The Bartlett Development Planning Unit


Learning Activism: A conversation with Aziz Choudry

11 March 2019, 11:00 am–12:30 pm

Learning Activism

Event Information

Open to





Robert Biel


DPU Room 201
34 Tavistock Square

Learning Activism: A conversation with Aziz Choudry
Convenor: Robert Biel

We now face a momentous task: effecting a transition to a new era of sustainability and social justice. This has got to be a movement of the whole of society, exploring the energies of self-organisation instead of fossil fuels. Yet the existing system blocks this, polarising society and increasingly marginalising the vast majority (a pernicious process expressed in many issues of urbanism).

The only way to understand today’s social reality is to engage with struggles to change it. There’s a new kind of knowledge we need to access… which is also in some sense a return, to indigenous principles about the relations between society and nature. This is a challenge which mainsteam academic approaches are ill-equipped to meet, a problem acutely relevant to the practical issues we confront in formulating research projects or PhD proposals.

Participatory methods or action research can help, but what they tend to miss is precisely the crucial thing: that social movements are not just objectively forging new structures, but are also actively engaged in generating knowledge through an iterative process of self-reflection. It is this key issue, among others, which Aziz Choudry has addressed, through the notion of activist scholarship which his ongoing work is continually helping to define.

Speaker Bio
Aziz Choudry is associate professor and Canada Research Chair in Social Movement, Learning, and Knowledge Production in the Department of Integrated Studies in Education at McGill University and Visiting Professor at the Centre for Education Rights and Transformation, University of Johannesburg.