“You Don’t Build Bridges to Safe and Familiar Territories”: Study Abroad Practice Based in Reconciliation as Falling Apart
Keywords:Reconciliation, study abroad, transitional justice, nepantla
This three-part series of articles draws on critical engagement with the concept of reconciliation and its discontents as part of the author’s on-going work via the Employing Study Abroad for Peace and Reconciliation Project (under the Commonwealth Peace and Reconciliation Challenge Grant, Association of Commonwealth Universities). Transitional justice is laden with the same vocabulary of “addressing institutional gaps” by exporting “best practice” and ultimately “building capacity” that plague parlance in international higher education and even so in both fields “catch-up” for some seems always aspirational, never realized. Transitional justice scholars and practitioners, like their counterparts in international higher education, are looking for ways to nourish their fields with plurality by making room for context. Both fields, in recent memory, have initiated the process of confronting entrenched interests and the monocultures of practice that eclipsed their worthy original goals. Anzaldua’s (2002, p. 3) imagination of bridging as “the work of opening the gate to the stranger, within and without” is channelled to outline an alternative paradigm of international education grounded in justice. Part I surveys critiques of experiments in reconciliation conducted around the world to find that they have left continuity of hegemonic worldviews and sociability unchallenged. The aim is to relate a new understanding of reconciliation with higher education internationalization practice, particularly study abroad, drawing on Anzaldua’s (2002, p. 3) imagination of bridging as “the work of opening the gate to the stranger, within and without”.
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