How to Fix Education:
A Handbook for Direct Action
If we assume the capture of the American university by the “national economic dogma,” as Nietzsche called education in the service of money-making careerism, what concrete actions might a change-minded teacher take? This is the question driving How to Fix Education.
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Explication is the annihilation of one mind by another…Whoever teaches without emancipating, stultifies.
—Jacques Rancière, The Ignorant Schoolmaster
Change life! Change society! These precepts mean nothing without the production of an appropriate space…New social relationships call for a new space, and vice versa. —Henri Lefebvre, The Production of Space
“Glenn Wallis brings so much vitality and excitement to the topic of education. He is clear, insightful, and at the same time mindful of practical concerns, which means How to Fix Education is as intellectually stimulating as it is practically useful. Wallis introduces us to an elegant set of conceptual tools, shows their application in the domain of education, and creates an educational experience for the reader that is transformative and unforgettable.” —Dr. Davood Gozli, University of Macau
“How to Fix Education is a valuable and provocative contribution to a growing conversation about revolutionising higher education. You may not agree with all the sentiments but read as a critique of the past and a provocation for the present, it will certainly be a useful thinking tool for practice and theory. A definite addition for everyone’s list of reading for radical educational change.” —Dr. Cassie Earl, Lecturer in Education and Social Justice, Department of Educational Research, Lancaster University
“Mind-bending and can have a liberating effect on people in higher education who are unhappy about the system and don’t know what to do about it.” —Jaroslav Anděl, Anglo-American University
“Against the capitalist capture of higher education and its faithful servants in the university, Glenn Wallis calls for transformative unlearning by way of direct action…A manifesto for the emancipation of classrooms everywhere!” —Richard Gilman-Opalsky, Professor of Political Theory and Philosophy, University of Illinois, author of The Communism of Love and Specters of Revolt
“Here is a clear-eyed statement of the cul-de-sac in which the neo-liberal university finds itself and a clear-eyed statement of how not to save but to end it. Wallis finds the means to that end right at hand, under our noses so to speak, the creation of a new kind of classroom practice that enacts and anticipates a concrete utopia. This book is a guide to something both actually doable and actually worth doing; as such it is a rarity and a treasure.” —Cleo Kearns, scholar, writer, and educator, Dartmouth College
“How To Fix Education is not a guide for fixing the entire institutional system—a challenge so massive that it inevitably paralyzes us; rather it’s a handbook for reclaiming agency and returning dignity to the mutually transformative act of learning. By prefiguring the concrete utopia inside the classroom, Wallis argues, both students and teachers can participate in the radical process of self-formation. The contemporary heretical educator will need to learn to subvert and anarchize institutional technology and participation norms in their digital classroom, and Wallis’s principles of prefiguration, concrete utopia, unlearning, and the ethics of the worst necessary can serve as an inspiring compass for teachers navigating the process.” —Natalia Smirnov, Ph.D.
How fortuitous that in 2021—on the one hundredth anniversary of the birth of Paulo Freire—we have this present from Glenn Wallis, one of the twenty-first century’s most engaging, insightful, and provocative theorists: a teacher of teachers. Unwrap it and become the (radical) student your students need you to be. His critique always points—in creative ways—to pedagogical praxis of the most transformative kind. —Andrew T. Lamas, University of Pennsylvania