The Evergreen State College
Fall 2001


Political Economy & Social Movements:
Race, Class & Gender


Week 1: Questions for Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed


These questions are designed
--to assist you understand the main theses of the book,
-- prepare you for this week’s all program meetings and seminar and
--to help you write your first response paper

1. Do you agree with the assertion that this text is still highly relevant today, including for our class, despite the fact that it was written over three decades ago for poor peasants in Brazil? If your answer is affirmative, how would you explain its relevance?

2. Explain the interplay between the processes of humanization and dehumanization and the relationship of the oppressors and the oppressors?

3. How does Freire define solidarity and what role does it play in the transformation of the relationship between the oppressors and the oppressed?

4. What is Freire’s thesis about violence? Do you agree with him that the act of rebellion by the oppressed, no matter how violent, can initiate love (pp. 55-56)?

5. Liberal educators in this country have separated Freire’s method of education from his radical philosophy and distanced themselves from its revolutionary potential.  Others, like Peter McLaren have argued that these three aspects of Freire’s ideas are inseparable. What do you think?

6. Freire contrasts his notion of education for liberation with “banking” education. What are the main differences between these two approaches to education? What has been the effect of these types of education on you and your worldview?

7. How applicable are Freire’s ideas to the relationship between faculty and students on our campus? What are some of the problems we may face in applying these ideas?

8. Freire says an “epoch” is a “complex of ideas, concepts, hopes, doubts, values and challenges in dialectical interaction with their opposites. . .” (p. 101).  What do you think are the characteristics of our current epoch?

9. Freire talks about the “fear of freedom” (p. 36) and states that this fear makes its possessor see “ghosts.” What do you think he is talking about? Make a list of current “ghosts.”

10. According to Freire we first need to “unveil” reality and then transform the world. What is it about reality that you want to “unveil” and what is it about the world that you want to transform?