Advancing an (Im)Possible Alternative: Ethnic Studies in Neoliberal Times
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This conceptual paper examines the question of the political imaginary in the neoliberal moment, and the crucial role that Ethnic Studies can play in realizing critical pedagogy’s promise of emancipatory social transformation. After Arizona House Bill 2281, educational scholarship has paid renewed attention to Ethnic Studies classrooms as key sites of politically transformative praxis. Attending to recent literature that contextualizes Ethnic Studies within broader contemporary struggles against neoliberal educational reform, this analysis traces the contentious relationship between Ethnic Studies and the advancements of neoliberal multicultural ideology.This essay extends these critical dialogues by arguing for a dialectical description of the Ethnic Studies, which emphasizes its ability to stage productive confrontations between traditions in Marxist philosophy, decolonial theory, and critical race theory. The epistemological and ontological tensions that arise here, I argue, are central to reframing our understanding of consciousness raising and the formation of radical subjectivities in the present.