Layla AbdelRahim – Wild Children, Domesticated Dreams: Civilization and the Birth of Education
This book is a primitivist critique of education and domestication which, AbdelRahim argues, is at the heart of civilization. Whereas empathy is at the heart of wilderness (and the capacity to live well in it), civilization is characterized by alienation, hatred, destruction and violence. All of these values, she argues, are instilled by education, which works through routine and coercion, destroying kids’ capacities for curiosity and instilling obedience and apathy. At the center of the whole problem, AbdelRahim argues, is domestication: the ways in which other living beings are violently diverted from their own purposes, and made to serve the purposes of human masters. Animals, plants, and other humans are all domesticated, and often internalize their own domestication: they become civilized themselves, and all of this becomes naturalized. AbdelRahim shows how these values of civilization are internalized: not just mentally, but folded into bodies through discipline, routine, and the naturalization of domestic life. She draws on Bourdieu and his conception of habitus to emphasize the ways in which education—and other institutions of civilization—reproduce themselves, and continue to work regardless of the intentions of those participating in them.
AbdelRahim weaves in her experiences of parenting and learning from her daughter, Ljuba, which helps reveal the powerful creative and free-thinking capacities of children, and the reactionary and domineering tendencies of education and civilized parenting. It helps to show how folks can live and relate to one another differently—in this case, in terms of parenting and unschooling—as a way to create alternatives within and against civilization. I wish the author had discussed her own experience more, and talked about her own strategies and practices around parenting, given her radical critique of civilized child-rearing. The use of narrative personalizes the text, so that the author appears as a parent figuring out how to raise a kid in a radical, compassionate way, rather than just an author that writes about it. Knowing that someone is trying to live the thing they’re talking about always makes me a more compassionate reader, too.
Emiko Badillo, Emelda Kavanaugh-Ortiz & Alex Payan
Hello. I’m Aph Ko. I’m the founder of Aphro-ism as well as the founder of Black Vegans Rock.
I’ve decided to create short videos to explain some of the different theories my sister Syl and I create on Aphro-ism so that it’s a big more accessible and easier to digest.
On our website, we’re asked a lot of different questions, and today I’m going to be tackling, “What does animal oppression have to do with our anti-racist movements?”
This workshop examines the role of knowledge and education in civilised economy and the ways in which they sabotage resistance and revolution. We will discuss both the temporary successes and the reasons behind the failure of most revolutions that have consistently been co-opted by a culture of stratification and exploitation within the past millennium in order to build on that experience for a lasting change and a viable planet in which diversity will thrive.
Presented by Layla AbdelRahim. Layla is an anarchist anthropologist, author of two books: “Wild Children – Domesticated Dreams: Civilization and the Birth of Education” (Fernwood 2013) and “Children’s Literature, Domestication, and Social Foundation: Narratives of Civilization and Wilderness” (Routledge 2015).
photos and writing by ria
*to receive a copy of the field guide with macrophotos, email ecofeminist (@) riseup (.) net
self-published in Cascadia
To support efforts undoing what’s been done, and creating what will be.
This is a living document by and for the people who care for western Cascadia lowland forests. This is not an inclusive listing, and plants vary with factors, such as age. Hint: Look for evidence of remnant leaves, etc. on the plant and on the ground. And consider environmental conditions, and the plant community.
“Schools teach children the principles of death and of suffering. They do not teach them the principles of life, which is diversity, which is being out there in the world. They teach them within closed systems, within closed buildings and walls, separated from the rest of the world. They teach them that violence is legitimate when it is applied from the top to the bottom and that it is illegitimate when it is practiced in resistance or defense of diversity and life. They teach children that humanity is alien to this world, that success means pleasing those in authority who will own the products of our flesh, of our effort, of our work, of our love. ” –Layla AbdelRahim
Listen to the podcast or read the transcript at More Thought
The Yellow Picture was written by a ‘student’ and given to his ‘teacher’ weeks before committing suicide. It illuminates the experience of losing oneself to a ‘school’.
The Yellow Picture
He always wanted to explain things,
But no one cared,
So he drew.
Sometimes he would draw and it wasn’t anything.
He wanted to carve it in stone or write it in the sky.
He would be out in the grass and look up in the sky.
And it was only him and the sun and things inside him that needed saying.
And after that he drew the picture.