TEACHING THE ACTUALITY OF
Derek R. Ford
Exploring the nexus between aesthetics, pedagogy, and politics illustrates the central role education plays in reproducing injustice and inhibiting confidence in revolutionary struggle. Demonstrating how capitalism and its attendant forms of oppression are not merely cognitive but perceptual, Derek R. Ford proposes that revolutionary education demands the production of aesthetic experiences through which we sense the possibility and actuality of alternative worlds. To create such encounters, Ford develops a praxis of teaching and a pedagogy of unlearning that, in our current conjuncture, creates conditions for encountering what Jennifer Ponce de León calls “an other aesthetics.” Mapping contemporary capital as a perceptual ecology of structures, social relations, beliefs, and feelings, Teaching the Actuality of Revolution: Aesthetics, Unlearning, and the Sensations of Struggle provides an extensive new set of concepts, practices, and readings for revolutionaries to better plan, enact, reflect on, and refine our organizing efforts.
“This book offers an expansive and inspiring examination of an issue crucially important to revolutionary practice and the struggles of all working class and oppressed people: how are humans’ understanding and perception of the world forged through class struggle? In it, Derek Ford brilliantly illuminates key insights of Marx and Engels’ work, as well as that of Louis Althusser, Henri Lefebvre, Paulo Freire, and many contemporary Marxist theorists. His far-reaching discussions of ideology, aesthetics, pedagogy, and the arts offer valuable tools for unlearning capital’s perceptual ecology and forging new worlds of sense and perception that concretely contribute to the communist struggle.”
-Jennifer Ponce de León, Author of Another Aesthetics Is Possible: Arts of Rebellion in the Fourth World War
“Ford expertly wields a robust analysis of sensory perception and perceptual mapping against the dominant aesthetic ecological regime which reigns as an extension of the dictatorship of capital and which is reproduced, according to Ford, pedagogically. What emerges from this exploration is essential reading for educators, organizers, and anyone interested in (un)learning the ideology and imposed sensorium of capital and, ultimately, in teaching the actuality of revolution!”
-Breht O’Shea, Host of Revolutionary Left Radio
Derek R. Ford is a teacher, educational theorist, and organizer. Their recent books include Encountering Education (2022) and Marxism, Pedagogy, and the General Intellect (2021). In addition to serving as the editor of Liberation School, they’re education department chair at the Hampton Institute, associate editor of Postdigital Science and Education, and deputy editor of the Journal for Critical Education Policy Studies.