Peter McLaren’s work occupies a very special place which has grown in its specificity and character and this needs to be strongly identified, uniquely appreciated and further articulated in order to be understood. I would argue that while sustaining a huge share of what is now identified with critical pedagogy, Peter McLaren must be seen from beyond those confines as his work moves even beyond education itself.... If I were to place McLaren’s depiction somewhere in the historical evolution of European art, I would say that it claims its humanist origin in the Late Renaissance, by which it then acclaims the radicalism of a Caravaggio and Tintoretto, fighting for human redemption through its stark realism. On the other hand, unlike McLaren, Illich’s depiction often verges between the Medieval and Early Renaissance, by which his reticence on full-blown humanism reveals a sense of careful subtlety; the reason being that of gaining a necessary methodological distance, by which the present is analyzed in full historiographical fashion ...A desired utopia—an ou topos, a no placethat as yet does not seem to exist—is what makes one’s outlook revolutionary. Here the Christian message is put across as a narrative which at the very best would put one on the receiving end of immense hostility, and at its worse it would lose one’s life, as McLaren goes to show in citing his own hagiography of personalities whom he affectionately considers as “comrades”: from Jesus to Che Guevara, from Paulo Freire to Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez. In citing such a hagiography of the Revolution, McLaren feels the need to impress on his readers that the desire for struggle is a sign of being human: “How is it possible to follow the message of Christ when his dire warnings about economic inequality are ignored?” asks McLaren. “If you accept Christ as your personal savior and support a system that creates inequality and injustice, then what does this say? This goes beyond whether you vote for a Democrat or a Republican. It is at the heart of the struggle to be human.”
Referring to McLaren's book, Che Guevara, Paulo Freire and the Pedagogy of Revolution," Slavoj Žižek writes: "Che Guevara is usually perceived as a Romantic model whom we should admire, while pursuing our daily business as usual—the most perverse defense against what Che stood for. What McLaren's fascinating book demonstrates is that, on the contrary, Che is a model for our times, a figure we should imitate in our struggle against neoliberal global capitalism." Paula Allman notes that Che Guevara, Paulo Freire and the Pedagogy of Revolution is a "brilliant blend of passion, commitment, and critical analysis and insight. (...) It is also one of the most important books on critical education, and thus also education and social justice, to have been written in the twentieth century."
Of McLaren’s book, Pedagogy of Insurrection, Leona English writes:
Pedagogy of Insurrection represents an integration of McLaren’s critical pedagogy work
with his understanding and belief in Jesus and the revolutionary Christianity that he founded.
McLaren finds inspiration in liberation theologians such as Gutiérrez, Marxist comrades from all over, and most especially the life of Jesus, whom he names as a revolutionary. McLaren builds on his lifetime of scholarship in opposing neo‑liberal education, unbridled capitalism, and systemic oppression, and weaves his understanding of a radical Christian message through it.
Praise for Professor McLaren's graphic novel/comic book for the new generation of political activists, Breaking Free: The Life and Times of Peter McLaren, published in April, 2019.
“The indomitable Peter McLaren is the living embodiment of critical pedagogy, a truly radical ed- ucator who has always been interested in stretching the limits of genre to explore, innovate and communicate. In the comic Breaking Free we see his ability to reinvent himself and communicate himself and his ideas afresh. That’s why we all love him.”
Michael A. Peters, Distinguished Professor at Beijing Normal University, China, Emeritus Professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
“Albert Einstein once said that a life lived in the service of others is a life worth living. Now comes the story of Peter McLaren. The life and times of this renowned radical educator, as recountedin these engaging pages, holds up a mirror in whose reflection we see the great aspirations ofour age. At once a piece of art, social criticism, and critical pedagogy, here is a portrait of the contemporary struggles of the oppressed, told to the backdrop of McLaren’s biography. Nothing less than a modern epic!”
William I. Robinson, Author of Into the Tempest: Essays on the New Global Capitalism
“A valuable sort of “McLaren for Beginners” in which Peter offers his own Pedagogy of Hope inthe stylistic tradition of Zap Comix! The resulting graphic memoir is a radically socialist and coun tercultural portrait of a life imaged both as and on behalf of the attempted humanization of the world. Critical pedagogy by any means necessary...”
Richard Kahn, Ph.D., Antioch University, Los Angeles
“A wonderfully colorful, creative, radical, and lively way to bring together the lived history of an individual with the larger historical struggle for a more just world—indeed a revolutionary message for our times.”
Antonia Darder, Leavey Endowed Chair in Ethics and Leadership,Loyola Marymount University
““Globally esteemed and erudite critical pedagogy icon McLaren, once again breaks new ground, collaborating with illustrator Miles Wilson, creating an autobiography that is one and the same time a Manifesto for a socialist alternative to capitalism. The images, darkly humorous, present a serious challenge for a new generation of youth.”
Bernardo Gallegos, Professor, National University, Los Angeles
“A comic book! A comic book! But there’s nothing really comic about this graphic autobi- ography by one of our era’s most creative philosophers of education. After branching out from Paulo Freire to liberation theology, Peter McLaren’s poetic genius and astounding imagination have outdone themselves here with “Pow!”, “Crash!”, and “Bang!” that will leave readers inspired, breathless and smiling with delight.”
Mike Rivage-Seul, Emeritus professor of Peace and Social Justice Studies,Berea College
“How was the radical educator educated? Find out here, as Peter McLaren leads us through the liberatory labyrinth of his life—from Toronto to San Francisco, Chiapas to Caracas, Azania to Anatolia, UCLA to the PRC. Meet his superhero comrades from Hugo Chavez to Che Guevara’s daughter. Sail with him as he tacks between the turbulent tides of his allies Timothy Leary and Allen Ginsberg. Meet the teacher’s teachers—Umberto Eco and Michel Foucault, Paolo Freire and Joel Kovel. The script is Professor Xavier meets The Invisibles. The illustrations are The Yellow Submarine meets Fantastic Planet, and/or Dragonball Z meets Transmetropolitan. Look out Avengers and Justice League! Breaking free of the artificial scarcity on superpowers, UCLA’s most dangerous professor is here, armed with critical pedagogy and Marxist spirituality, to fight against bad schools and bad government, and to help us all join the revolution against the capitalist world-system and its national security states.”
Quincy Saul, author/editor of Truth and Dare: A Comic Book Curriculum for the End and the Beginning of the World
"With word balloons, dramatic action sequences, narrative succinctness, deeply personal transformational shifts, rich diachronic development, cameo-like appearances, genuine humor, and intellectual depth, Breaking Free performs itself. The text not only narrates the pivotal experiences and influences that shaped the intellectual and praxis-orientated life of Peter McLaren, but the comic book format, with its visual textual genius, breaks free from the turgid style of so many intellectual autobiographies. The color and textual graphic detail renders the life of a very significant radical educator accessible, engagingly funny, unforgettable, and painfully germane as we face the toxicity, madness, and dangers of the Trumpian project of neo-fascism and the spread of right-wing authoritarianism that is designed precisely to keep us in a state of perpetual unfreedom. Breaking Free is not a static narration, but a dynamic call to action.
George Yancy, Professor of Philosophy at Emory University and author of Backlash: What Happens When We Talk Honestly about Racism in America
Born to a working-class family in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, in 1948, and raised in both Toronto, Ontario and Winnipeg, Manitoba, Professor McLaren taught elementary and middle school from 1974-1979, and most of that time was spent teaching in Canada’s largest public housing complex located in Toronto’s Jane-Finch Corridor. Cries from the Corridor, McLaren's book about his teaching experiences, made the Canadian bestseller list and was one of the top ten bestselling books in Canada in 1980 (MacLean's Magazine), initiating a country-wide debate on the status of inner-city schools.
Professor McLaren also worked as a consultant for the National Film Board of Canada and served on the Canadian Cancer Society Educational Subcommittee, 1980-83. While a doctoral candidate, he developed a pilot television program called Kidding Around for Multicultural TV. Professor McLaren earned his doctorate in 1984, and served the following year as Special Lecturer in Education at Brock University where he specialized in teaching language arts in urban schools. Professor McLaren moved to the United States in 1985 to help create The Center for Education and Cultural Studies at Miami University of Ohio where he served as Director and held the title of Renowned Scholar-in-Residence and taught from 1985-1993. Professor McLaren then taught at the University of California, Los Angeles from 1985-2013 as a Professor in the Division of Urban Schooling at the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies. Professor McLaren is a dual Canadian-American citizen, having become a US citizen in 2000. Professor McLaren holds Honorary Doctorates from The University of Lapland, Finland, the Universidad del Salvador, Buenos Aires, Argentina and Universidad Nacional de Chilecito, Argentina.
Professor McLaren is the author and editor of nearly 50 books and his writings have been translated into over 25 languages. Five of his books have won the Critic's Choice Award of the American Educational Studies Association. Professor McLaren's book, Life in Schools: An Introduction to Critical Pedagogy in the Foundations of Education (New York: Routledge), has been named one of the 12 most significant writings by foreign authors in the field of educational theory, policy and practice by the Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences; the list includes Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire and Deschooling Society by Ivan Illich and books by Pierre Bourdieu and Howard Gardner.
The charter for La Fundacion McLaren de Pedagogia Critica was signed at the University of Tijuana in July, 2004 and was later moved to Ensenada, Mexico under the title, Instituto McLaren de Pedagogia Critica y Educacion Popular. Instituto McLaren offers courses, degrees and training in popular education and has been named in Professor McLaren’s honor.
Professor McLaren worked closely with educators in Venezuela to develop programs in critical literacy and critical pedagogy as part of the Bolivarian Revolution initiated by the late President Hugo Chavez.
Professor McLaren is associated with Chapman’s historical commitment to the memory of Paulo Freire, as demonstrated by the university’s Freire archive collection and the only known North American bust of the great Brazilian pedagogical theorist. In 2014, Professor McLaren donated his extensive collection of Latin American revolutionary art to Chapman’s Leatherby Libraries and has also donated his papers and numerous personal artifacts to Chapman’s Paulo Freire Archives. A scholar and activist whose written work and educational activism attempts to reflect the goals and educational practices developed by his mentor, Paulo Freire, Professor McLaren is a frequent international speaker whose work has a global reach.
Professor McLaren is married to Wang Yan (Angie) of Harbin, China. Both Angie and Peter are devoted Chapman Panther football and basketball fans and Peter still roots for his beloved Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team. A devout Catholic, Professor McLaren is a member of Holy Family Cathedral in Orange, California. Among his heroes he includes the late Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador, Marxist theorist Raya Dunayevskaya and Brazil’s legendary educator, Paulo Freire.
Comité scientifique Université Paris Est Créteil Val de Marne École supérieure du professorat et de l’éducation de Créteil, Penser l’intersectionnalité dans les recherches en éducation: enquêtes, terrains, theories (18 et 19 mai 2017)
Recent Awards and Honors
Teaching and Research Interests
Philosophy and history of education, curriculum theory, critical pedagogy, critical ethnography, political sociology of education, critical theory, Marxist theory, revolutionary social movements, critical race theory, social justice education, liberation theology and critical spirituality.
McLaren, Peter and Monzo, Lilia. (in press). Growing the Revolutionary Intellectual, Creating the Counter-Public Sphere. In Patricia Leavy, editor. Oxford Handbook for Methods for Public Scholarship. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Foreword. (2017). In E. Wayne Ross. Rethinking Social Studies: Critical Pedagogy in Pursuit of Dangerous Citizenship. (xiii-xi). Charlotte, North Carolina. Information Age Publishers.
Foreword. (2016). Questos da Educacao. (pp. 7-10). Marcia Moraes, Editor. Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. Ventura.
McLaren, Peter (in press). Interview. In Freire, Paulo. (in press). The 50th anniversary edition of Pedagogy of the Oppressed. London: Bloomsbury Publishers.
Monzó, L.D. & McLaren, P. (2016). Challenging the violence and invisibility against women of Color – A Marxist imperative. Iberoamérica Social: revista-red de estudios sociales.
(with Monzó, L.D. & Rodriguez, A.). Deploying guns to expendable communities: Bloodshed in Mexico, US imperialism and transnational capital – A call for revolutionary critical pedagogy. Cultural Studies/Critical Methodologies, 2016
Monzó, L.D. & McLaren, P. (2015). Pedagogy of possibility: Socialism on the way to “deep democracy.” Anthropology & Education Quarterly, 46(4). 339-341.
Monzó, L.D. & McLaren, P. (2015). Women and violence in the age of migration. Iberoamérica Social: revista-red de estudios sociales, June 10. Retrievedhttp://iberoamericasocial.com/women-and-violence-in-the-age-of-migration/
McLaren, P. (2016). Critical pedagogy and class struggle in the age of neoliberal terror. In Kumar R. (Ed.). Neoliberalism, Critical Pedagogy and Education. (19-67). London: Routledge.
McLaren, P. & Monzó, L.D. (2016). Reclaiming Che! A pedagogy of love and revolution toward a socialist alternative. In Ness, I. & Maty Bâ, S. (Eds.). Palgrave Encyclopedia of Imperialism and Anti-Imperialism. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.
McLaren, P. & Monzó, L.D. (in preparation). (Eds.). Revolutionary Marxism and Education (special issue). Knowledge Cultures.
McLaren, P. & Monzó, L.D. (Eds.). Revolutionary Marxism and Education [Expanded version of Knowledge Cultures, special issue) to appear as an edited book in the series, Education and Struggle. Peter Lang. (in preparation).
(with Monzó, L.D.). (in press). A Response to G. Tanaka Presidential Address to Anthropology and Education Council, American Anthropological Association. Manuscript in prep for Anthropology and Education Quarterly.
(with Monzó, L.D.). (2015) The future is Marx: Bringing back class and changing the world – A moral imperative. In M.Y. Remain & B. Bruce (Eds.), International Handbook of Progressive Education. PEGEM.
Reflections on Paulo Freire, Critical Pedagogy, and the Current Crisis of Capitalism. In Michael Peters and Tina Besley, eds. Paulo Freire: The Global Legacy. New York: Peter Lang Publishers. 2015, pp. 17-38
McLaren, P. (2015). Self and social formation and the political project of teaching: Some reflections. In Porfilio, B. J. & Ford, D. R. (Eds.). Leaders in Critical Pedagogy: Narratives for Understanding and Solidarity, (127-140). Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.
McLaren, P. & Jandrić, P. (2015). The critical challenge of networked learning: using information technologies in the service of humanity. In Jandrić, P. & Boras, D. (Eds.), Critical learning in digital networks, (pp. 199-226). New York: Springer.
Monzó, L.D. & McLaren, P. (2015). Marked for labor: Latina bodies and transnational capital – A critical pedagogy approach. For C.R. Monroe, (Ed.), Race and colorism in education. New York: Routledge.
Monzo, L.D. & McLaren, P. (2015). Critical pedagogy: Past, present, and future. In M.Y. Eryaman & B. Bruce (Eds.), International Handbook of Progressive Education. PEGEM.
McLaren, P. (2015). Red Bones: Toward a Pedagogy of Common Struggle: Response 2. In Grande, S. Red Pedagogy: Native American Social and Political Thought (Tenth Anniversary Edition), (99-108). Lanham • Boulder • New York • London:Rowman & Littlefield.
Pedagogy of Insurrection. (2015). New York: Peter Lang Publishers
The Abode of Educational Production: In Interview with Peter McLaren. (2015) Alternate Routes: A Journal of Critical Social Research. Volume 26.
McLaren, P. This Fist Called My Heart: The Peter McLaren Reader. Edited by Marc Pruyn and Luis Huerta Charles. Charlotte, North Carolina, Information Age Publishers, 2015.
Petar Jandrić and Peter McLaren. (2014). Critical revolutionary pedagogy is made by walking – in a world where many worlds coexist. Policy Futures in Education, 12(6), pp. 805-831.
McLaren, P. (2014). Life in Schools (6th edition). Boulder, Colorado: Paradigm Press (Now Routledge, U.S. and London).
Lilia D. Monzó & Peter McLaren. (2014). Critical Pedagogy and the Decolonial Option: challenges to the inevitability of capitalism, Policy Futures in Education, 12(4), pages 513‑525.
Peter McLaren (2014) Education Agonistes: an epistle to the transnational capitalist class, Policy Futures in Education, 12(4), 583-610.
Peter McLaren. (2013). Reflections on Love and Revolution, International Journal of Critical Pedagogy, volume 5, no. 1, pp. 1-10.
Peter McLaren. (2013). Seeds of Resistance: Towards a Revolutionary Critical Ecopedagogy. Socialist Studies / Études socialistes, Vol 9, No 1: 84-108
Peter McLaren. (2012). La Pedagogia Critica Revolucionaria: El Socialismo y los Desafios Actuales. Buenos Aires: Herramienta Ediciones.
Peter McLaren. (2012). Objection Sustained: revolutionary pedagogical praxis as an occupying force, Policy Futures in Education, Volume 10 Number 4, pp. 487-495.
Peter McLaren. (2012). Revolutionary Critical Pedagogy for a Socialist Society: A Manifesto. The Capilano Review. 3(13), 2012, pp. 61-66.
Peter McLaren. (2011). The Death Rattle of the American Mind. Cultural Studies/Critical Methodologies. Volume 11, no. 4, pp. 373-385.
McLaren, P., Macrine, S., and Hill, D, (Eds). (2010). Revolutionizing Pedagogy: Educating for Social Justice Within and Beyond Global Neo-liberalism. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
Nocella, A., Best, S., & McLaren, P. (Eds.) (2010). Academic Repression: Reflections from the Academic Industrial Complex. San Francisco: AK Press.
Sandlin, J.A. & McLaren, P. (Eds.). (2009). Critical Pedagogies of Consumption: Living and Learning in the Shadow of the "Shopocalypse”. New York and London: Routledge.
McLaren, P., & Jaramillo, N. (2007). Pedagogy and Praxis in the Age of Empire: Towards a New Humanism. Rotterdam and Tapei: Sense Publishers.
McLaren, P. (2006). Rage and Hope: Interviews with Peter McLaren on War, Imperialism and Critical Pedagogy. Peter Lang Publishers, New York.
McLaren, P. (2005). Life in Schools (5th edition). New York: Allyn & Bacon.
McLaren, P. (2005). Capitalists and Conquerors: Critical Pedagogy Against Empire. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman and Littlefield.
McLaren, P. & Farahmandpur, R. (2005). Teaching Against Global Capitalism and the New Imperialism. A Critical Pedagogy. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman and Littlefield.
McLaren, P. (2000). Che Guevara, Paulo Freire, and the Pedagogy of Revolution. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman and Littlefield.
Books About Professor McLaren’s Work
Professor McLaren's work has been the subject of four books: Teaching Peter McLaren: Paths of Dissent, edited by Marc Pruyn and Luis M. Huerta-Charles (New York: Peter Lang Publications) [translated into Spanish as De La Pedagogia Critica a la pedagogia de la Revolucion: Ensayos Para Comprender a Peter McLaren, Mexico City, Siglo Veintiuno Editores]; Peter McLaren, Education, and the Struggle for Liberation, edited by Mustafa Eryaman (New Jersey: Hampton Press); Crisis of Commonwealth: Marcuse, Marx, McLaren, edited by Charles Reitz. (2014) and This Fist Called My Heart: The Peter McLaren Reader. Edited by Marc Pruyn and Luis Huerta-Charles, editors. Charlotte, North Carolina. Information Age Publishers (2015).