UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Educational projects for decolonization : anti-authoritarian allyship and resistance education in the Americas Meza-Wilson, Anthony


This thesis covers the topic of decolonizing anti-authoritarian educational spaces in North America. It outlines historical perspectives on anarchist and anti-authoritarian alternative educational movements that are non-coercive and opposed to hierarchy including the free skool, Modern School, unschooling, and the free university. Further, it examines indigenous educational spaces that originate in decolonizing social justice struggles such as the survival schools, intercultural bilingual education, and educación autonoma. The analysis focuses around discursive practices by free skools in producing a vision of freedom and liberation, and enacting a decolonization agenda. The thesis draws on theory by indigenous women, most centrally Sandy Grande and Linda Tuhiwai Smith, as a way of engaging anti-authoritarian education for decolonization with a critical indigenous lens. The first section of analysis consists of content analysis of web-based free skool mission statements. I code for discursive units that refer to forms of freedom and liberation, defined as overcoming oppressions presented by Iris Marion Young in Five Faces of Oppression. The results of this quantitative analysis demonstrate that free skools, in mission statements, have a tendency to prefer addressing labor/consumer exploitation and powerlessness as sites of oppression significantly more frequently than cultural imperialism, the site of oppression where colonialism is enacted. This demonstrates that free skools place a value in their mission statements of discursively engaging a limited vision of freedom and liberation that disproportionately excludes decolonization in envisioning liberation. The second section of analysis focuses on documents such as curriculum, readings, and personal narratives produced for and by decolonizing anti-authoritarian educational projects such as Unsettling Minnesota, the Purple Thistle Institute, and POOR Magazine's PeopleSkool. My engagement with these documents has determined that in many ways these projects find affinity with the work of Sandy Grande and Linda Tuhiwai Smith. In this way, the documents are useful in understanding a theoretically supported anti-authoritarian education for decolonization and in the formulation of future work that can build upon this base.

Item Media

Item Citations and Data


Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported