NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ799596
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Jul
Pages: 22
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 20
ISSN: ISSN-1071-4413
"Beyond Ground Zero": The Futures of Critical Thought after 9/11
Espiritu, Karen; Moore, Donald G.
Review of Education, Pedagogy & Cultural Studies, v30 n3-4 p198-219 Jul 2008
In the wake of the September 11, 2001, attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center, and amid sweeping patriotic declarations that the suicide hijackers had waged a war on America as well as democracy, the energetic response by public intellectuals, academics, philosophers, and theorists has been to ask, what "America," what "democracy," what "war," "for" and "against whom?" This essay questions how one can respond to such provocation when informed critiques of foreign and domestic state policies, as well as calls to investigate and cease reported human rights abuses of "suspected enemy combatants" in military prisons, are aggressively dismissed as "unpatriotic" or counterproductive measures in the "War on Terror"? The authors thus pose the question: "Is 9/11 unteachable?" Their aim in exploring this central question is two-fold. First, to examine what they argue is 9/11's agonistic resistance to teaching, teachability, and education; and, second, to consider what an inquiry into 9/11's resistance to education might potentially teach or lead one to (un)learn about the attacks and the ways in which state-sanctioned public remembrances of 9/11's "heroes" and "victims" serve to justify the killing, displacement, humiliation, and abuse of others. Assuming a definition of "unteachable" as a subject that is negative, subordinated, denigrated, disposable, discarded, or defective, the authors seek to revisit and revitalize this notion in the following ways: (1) "unteachable"--as prohibition; (2) "unteachable"--as amenable to revision; and (3) "unteachable"--as the constitutive ground from which teaching can only be possible. This essay also serves as an introduction to this special double issue that presents articles that refuse to confine the events of 9/11 to definite dates, specific locations, and particular proper names. Given the diverse (inter)disciplinary backgrounds of each author, the essays comprising this collection vary from one another in many ways, for example in their objects of analyses, methodological approaches, and choice of textual engagements. One commonality they do share, however, is their deep concern regarding the conditions currently shaping and informing the notion of 9/11 as "unteachable." What animates this collection of essays is the conviction that critical thinking is an urgently needed mode of intervention in the post-9/11 world, and that the idea that 9/11 is "unteachable" should invigorate rather than paralyze critical engagements. (Contains 11 notes.)
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A