updated April 4, 2007

David Kinsey Dialogue Series

David Chapin Kinsey

The David Kinsey Dialogue Series was established in memory of our beloved colleague, David Chapin Kinsey. David touched countless lives in the course of his 40 years as a dedicated, brilliant and outstanding educator, helping people everywhere to inquire, explore and discover the world and themselves. Between 1975 and 1998 David Kinsey served as a faculty member of the School of Education in the Center for International Education at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. The Kinsey Dialogue Series is dedicated to upholding his legacy by keeping alive his passionate vision for a better world.

Kinsey Dialogue Series Presenters:
2007: Peter McLaren
2006: Helen Abadzi
2005: Charlotte O'Neal
2004: Roger Hart
2003: Patricia Maguire
2002: Srilatha Batliwala
2001: Jan Visser
2000: Eileen Kane
1999: Orlando Fals Borda

Peter McLaren - 2007 Kinsey Dialogue Series

Revolutionary Critical Pedagogy Against Empire

Friday, March 30, 2007 - 4:30PM
Thompson Hall - Room 102
University of Massachusetts, Amherst

The Center for International Education at UMass/Amherst is delighted to welcome Professor Peter McLaren to campus for the the ninth annual Kinsey Dialogue Series in honor of the late Professort David Kinsey.

Professor Peter McLaren's talk will focus on McLaren's development of what he calls revolutionary critical pedagogy". It will be a wide-ranging talk, addressing the dangers inherent in current capitalist development and its relationship to US imperialist practices, as well as problems in federal educational policy and the privatization of education. McLaren will evaluate current limitations and possibilities within the critical educational tradition, paying particular attention to the role of the educator as scholar and activist. Drawing upon the tradition of Marxist-humanism, McLaren will chart out some goals for the future development of critical pedagogy. Professor McLaren will also discuss some of the work he has been doing in Venezuela and Mexico.

Peter McLaren is a professor in the Division of Urban Schooling, the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, University of California, Los Angeles. He is the author and editor of over forty books. An award-winning author, McLaren's writings have been translated into twenty languages. Recently, the Peter McLaren Chair was created at the Bolivarian University of Venezuela and two foundations have been created in Professor McLaren's name: La Fundacion McLaren de Pedagogia Critica in Mexicoand PLM Worldwide in Toronto, Canada. Professor McLaren's work is the subject of two scholarly books: Teaching Peter McLaren: Paths of Dissent, edited by Marc Pruyn and Luis Huerta Charles (Peter Lang Publications, 2005) and Peter McLaren and the Pedagogy of Liberation: The Educator as Revolutionary, edited by Mustafa Eryaman (Hampton Press, in press). Recently McLaren's work has come under attack by right wing groups, prompting McLaren to be placed at the top of UCLA's "Dirty Thirty" list of 'dangerous' professors.

Click Here for pictures and brief summary of the dialogue activities.

Organized and Presented by The Center for International Education at UMass

Co-Sponsors Include

The EPRA, SDPPS, TECS Departments in the School of Education; The Communications Dept - all at UMass

English Dept at Amherst College; Dept of Psychology & Education at Mt. Holyoke College; Critical Studies of Childhood, Youth & Learning at Hampshire College;

The Five College Lecture Fund.

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Helen Abadzi - 2006 Kinsey Dialogue Series

Pedagogy for the poor in low-income countries:
A search for insights from psychological research

April 28, 2006 at 4:30pm
Isenberg School of Management - Room 106

This year the Kinsey Series features Dr. Helen Abadzi, who seeks to apply scientific understanding of the brain to practical problems of literacy and learning.. Helen is a Greek educational psychologist with a doctorate from the University of Texas at Arlington.  Since 1987 Helen has worked as an education specialist and senior evaluation officer in the World Bank. She is interested in the applications of cognitive science and memory research to improve the education of the poor - adults as well as children.

For the last 10 years Helen has been in the World Bank's Operations Evaluation Department, where her job has been to 'audit' completed education projects.  She has used her ability to learn languages fast (she has attained a decent standard at some point in life in 17 spoken languages, plus 3 dead ones) to facilitate an appreciation of the learning and performance problems in literacy in various low income countries where she has evaluated World Bank projects.

Her experiences have influenced her exploration of various sources of learning-analysis, including cognitive and educational psychology, neuropsychology, and even social psychology. Her findings have influenced her belief that many answers to learning challenges clearly exist, and perceptive educators can understand and apply them in making teaching more efficient. Helen is also of the view that benchmarks and solutions exist in particular for the lower-level skills of reading, language, and perhaps math, where low-income students become deficient early on.  

Background reading in preparation for her visit can be found below.

Adult Illiteracy, Brain Architecture, and Empowerment of the Poor

Honduras Basic Education Project - Evaluation

Dr. Abadzi will also facilitate a workshop on Saturday April 29, from 10am to 12:30pm at the Center for International Education, 285 Hills South, UMass. We invite you to attend.
for further information, please contact CIE at 413-545-0465

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Charlotte O'Neal - 2005 Kinsey Dialogue Series

The Spirit of the Panther Lives On:
Art, Youth, and Social Action in Tanzania

For the Kinsey Dialogue this year CIE invited Charlotte O'Neal  of the United African Alliance Community Center (UAACC), based in Tanzania. Charlotte and her husband Peter, former Black Panthers, have established a remarkable program of community development, activism, art and drama, which plays host to visitors around the world.  For more details see the web site for UAACC.

For two days in April CIE hosted Charlotte Hill O'Neal. The first evening Charlotte screened the award winning documentary film "A Panther in Africa" which chronicles the life of her husband, Pete O'Neal, from street hustler to Black Panther chairman to the director of the United African Alliance Community Center UAACC) in Arusha, Tanzania.  Charlotte shared with the audience about the community work that takes place at UAACC and engaged in storytelling and poetry reading.  The event was held in The Red Barn at Hampshire College which provided a perfect location to display many of her original art pieces along with art from the many artists at UAACC. The event included a reception and a celebration of art and community.  


On the following morning, Charlotte hosted a workshop on art and community development and UAACC. The workshop was held at CIE in Hills South.

During this workshop she discussed in depth the history and work of UAACC and the role of art and youth in community development and social action as it relates to the Arusha area of Tanzania and their exchange city of Kansaa City, Kansas.  She focused on what can be done to encourage more people, particularly youth, to become involved in social action and community change.  She also displayed a power point slide show as well as films created by the youth of UAACC.  She engaged participants in activities that encourage them to think of ways to develop and sustain communities where they are.  There was also discussion about ways in which UMass students can travel to UAACC to learn more about Tanzania, Africa, youth, art, and social change by living at UAACC and volunteering their skills and knowledge.

Roger Hart - 2004 Kinsey Dialogue Series

The Center for International Education sponsored the Sixth annual Kinsey Dialogue event in April 2004 at the University of Massachusetts. The Kinsey Dialogue series was pleased to present Roger Hart, Professor of Environmental and Developmental Psychology (CUNY) and co-Director of the Children’s Environment Research Group.

The Worlds We Make for Children:
Thinking Critically of Space, Place and the Material World in Children’s Learning

Roger Hart's Commitment to Children

The presentation began with an historical discussion of developmental psychology and what it knew (and didn't know) about children. According to Dr. Hart, a very large part of what psychologists knew of children thirty years ago was from laboratory studies where the physical environment was intentionally removed. In fact, we knew remarkably little about the everyday lives of children. He said that more was known of the ways that baboons interacted with their physical environment than the same relationship for children. This led him to conduct dissertation research on the ways in which gender, age, and class affect the ways in which children engage their environment. It became a story of how space is negotiated and controlled and how that is affected by power and privilege. He showed how in schools, homes, residential landscapes and public spaces the physical environment is arranged differently in relation to ideologies of childhood, beliefs about child rearing, and to power

Roger Hart expressed his deep commitments to the dignity and integrity of children, to participation broadly construed, and to the spaces we create for children. Commenting that "we know remarkably little about the everyday lives of children," he described how children are increasingly constrained in private spaces that are controlled and regulated. He argued that this has implications for the development of democracy and civil society, inclusion and exclusion, as children are not given opportunities to develop their creative and cooperative capacities. Open public spaces afford children opportunities to engage in creative acts as they engage with a diverse environment. Middle-class families increasingly control, homogenize and commodify their children's environments. A kind of hyper vigilance is expressed, grounded in adult fears for children's safety and security. In contrast, children in poorer neighborhoods claim space - whether sidewalks or vacant lots or untilled plots of land - and build community together. Children will do what they need to do to make their environments interesting - this fosters the diversity of experience and engagement that encourages self-reliance, agency, and the building of community.

A major theme of his talk focused on children's agency. Critiquing current urban planning models, Roger noted that urban space is designed around the automobile rather than children. Modern playgrounds also received scrutiny as spaces that constrain particular forms of play. Referencing the Convention on the Rights of the Child, he argued that children must participate in designing their own learning: You don't design for play; you create opportunities for children to design play, if you believe in agency. According to Dr. Hart, the loss of democratic, public spaces and the rise of private spaces may have implications for democracy, inclusiveness, and social capital. He used examples from Columbia, Bangladesh, Japan and several European countries to illustrate ways in which the barriers of planning and individualism are being overcome, and children are once again creating community and sharing public space.

A second theme was diversity. Roger noted that we must design spaces for children that foster diverse relationships, opportunities for creativity, and problem-solving if we want to foster human diversity and learning. Differentiated spaces lead to differentiated actions, encouraging children to behave in ways we can't imagine.

His talk ended with a call for us to think about physical environments and the futures of children - what is the ideology expressed in the constructed environment? What opportunities do they give children to create? Learn to live together? Solve problems? We should let children have control over their own learning if we want to foster democratic principles and actions. Our goals should not be ease of maintenance and control (which most playgrounds offer), but instead a diverse environment in which children will behave in diverse ways that we haven't even thought of. Ultimately, for those of us who believe in working with children in ways that are democratic and empowering, the goal should be to create spaces for children that provide an opportunity for "agency" and "cooperation".


Sponsored by: The Center for International Education, the Environmental Institute, the School of Education, the School of Management, University of Massachusetts; and the Childhood Studies Program at Hampshire College

Patricia Maguire- 2003 Kinsey Dialogue Series

Dr. Maguire is a professor of Education and Counseling as well as Chair of the Gallup Graduate Studies Center of Western New Mexico University. Dr. Maguire has an international reputation in participatory action research (PAR) and has been invited as a keynote speaker, panel member, and contributing editor for international PAR conferences, publications, and training programs.

Since 1987 she has devoted much of her energy to building and developing the WNMU-Gallup Graduate Studies Center. The Center serves primarily full time teachers, administrators, and mental health professional who come from over a 100 mile radius to pursue graduate education. All of their graduate students (over 25% are Native American) work in challenging, under-resourced, multicultural contexts. More recently, they are trying to develop a center culture that supports and nurtures action research. At a recent conference Pat chose to represent herself as follows:

To introduce myself, I choose fabric that integrates feminist and indigenous southwest themes. This fabric symbolizes my life's work for the last 17 years in Gallup, New Mexico, a border town to the Navajo or Diné Nation and the Pueblo of Zuni. You may be familiar with the image of Kokopelli, the hunchbacked flute player. Anasazi (Ancient Ones) petroglyphs and pictographs of Kokopelli are widespread throughout the Four Corners region of the southwestern USA. Considered a musician, trickster, and fertility symbol, he still figures in Hopi and Zuni legends. I love the fabric because it depicts female versions of kokopelli, playing flute and singing and dancing together in obvious celebration. Feminisms, participatory action research, and my work with Native Americans have all taught me, that despite adversity and injustices, it's important to take time to celebrate.

Her recent publications include a number of chapters in edited volumes and journals that focus on Action Research. Her book Doing Participatory Research: A Feminist Approach continues its popularity as a text in colleges and universities across the U.S.

For more details including full references to her publications, presentations and other work see: http://www.einaudi.cornell.edu/parfem/patricia_maguire_CV.htm

Radicalizing the Everyday: Feminisms and Participatory Action Research

More than fifty people attended Dr. Maguire's presentation that opened with three challenges to Action Researchers today.

  • How do they stay connected to their politicized roots - at a time when the space for radical education is being diminished?
  • Are we actually making any difference through action research?
  • Are we having any success in scaling up to have action research integrated into development policy initiatives in ways that aren't just cooptation?

She then went on to look at how feminist approaches can inform and enrich Participatory Action Research. Feminism raises issues of voice and silence; multiple identities and the web of oppressions; gender and gendering mechanisms; using everyday experience as a source of knowledge; challenging power; and understanding that knowledge is always created in the context of human relationships. She illustrated these points with examples from Jamaica, New Mexico and South Africa.

The last section of her talk focused on the struggles to build an institution of higher education in a poor, rural area of New Mexico with a large Native American population. For her, the challenge was that of modifying the "near environment" in a system with potent immunities to transformation, in this case the university system in New Mexico. With photographs and moving anecdotes she told of successes and setbacks over the past decade as they worked to create master's degrees in education that incorporated an action research component into the core of the curriculum and created a "space of hope" for the people of the community and surrounding area.

There was a display of pictures from a fascinating case study of Action Research with a local troop of girl scouts that had identified a problem of stray animals being killed at the local pound (More than 2000 animals a year were being put down). The girls volunteered at the pound and began to understand the challenge of finding homes for stray animals. They took pictures and accompanying wrote poems. The pictures became part of an art exhibit in the town and part of a campaign to increase the adoption rate of the animals.

Pat closed by challenging the university audience to hold the university's feet to the fire even though they are good at activating immune responses to politicized work and by reminding herself and her listeners to be aware of both complacency and smugness in pursuing feminist approaches to Action Research.

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Srilatha Batliwala - 2002 Kinsey Dialogue Series

The David C. Kinsey Dialogue Series fourth annual event was held April 19th and 20th, 2002, at the University of Massachusettes Amherst.

The Dialogue Series was pleased to present Srilatha Batliwala, an Indian feminist activist and researcher, who is currently Civil Society Research Fellow at the Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations in Harvard University. Prior to this, Batliwala was a Program Officer in the Governance and Civil Society Unit of the Ford Foundation in New York, handling programs related to strengthening international civil society and the nonprofit sector in the United States. Before joining the Ford Foundation in late 1997, she worked for nearly 25 years in India in a range of social change and gender justice activities that spanned grassroots organizing, advocacy, and research, with a deep commitment to gender equality and the women's movement in India.

On Friday, April 19, 2002 Srilatha Batliwala spoke on:

Contesting the Discourse, Claiming Global Space: The Case of Global Grassroots Movements

Srilatha with David Kinsey's Wife, Carol

The focus of Srilatha's work, and thus of this talk, is how grassroots people's movements are globalizing and challenging traditional NGO approaches to issues and the dominant development discourse. She presented two case studies- one of the work of the SPARC-National Slum Dwellers Federation- in India, which has not only transformed the housing alternatives for Bombay's slum and pavement dwellers, but built an international movement of slum dwellers called "Shack Dwellers International". The other is of WIEGO- Women in the Informal Economy Globalizing and Organizing- which represents a unique arrangement through which informal sector workers such as home-based workers and street vendors are changing global policies and labor standards for informal workers. She highlighted how these movements have challenged traditional wisdom, what is local and what is global, and who gets to speak for whom.



On Saturday April 20, 2002 Srilatha offered a workshop titled

Non-Profit/For-Profit Partnerships: The Case of CITIBANK and SPARC

This workshop built on the lecture of the previous day, where one of the case studies dealt with the international slum dwellers network, of which SPARC is a founder. She focused on the very interesting and fraught relationship between CITIBANK and the non-profit SPARC, where CITIBANK is providing a loan to the non-profit construction company set up by SPARC and the National Slum Dwellers Federation of India, to undertake low-income housing projects in Bombay under the provisions of the new Slum Rehabilitation Act.

There are also several sites available to get to know more about Srilatha's work and the projects she talked about at the Dialogue Series.

For further information on Srilatha's work, please visit web sites at:


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Jan Visser - 2001 Kinsey Dialogue Series
Landscaping the Learning Environment to Create a Home for the Complex Mind

Presentaton by Dr. Jan Visser
Friday, April 27, 2001

Jan VisserDr. Jan Visser, former director of UNESCO's Learning Without Frontiers and the current executive director of the Learning Development Institute, is an eclectic craftsman and scientist. His major academic and experiential backgrounds are in physics and in instructional systems design. He has worked throughout the world, particularly in Africa, and has an established record of achievements in generating innovative practices and new ways of thinking about learning. He also worked as a documentary filmmaker, writes prolifically in a variety of fields, and is a keynote speaker at international conferences. The Learning Development Institute is a networked learning community devoted to excellence in the trans-disciplinary research of learning and the development of its conditions. http://www.learndev.org

Landscaping the Learning Environment
reported by Vachel Miller

What makes learning meaningful? How can societies nurture learning more creatively? How can learning function to enhance existence for all? These are several of the questions raised by Jan Visser during his presentation at the 2001 Kinsey Dialogue at the Center for International Education on Friday, April 27.

Visser, president of the Learning Development Institute and former director of UNESCO's Learning Without Frontiers program, discussed his research into the meaning of learning. Visser and his colleagues have gathered "learning stories" about key learning events in people's lives. They have found that meaningful learning often involves ownership of knowledge, helping others learn, persistence, and overcoming negative self-perceptions.

Jan and AlbertoBased on his work with UNESCO and the learning stories research, Visser defines the purpose of learning as "constructive interaction with change," a process of dialogue with our complex social and natural environments. Visser uses the metaphor of a landscape to highlight important aspects of the overall context in which human learning evolves. The learning landscape can be seen as made-up of various sub-landscapes, which include - but are not limited to - the media landscape, the socio-cultural organization landscape, and the instructional landscape. Integrity within and among the various landscapes is an essential feature of the learning landscape. A healthy learning landscape, for Visser, exhibits harmony, beauty, robustness, diversity, and integrity.

On Saturday, April 28, Visser facilitated a 3-hour workshop on the "re-invention of learning." Participants discussed important learning experiences in their own lives and the conditions which facilitated whose experiences. Learning was placed at the center of a concept map, and participants discussed connections with a variety of related ideas.

Visser's Learning Development Institute is a distributed network of professionals who share research and dialogue about learning and new ways or nurturing the learning landscape internationally.

Eileen Kane - 2000 Kinsey Dialogue Series

Eileen KaneEileen Kane, anthropologist and development practitioner,spoke on April 7 for the 2nd annual Kinsey Dialogue. Kane focused on Participatory Research and Action (PRA), exploring the current status of PRA and its epistemological roots. Drawing on gardening metaphors in honor of David Kinsey, Kane asked if participatory research was a sunflower, a weed, or "a rootless creation, a carbuncle grafted on the the convential trunk of research?"

Participatory research, Kane argued, has evolved from earlier systems of participatory rural appraisal. She outlined the contribution that participatory approaches have made in creating more inclusive forms of participatory rural appraisal. She outlined the contribution that participatory approaches have made in creating more inclusive forms of knowledge production. Because of its practicality and appeal, PRA has grown popular with development agencies throughout the world, yet it is often practiced without deeper reflection on its complex, and perhaps competing, philosophical underpinnings.

Kane described three different worldviews: positivist, phenomonological, and critical. While some PRA approaches stem from a phenomonological worldview, others can be traced to positivist positions. It is important, Kane believes, for practitioners to understand the differences in such positions and be reflective about their methodological choices in the field. By surfacing deeper assumptions about particular tools, the tools can be challenged, improved, and modified for various cultural contexts. Participatory research is a hybrid that calls for continued work in the garden of ideas.

Workshop On Saturday, April 8: Eileen Kane led a workshop on participatory research for the CIE community. The workshop focused on several PRA tools, including seasonal calendars, pie charts and matrices. Kane led participants in the use of the tools and discussed related research issues. Each tool has many possibilities for effective use as well as limitations which must be carefully considered.

Kane also showed a video of participatory research in the Gambia. Workshop participants discussed relationships of agency agendas to village-level priorities, the role of outside researchers, and the position of participatory research regarding controversial cultural practices.

PRA Workshop
Eileen Kane's Workshop
Eileen Kane facilitating a workshop on participatory research for the CIE community


Eileen Kane is an Irish anthropologist who has worked around the world on participatory research, especially applied to gender and education of girls. She founded the first department of anthropology in Ireland and was professor there for 20 years. She has worked extensively with organizations such as the World Bank, as well as working with PRA and development with Robert Chambers. She then founded her own organization which is a gender-focused research and development organization called GroundWork. She has been working on some of the theoretical and philosophical foundations of participatory research and PRA and pushes at the edges of the thinking about these trends.

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Orlando Fals Borda - 1999 Kinsey Dialogue Series

"We present this Kinsey Lecture Dialogue in honor of Dr. David Kinsey, our respected colleague whose interest went beyond university routine and scientific orthodoxy. David Kinsey was one of those original, creative minds shaped by deep interest in community development, nonformal education, and adult literacy in conditions of poverty and oppression, as he encountered them in the local realities of countries like Nepal, Guatemala, Egypt, Tanzania and Senegal.

Dr. Kinsey’s main focus was on alternative research methods, including participatory action research (PAR or PR). PAR is now more accepted and acknowledged than during the 70's when it started as a rather subversive discipline...

It is with gratitude that we come to this moment of public recognition of Professor Kinsey's important contribution to our field, for he was an active element in the process we are going to recollect. He opened doors and fostered a positive atmosphere for PAR. Hence my respectful homage to him and to his memory, as to a pioneering spirit who strove for a better academy and for a better world."

- Orlando Fals Borda
1999 Kinsey Dialogue Series Speaker

Orlando Fals-Borda
Fals-Borda and CIE members
Orlando Fals-Borda (center) during his visit to CIE
Orlando Fals-Borda (right) talking to CIE members following the inaugural Kinsey Dialogue Series.
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