International Society in Education, one of the world’s most prestigious awards in education. Past recipients of this award include Albert Einstein (1950), Walter Lippman (1960), Margaret Mead (1962), Charles E. Skinner (1966), and Jean Piaget (1974). The award recognizes Macedo’s scholarly contributions over the years and the influence his work has had both in the United States and abroad.

Donaldo Macedo was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2013 in the Republic of Cape Verde.  In 2014, he was elected as a member of the National Academy of Letters also in the Republic of Cape Verde.

Donaldo Macedo has more than one hundred publications that include articles, books, and book chapters in the areas of linguistics, critical literacy, and multicultural education. His publications include Literacy: Reading the Word and the World (with Paulo Freire, 1987), Literacies of Power: What Americans Are Not Allowed to Know (1994), Dancing with Bigotry (with Lilia Bartolomé, 1999), Critical Education in the New Information Age (with Paulo Freire, Henry Giroux, and Paul Willis, 1999), Chomsky on Miseducation (with Noam Chomsky, 2000), Howard Zinn on Democratic Education (with Howard Zinn, 2005), and Imposed Democracy: Dialogues with Noam Chomsky and Paulo Freire (2012).

Dr. Peter McLaren | Panelist

Dr. Peter McLarenProfessor McLaren is Distinguished Professor in Critical Studies at the Donna Ford Attallah College of Educational Studies, Chapman University. He is Professor Emeritus at the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, University of California, Los Angeles. He is the author and editor of nearly 50 books and his writings have been translated into over 25 languages. Five of his books have won the Critic's Choice Award of the American Educational Studies Association. Professor McLaren's book, Life in Schools: An Introduction to Critical Pedagogy in the Foundations of Education (New York: Routledge), has been named one of the 12 most significant writings by foreign authors in the field of educational theory, policy and practice by the Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences; the list includes Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire and Deschooling Society by Ivan Illich and books by Pierre Bourdieu and Howard Gardner.

The charter for La Fundacion McLaren de Pedagogia Critica was signed at the University of Tijuana in July, 2004 and was later moved to Ensenada, Mexico under the title, Instituto McLaren de Pedagogia Critica y Educacion Popular. Instituto McLaren offers courses, degrees and training in popular education and has been named in Professor McLaren’s honor.

Professor McLaren worked closely with educators in Venezuela to develop programs in critical literacy and critical pedagogy as part of the Bolivarian Revolution initiated by the late President Hugo Chavez.

Professor McLaren is associated with Chapman’s historical commitment to the memory of Paulo Freire, as demonstrated by the university’s Freire archive collection and the only known North American bust of the great Brazilian pedagogical theorist. In 2014, Professor McLaren donated his extensive collection of Latin American revolutionary art to Chapman’s Leatherby Libraries and has also donated his papers and numerous personal artifacts to Chapman’s Paulo Freire Archives. A scholar and activist whose written work and educational activism attempts to reflect the goals and educational practices developed by his mentor, Paulo Freire, Professor McLaren is a frequent international speaker whose work has a global reach.

Professor McLaren is married to Wang Yan (Angie) of Harbin, China.  Both Angie and Peter are devoted Chapman Panther football and basketball fans and Peter still roots for his beloved Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team. A devout Catholic, Professor McLaren is a member of Holy Family Cathedral in Orange, California.  Among his heroes he includes the late Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador, Marxist theorist Raya Dunayevskaya and Brazil’s legendary educator, Paulo Freire. 

March 11, 2021


About Cátedra Paulo Freire

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The Cátedra Paulo Freire at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary is the first cátedra in the United States dedicated to Paulo Freire emphasizing the influence of his theoretical and practical insights to the field of theology and religious studies. Within the context of Garrett-Evangelical, the Cátedra aspires to promote educational events, encourage research activities, and contribute to the enrichment of dialogue among students, faculty, religious leaders, and community members as we imagine collectively what it means to be responsible Christians in today’s contexts, while expanding and deepening our participation in today’s society as public theologians. Moreover, the Cátedra seeks to be a resource for Latinx communities encouraging their engagement and interaction with their realities and contexts as Latinx population in US, and at the same time enhancing their relationships with the Garrett-Evangelical community.


About the Hispanic-Latinx Center

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The Hispanic-Latinx Center was established in 1988 to bring Hispanic-Latinx culture and experience into the life of the seminary. The Center's mission has been to meet the needs of Hispanic-Latinx students, pastors, parishioners, and community leaders in creative, insightful, useful, and organic ways. It also seeks to cultivate a community of friends who have a heart and concern about the realities of Latinx communities across the United States, Latin America, and beyond. Latinx faculty at Garrett-Evangelical have been committed to this cause and have offered specific courses focusing on topics directly relevant to Latinx and/or minoritized racial-ethnic students.