The Urban Review

, Volume 51, Issue 1, pp 26–45 | Cite as

Radical Love, (R)evolutionary Becoming: Creating an Ethic of Love in the Realm of Education Through Buddhism and Ubuntu

  • David W. Robinson-MorrisEmail author


Revolutions spring forth and are guided by love. Education, like love, is immersed in the political. It can be argued within the American educational landscape, textbook selections and school policies are acts of ideological evangelization, which serves not to democratize, but to indoctrinate the citizenry and reinforce capitalist ideologies; namely, hierarchical power relations and atomistic individualism (Pinar in What is curriculum theory?, Routledge, New York, 2012; Slattery in Curriculum development in the postmodern era: teaching and learning in an age of accountability, Routledge, New York, 2013). In this socio-political moment, we are struck dumb by the violence and oppression wrought by asymmetrical power relations, and the failure of the American compulsory education system to teach and practice an ethic of love. If Dewey’s (Democracy and education, Macmillan, New York, 1916) assertion is indeed true that education is the means through which we grow and sustain a democracy then our educational system(s) warrant a deep re-evaluation—a revolutionary re-imagining, a transformation—guided by/through/with love. This paper through a privileging of onto-epistemologies antecedent to Western thought—the South African philosophy of Ubuntu and the Eastern philosophy of Buddhism—reconceptualizes the Western subject and education as a witness to love. Understanding research as a rendezvous with thinking, this inquiry utilizes (re)Thinking as (non)method and rids itself of the positivist need for prescriptive conclusions. This imagining within the realm of urban education calls us to live out a radical love, which necessitates a revolutionary becoming and opens the possibility of an ethical, more humane future free of the epistemic violence of dominance guided by love and mediated through a pedagogical ethic of love.


Radical love Education Becoming Ubuntu Buddhism 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Center for Equity, Justice, and the Human SpiritXavier University of LouisianaNew OrleansUSA

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