In The Struggle: Pedagogies Of Politically Engaged Scholarship In The San Joaquin Valley Of California
A handful of scholars conducted research and advocated for change in the San Joaquin Valley of California during twentieth century. Six social scientists, who I refer to as "politically engaged scholars," engaged in struggles for social justice, economic equity and democratic governance, both as scholars who produced knowledge and constructed theory and as political actors who aimed to advance particular interests and ends. In the Valley's adversarial contexts, they varied their roles as scholars by leading strikes, organizing underserved communities, founding community development programs, creating non-profit institutions, in addition to working as traditional social scientists. Their intellectual work illustrated the political dimensions of social science and the educational praxis of engaged scholarship as the scholars deviated from the conventional role of detached observers into active participants in highly charged debates. The concept of pedagogy frames my research because it allows an alternative understanding of these scholars who entered research settings as change agents and openly admitted values into their scholarship. Since social scientists produce knowledge for cultural and professional consumption, and sometimes explicitly for public purposes, their work occupies an educational nexus between the academy and the broader society where research findings and academic knowledge are produced, disseminated and represented in particular ways. In order to understand their pedagogical practice, I use a narrative structure comprised of the scholar's first person stories and my interpretation of a variety of texts including their academic papers. The resulting narrative informs pedagogies of political engagement through scholarship. The scholars' experiences, values and findings blend together as the harassment they experienced and politicization of their scientific findings become subplots in larger struggles for economic justice and the defense of democracy in the San Joaquin Valley. Their stories and this narrative find that democracy is fundamentally linked to a just, sustaining and egalitarian economic system.
engaged scholarship; narrative inquiry
Villenas, Sofia A; Gillespie Jr, Gilbert W.
Ph. D., Education
Doctor of Philosophy
dissertation or thesis