Richard Kahn, PhD

Core Faculty, MA in Education

Biography

Richard Kahn is an anarchist educator whose primary interests are in researching the history of social movements as pedagogically generative forces in society, and in critically challenging the role dominant institutions play in blocking the realization of greater planetary freedom, peace, and happiness. In 2007, he graduated with a PhD from UCLA with a specialization in the philosophy and history of education. While a student there, he published widely with his mentor, the renowned critical theorist Douglas Kellner. Together, they have authored oft-cited and collected pieces on the radically democratic potentials of educational new media like blogs, wikis, and the social networks, as well as of the importance of online subcultures such as hacktivism. In 2002, Kahn himself began an early weblog, Vegan Blog: The (Eco)Logical Weblog, that went on to receive press attention from places such as CBS Marketwatch, MSNBC, and CSPAN.

An alter-globalization activist, Kahn has been at the forefront of championing and organizing what he terms, “total liberation politics,” that seek to advocate for nonhuman animals, the biosphere as a sacred entity, and social justice through systemic transformation. Such politics, he argues, constitute an ecopedagogy movement that opposes the globalization of capitalism, white supremacy, patriarchy, speciesism, other aligned hegemonic ideologies, and the further worldwide development of the military-industrial complex generally. Kahn’s writing and teaching to date have thus sought to synthesize the field of critical pedagogy with types of ecological and vegan education in order to arrive at a radical education for sustainability that seeks both individual and collective emancipation.

Kahn’s main teaching interests lie in working with students towards the production of critical and creative forms of ecoliteracy; transformative understandings of the history of education as a political endeavor; and research as a potentially humanizing and community-building act of self-exploration.

 

“We currently face unprecedented educational challenges today such as planetary climate change, mass extinction of species, a burgeoning and ever-more mobile population, as well as the myriad social problems posed by global economic restructuring and rapid technological development across the world. In my work, I help people to think about how formal educational institutions such as schools (at all levels), the media, the criminal justice system, organized religion and the like, as well as a host of nonformal types of education like social movements and types of popular or alternative subculture, are attempting to understand and address these challenges. Also, critically, I assist people in knowing where these sustainability challenges are being dangerously under-addressed or, in some cases, actually being made worse through various educational ventures.” Richard Kahn