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ERIC Number: EJ1156320
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Oct
Pages: 34
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: EISSN-1740-2743
The Critical Pedagogical Potential of Using Jacob A. Riis' Works about the Immigrant Poor in "Gilded Age" New York
Templer, Bill
Journal for Critical Education Policy Studies, v15 n2 p119-153 Oct 2017
The article seeks to contribute to working-class and social justice pedagogy by developing concrete angles on teaching/exploring some of the (a) short fiction, (b) journalistic-photographic work and (c) sociography of poverty by the Danish-born US immigrant, muckraker ( and social reformer Jacob A. Riis (1849-1914,, a writer and activist still too little known outside the U.S. The article suggests approaches for teaching material by Riis as a focus in a critical EFL classroom, centered on real historical and contemporary social issues such as poverty in capitalist relations of production, immigration and its myriad aporias. Through the prism of Riis, it suggests looking at concrete social deprivation in the "Gilded Age" from the context of a critical pedagogy in the "New Gilded Age" (McAlevey, 2016) today, also with classroom materials for today, including David Rovics' political folksong. On one level, the article is largely aimed at practicing EFL teachers. More broadly, it seeks to contribute to a neglected area in Marxist and social-anarchist critical pedagogy in this journal, namely ideas for concrete alternative curriculum and their practical teaching within the cybervortex of an exacerbating capitalist "society of the spectacle" (Debord, 1967; 1988). The article is also grounded on a material fact too little foregrounded in critical pedagogy discourse: the openness for introducing CP approaches/questions specifically within a burgeoning subject area (TEFL) that has spread globally as default imperial lingua franca. TEFL has no set disciplinary "subject content": the door potentially is uniquely wide open in EFL classes in many countries to talking/writing critically about political, socioeconomic and environmental issues, global, glocal, local. The present article expands somewhat on TEFL as a contested transnational space for introducing and experimenting with CP and social justice pedagogy.
Institute for Education Policy Studies. University of Northampton, School of Education, Boughton Green Road, Northampton, NN2 7AL, UK. Tel: +44-1273-270943; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New York (New York)
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A