“Building in Place” by Talmage A. Stanley


The totality and complexity of this three-part interaction of the natural environment, the built environment, and human culture and history, and the stories etched into this place, call into question traditional models of education and long-held assumptions about what it is that constitutes effective citizenship (Johnston, 1991, p. 97). These stories remind us that this place is rife with conflicts and contradictions, raising questions about citizenship and justice for which there are no right or easy answers.

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Building in Place

“Engaging Place as Partner” by Cheryl K. Siemers, Barbara Harrison, Patti H. Clayton, and Talmage A. Stanley


Twenty years ago Zlotkowski (1995) called for strategic change in the service-learning (SL) movement: an intentional and rigorous focus on integration within academic disciplines, a “broad-based adjustment that invests far more intellectual energy in specifically academic concerns” (p. 123). For all its compelling moral and ideological values, to secure the future of SL Zlotkowski asserted that we had to further establish the pedagogy’s “critical depth and intellectual compass” and its relevance to the academic curriculum (p. 124). Since this landmark article, some have suggested this focus has produced a “remarkably apolitical” (Saltmarsh, Hartley, & Clayton, 2009, p. 5) orientation to service-learning and community engagement (SLCE) and have called for a renewed emphasis on the explicitly political, structural, and civic dimensions of the work so as to maximize its contribution to a more just and caring world (see Hartman in this collection of essays). Analogously and relatedly, we see a pedagogy that, too often, is remarkably “a-place” or place-neutral – uninformed by the particulars of the place and the people, the land and the history. We are interested in the ways in which an intentionally “place-rich” (High, Siemers, & Downing, 2015) approach to SLCE might deepen its civic learning and public good outcomes, especially in the context of the intertwined local roots and global connections that characterize citizenship in the 21st century.

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“The Best of Both Worlds: A Critical Pedagogy of Place” by David A. Gruenewald


Taking the position that “critical pedagogy” and “place-based education” are mutually supportive educational traditions, this author argues for a conscious synthesis that blends the two discourses into a critical pedagogy of place. An analysis of critical pedagogy is presented that emphasizes the spatial aspects of social experience. This examination also asserts the general absence of ecological thinking demonstrated in critical social analysis concerned exclusively with human relationships. Next, a discussion of ecological place-based education is offered. Finally, a critical pedagogy of place is defined. This pedagogy seeks the twin objectives of decolonization and “reinhabitation” through synthesizing critical and place-based approaches. A critical pedagogy of place challenges all educators to reflect on the relationship between the kind of education they pursue and the kind of places we inhabit and leave behind for future generations.