2011 TC Pressroom
Teachers College, Columbia University
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Reimagining the Possible

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Maxine Greene

Maxine Greene, Illustration by David Ort


[It is our] “…incompleteness that summons us to the tasks of knowledge and action…putting an explanation into words, fighting a plague, seeking homes for the homeless, restructuring inhumane schools.”

Maxine Greene, Releasing the Imagination

By Janet L. Miller

A multitude of students, teachers and educational researchers from around the world not only draw from but also are indebted to Maxine Greene’s eloquent, visionary and, yes, demanding considerations of what educators must do to develop capacities to challenge and to change, if necessary, “the given.” Greene dares us to work, to see, to confront and to directly address how that often habitual, numbing, controlling and oftentimes oppressive “given” could be seen as contingent and thus imagined and enacted otherwise.

In addition, Maxine’s attention to the visual, written and performing arts as one means of opening vistas into what might be, and to conceptions of social imagination that might help move persons to take action against deficit versions of school and society, continue to inspire all those involved in the varied arenas of education.

I believe that Maxine’s own vast curiosities about the world, as well as her formidable intellect, elevate educators and students away from the familiar—away from numbness—and out into the world. And as such, she enables us to consider our own possibilities to choose, to forge connections with/in and across difference in order to take action, even in the face of our own incongruities, contradictions, insecurities and unknowingness. Such is the immutable influence, I believe, of this educational philosopher who, through her writing, teaching and worldwide lecturing over the years, has inspired generations of educators and students to work together to act against the “plagues” of habit, indifference, oppression, passiveness and alienation. The gift that Maxine Greene has offered and continues to confer on the field of education writ large is her passion for forging ways to “come together to act on the possibility of repair,” a possibility that she herself so magnificently has envisioned, embodied and enacted.

Janet L. Miller is Professor of English Education


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