This paper explores the spiritual dimensions of Paulo Freire's idea of conscientization. Freire, who is widely recognized as one of the most influential educators of the twentieth century, understands conscientization as the process of developing a critical awareness of one's social reality through reflection and action. While it is clear that Freire understands conscientization is an authentic form of praxis, what is less obvious is how this concept accords with his spiritual vision. In this paper, I unpack Freire's "implicit spirituality" by focusing on his ideas of humanization, communion, and conversion. This study helps to establish Freire as an important bridge figure between liberation philosophy and liberation theology, and it underscores the unmistakable centrality of a critical pedagogy for any philosophy or theology that aspires to be a tool for social criticism.
Freire, Spirituality, Liberation
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session
Associate Professor of Religious Studies, Department of Religious Studies, DePaul University
Christopher Tirres is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at DePaul University and Director of DePaul's Center for Religion, Culture and Community. His research interests include Latinx religion and spirituality, pragmatism, liberation theology, liberation philosophy, and Third World Feminism. He is the author of The Aesthetics and Ethics of Faith: A Dialogue between Liberationist and Pragmatic Thought (Oxford University Press, 2014).