Does Knowledge Have a Sell by Date?

Naomi Klein’s controversial book and subsequent film adaptation, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate (2014 and 2015 respectively), was meant to give a new take on the issue of the relationship between the current dominant economic model and the price our planet has to pay for its success. To many of its critics the book/film only rehash well-trodden arguments and offer unrealistic or downright silly solutions, their damning verdict is that in fact the book and film do not ...

Who’s an “Indian”?: classification and implications

Who’s indigenous? And does it matter? These are significant questions, with significant answers. They are relevant to TOK both through the new area of knowledge, indigenous knowledge, and an old area of knowledge, ethics – as well as to all the ways of knowing involved in classifying our concepts. Two stories in this past month’s news bring them to life: a court contest in Canada about who is classified as “aboriginal” and a conflict in Tanzania over whether indigenous people ...

Schooling the World: free preview this month

Schooling the World has just announced that their film  is available this month for free preview.  Schooling the World: The White Man's Last Burden is now streamed with subtitles in eleven languages.  Its free downloadable discussion guide has abundant material that is fairly easily re-framed to make it explicitly relevant to TOK. I recommend this film highly as background for Indigenous Knowledge.  It prompts some giant knowledge questions about shared knowledge in different cultures -- what knowledge is considered most important, how ...

How ever did they manage?

“How ever did they manage?” I’ve spent today at the Mesa Verde World Heritage Site  in Colorado, tromping around pueblo sites and gazing at the cliff dwelling houses of the native peoples of the American southwest. It’s hot out – too hot. How ever did the people get water to drink and irrigate their corn? Simply eating and drinking in this arid environment would be such a problem. Then what comes to my mind is one definition I’ve read of ...

Indigenous Knowledge: definition, implications, and controversy

About all areas of knowledge, we ask questions that take us straight to methodology and social context. Who owns knowledge? How is it passed on as shared knowledge, and within what controls of methodology or power? We may think instantly of the sciences, and even controversies over current scientific conclusions and scientific products (e.g. medicines and technologies). Yet some of the oldest knowledge in the world is equally ignited by these knowledge questions, which burn hotly in our news. As ...

TOK changes: not just “optional extras”

How does imagination interact with sense perception and memory? The new WOK change the way we deal with the old. A revised version of a course presents no particular problems for teachers new to the course in any case. They enter the new version as if the course has always been that way, and can quickly become bored listening to experienced teachers make comparisons – irrelevant comparisons -- between the old and the new.   If you are new to TOK, ...

indigenous knowledge and western science

“When engaging in ... comparative analysis of different world views,” declares author Ray Barnhardt,  “any generalizations should be recognized as indicative and not definitive, since indigenous knowledge systems are diverse themselves and are constantly adapting and changing in response to new conditions.” Accepting this need to be cautious in judgment and to recognize trends and general characteristics, a TOK teacher could gain a number of good ideas for class from this excellent article, “Indigenous Knowledge Systems/ Alaska Native Ways of Knowing”. As ...