Elephant Watering (W)hole: Transrational Learning Spaces

  • Jennifer M. Murphy


Critical pedagogies, including postmodern, postcolonial and feminist approaches, highlight the importance of critical thinking, situated knowledges, ways of knowing and a politics of location. In this chapter, the author expands this terrain and explores transrational encounters and interpretations of facilitating in the classroom in the United States. A transrational pedagogical orientation both epistemologically and ontologically twists rationality as one mode of perception and offers cutting edge insights into creating multidimensional learning spaces for critical thinking, seeing, relating and being. Transrational approaches to facilitating are relational, experiential and a force of life. This chapter merges critical pedagogy and peace research and expands upon intersectionality and positionality within the classroom, utilizing transrational philosophy and its practical implications. In this context, (differential) power and privilege play out and are facilitated within a systemic approach to conflict, difference and plurality. In this sense, the classroom is a dynamic and living space of deep meaning where students explore their own unfinished processes of transformation, self-actualization and interconnectedness. Flowing in and through the relational and experiential individual, the author moves from intersubjective consciousness in the classroom to relational shapes of spirit of individual and transpersonal consciousness, an embodied and living transrational pedagogical space.


  1. Alexander, M. Jacqui. 2005. Pedagogies of Crossing: Meditations on Feminism, Sexual Politics, Memory, and the Sacred. Durham: Duke University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Anzaldúa, Gloria, ed. 1990. Making Face, Making Soul: Creative and Critical Perspectives by Feminists of Color = Haciendo Caras. San Francisco: Aunt Lute Books.Google Scholar
  3. ———. 2002. Now Let Us Shift…The Path of Conocimiento…Inner Work, Public Acts. In This Bridge We Call Home: Radical Visions for Transformation, ed. Gloria Anzaldúa and AnaLouise Keating, 540–578. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  4. ———. 2012. Borderlands: The New Mestiza = La Frontera. San Francisco: Spinsters/Aunt Lute.Google Scholar
  5. Anzaldúa, Gloria, and AnaLouise Keating. 2009. The Gloria Anzaldúa Reader. Durham: Duke University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Carbado, Devon W. 2007. Privilege. In Black Queer Studies: A Critical Anthology, ed. Mae Henderson and E. Patrick Johnson, 190–212. Durham: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Christian, Barbara. 1988. The Race for Theory. Feminist Studies 14 (1, Spring): 67–79.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Christian, Barbara, Gloria Bowles, M. Giulia Fabi, and Arlene R. Keizer. 2007. New Black Feminist Criticism, 1985–2000. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.Google Scholar
  9. Crenshaw, Kimberlé. 1991. Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence Against Women of Color. Stanford Law Review 43 (6): 1241–1299.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. ———. 2004. Instersectionality: The Double Bind of Race and Gender. Interview by Sheila Thomas. Perspectives (Spring).Google Scholar
  11. Dietrich, Wolfgang. 2012. Interpretations of Peace in History and Culture. London: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. ———. 2013. Elicitive Conflict Transformation and the Transrational Shift in Peace Politics. London: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. ———. 2014. The Palgrave International Handbook of Peace Studies: A Cultural Perspective. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  14. ———. 2018. Elicitive Conflict Mapping. London: Palgrave Macmillan UK.Google Scholar
  15. Fey, Tina. 2011. Bossypants. New York: Little, Brown and Co.Google Scholar
  16. Freire, Paulo. 1994. Pedagogy of Hope: Reliving Pedagogy of the Oppressed. New York: Continuum.Google Scholar
  17. ———. 2000. Pedagogy of the Oppressed. New York: Continuum.Google Scholar
  18. ———. 2004. Pedagogy of Indignation. Boulder: Paradigm Publishers.Google Scholar
  19. Fromm, Erich. 2008. The Art of Loving. New York: Continuum Publisher.Google Scholar
  20. Giroux, Henry A. 1997. Pedagogy and the Politics of Hope: Theory, Culture, and Schooling: A Critical Reader. Boulder: WestviewPress.Google Scholar
  21. Grosfoguel, Ramón. 2008. World-System Analysis and Postcolonial Studies: A Call for a Dialogue from the ‘Coloniality of Power’ Approach. In The Postcolonial and the Global, ed. Revathi Krishnaswamy and John C. Hawley, 94–104. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  22. Haraway, Donna Jeanne. 1991. Simians, Cyborgs, and Women: The Reinvention of Nature. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  23. hooks, bell. 1981. Ain’t I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism. Boston: South End Press.Google Scholar
  24. ———. 2000. All About Love: New Visions. New York: Harper Perennial.Google Scholar
  25. ———. 2010. Teaching Critical Thinking: Practical Wisdom. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  26. Keating, AnaLouise. 2007. Teaching Transformation: Transcultural Classroom Dialogues. London: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  27. ———. 2013. Transformation Now! Toward a Post-oppositional Politics of Change. Urbana: University of Illinois press.Google Scholar
  28. Koppensteiner, Norbert. 2009. The Art of the Transpersonal Self: Transformation as Aesthetic and Energetic Practice. New York: Atropos Press.Google Scholar
  29. Lederach, John Paul. 1995. Preparing for Peace: Conflict Transformation Across Cultures. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press.Google Scholar
  30. ———. 2003. The Little Book of Conflict Transformation. Intercourse: Good Books.Google Scholar
  31. ———. 2005. The Moral Imagination: The Art and Soul of Building Peace. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Loomba, Ania. 2015. Colonialism/Postcolonialism. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  33. Lorde, Audre. 1993. Zami; Sister Outsider; Undersong. New York: Quality Paperback Book Club.Google Scholar
  34. ———. 2007. Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches. Berkeley: Crossing Press.Google Scholar
  35. Lugones, María. 2008. Coloniality of Gender. Words and Knowledges Otherwise (Spring).Google Scholar
  36. Mignolo, Walter D. 2000a. Local Histories/Global Designs: Coloniality, Subaltern Knowledges and Border Thinking. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  37. ———. 2000b. The Many Faces of Cosmo-Polis: Border Thinking and Critical Cosmopolitanism. Public Culture 12 (3): 721–748.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. ———. 2008. The Logic of Coloniality and the Limits of Postcoloniality. In The Postcolonial and the Global, ed. Revathi Krishnaswamy and John C. Hawley, 109–123. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  39. Moraga, Cherríe, and Gloria Anzaldúa. 2015. This Bridge Called My Back: Writings By Radical Women of Color. Albany: SUNY Press.Google Scholar
  40. Quijano, Aníbal. 1993. Raza, Etnia, y Nación, en Mariátegui: Cuestiones Abiertas. In El Otro Aspecto del Descubrimiento, ed. Roland Forgues. Lima: Empresa Editora Amauta.Google Scholar
  41. ———. 1999. Coloniality and Modernity/Rationality. In Globalizations and Modernities, European and Latin American Experiences and Perspectives, ed. Goran Therborn, 41–51. Stockholm: Furksningradnamnden.Google Scholar
  42. ———. 2000. Coloniality of Power, Eurocentrism, and Latin America. Nepantla: Views from South 1 (3): 533–580.Google Scholar
  43. Rich, Adrienne. 1986. Blood, Bread, and Poetry: Selected Prose, 1979–1985. New York: Norton.Google Scholar
  44. ———. 2003. Notes Towards a Politics of Location. In A Feminist in the Forest: Situated Knowledges and Mixing Methods in Natural Resource Management, ed. A. Nightingale, 29–42. ACME. 2:1.Google Scholar
  45. Ueshiba, Morihei. 2010. The Art of Peace. Boston: Shambhala.Google Scholar
  46. Unesco Chair for Peace Studies. 2014. Active Listening. Accessed 30 July 2017.
  47. Yancy, George. 2017. Black Bodies, White Gazes: The Continuing Significance of Race in America. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jennifer M. Murphy
    • 1
  1. 1.Notre Dame de Namur UniversityBelmontUSA

Personalised recommendations