Antonia Darder

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Antonia Darder
Antonia Darder

Antonia Darder (born Priscilla Antonia Darder Aguilo on April 16, 1952 in Vega Baja, Puerto Rico) is a scholar, artist, poet, activist, and public intellectual. Darder holds the Leavey Presidential Endowed Chair in Ethics and Moral Leadership in the School of Education at Loyola Marymount University.[1] She also is Professor Emerita of Educational Policy, Organization, and Leadership at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.[2]


Antonia Darder attended Pasadena City College where she earned a degree in nursing. She later attended Cal State Los Angeles for her bachelor's in Rehabilitation Counseling and received a master's degree from Pacific Oaks College in Human Development. In 1989, she received her doctorate in Education from Claremont Graduate University.

Early life[edit]

At age three, her mother brought Darder to the mainland during the Operation Bootstrap post-war migration when more than 500,000 Puerto Ricans emigrated [3] to the United States between 1949-1959. [4]

Raised in poverty in East Los Angeles, she was a young mother with three children, when she began her studies at Pasadena City College in 1972. While at PCC, Darder began exploring the realm of cultural differences in U.S. society, as a bilingual peer counselor. Upon completing nursing school, she worked as a pediatric nurse in a hospital and then for the Head Start Program. Her work included developing programs for parents, and providing health education for children and their families. She attended California State University Los Angeles and then Pacific Oaks College, where she earned a master’s degree in Human Development with a specialization in Marriage, Family and Child Counseling.[5]

While earning her degree, Darder worked in a variety of settings as a therapist and clinical supervisor for child abuse and domestic violence programs. During this time, she was active working with the Chicano/Latino movement, focusing on issues of mental health and education in Spanish speaking communities.

From 1982 - 1986, Darder began teaching college seminars that focused on sociopolitical issues and questions of culture, human development, and parenting. In 1986, she joined the faculty at Pacific Oaks where she developed a graduate program in Bicultural Development that was discussed in her first book, Culture and Power in the Classroom. [6] In the late 80's and early 90’s, Darder studied and worked with renowned Brazilian educator, Paulo Freire, whose ideas profoundly influenced the direction of her life's work.[7] Her book Reinventing Paulo Freire: A Pedagogy of Love [8] focused on Freire’s important contributions to education, particularly from the standpoint of oppressed communities. [9] [10]

From 1993-1996, as a recipient of a Kellogg Foundation fellowship and participant in the Kellogg International Leadership Program,[11] her research took her to Peru where she studied the education and culture of indigenous children in the Andes.

Recent work[edit]

Darder has taught at California Polytechnic University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and was recognized as a Distinguished Professor at New Mexico State University, Las Cruces. In 2005, working with graduate students and community members, she established the Liberacion! Radio Collective[12] a public affairs radio program, on WEFT 90.1 Champaign that examines politics, art, and struggle through the nexus of local/global connections.[13]

In 2011, Darder was recognized as Professor Emerita at the University of Illinois, where she taught in the Department of Educational Policy Studies from 2003-2011.[14] Today she serves as Presidential Endowed Chair in Ethics and Moral Leadership in the School of Education at Loyola Marymount University.[15]

Darder's work focuses on comparative studies of racism, political economy, education, and society. Her teaching and research examine issues of inequalities and the politics of social exclusions, as these relate to racism, class inequalities, and gendered relations of power. Her work also explores popular culture and the politics of public pedagogy with respect to critical democratic participation. Her most recent research examines the pervasiveness of oppression within the university, as well as issues directly tied to the body, pedagogy, and inequality.

Honors and awards[edit]

In addition to her recognition as a distinguished professor, Darder has received several awards and honors for her community and professional work. Along with a national Kellogg Foundation Fellowship, she has also received the Social Justice in Education Award from the University of New Mexico, an Outstanding Book of the Year honor from the American Educational Research Association, and recognition for Outstanding Service to the Latino Community from El Centro de Acción Social, among others.

Artistic endeavors[edit]

An early work from the mid-80's exhibited by Darder in Los Angeles[16]


In 1983, Darder's first book of poetry, Each Day I Feel More Free was published.[17] For the next 6 years, she frequently presented her poetry at different cultural events. Over the years, her poetry has been published in a variety of venues, including the Boston Journal of Education. Although somewhat unorthodox, she often includes poetry in her academic speeches and texts.[18] In her last book, A Dissident Voice: Essays on Culture, Pedagogy, and Power, each of the seven sections in the book begins with one of her poems.[19]

Visual artist[edit]

In 1984, Darder traveled to visit a friend in the Coyoacán neighborhood of Mexico City and there discovered the museum La Casa Azul (the Blue House) which was the residence of renown painters Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. During her visit, Darder experienced such inspiration from her daily afternoon sojourns to the Blue House, that she began painting immediately after returning home from Mexico City. Since then, she has exhibited her work in a variety of venues including Self-Help Graphics[20] and Plaza De La Raza[21] in Los Angeles and continues to create new works.[22]


Darder first performed and wrote songs in the mid-1980s for Canto Jibaro, a Los Angeles community musical ensemble of Chicano and Puerto Rican activists, whose music carried a revolutionary message. Later she began learning to play the guitar and with Guido Nuñez del Prado,[23] a Peruvian folk musician, with whom she co-edited an anthology of articles on music of the Andes, Seminario de Musica de la Region.[24] Writing and performing in English and Spanish, Darder has penned over 20 folksongs of love, struggle, and freedom.



Darder's first book Culture and Power in the Classroom (Bergin & Garvey) was released in 1991. The book was recognized by The Nation in 1992, as "a significant tool for democratic schooling in the 20th century."[25] As a scholar of the Tomas Rivera Policy Institute[26] she authored The Policies and the Promise: The Public Schooling of Latino Children (1993).[27] Her follow-up book, Reinventing Paulo Freire: A Pedagogy of Love (Westview, 2001), was named one of the outstanding books in curriculum for 2001-2002 by the American Educational Research Association.[28][29] In 2011, A Dissident Voice, Essays on Culture, Pedagogy and Power was released by Peter Lang books. The book is a compilation of 21 essays and seven poems published from 1991 - 2011.[30][31] In 2012, the 20th anniversary edition of Culture and Power in the Classroom was published by Paradigm Press.[32]

In addition to these books, Darder co-authored with Rodolfo Torres[33] the book After Race: Racism After Multiculturalism, and was editor of Culture and Difference (Bergin & Garvey, 1995). She also co-edited Latinos and Education (Routledge, 1996), The Latino Studies Reader: Culture, Economy and Society (Blackwell, 1997), and The Critical Pedagogy Reader (Routledge, 2002/2008).[34] Continuing to provide ongoing perspective in the field, Darder also served as an Associate Editor and Advisory Board Member for the journal Latino Studies.[35]


In 2009, Darder's documentary, Breaking Silence: The Pervasiveness of Oppression, was awarded the second place prize at the Central Illinois Women’s Film Festival. The film was produced with a team of graduate students and community members involved in the Diversity and Technology for Engaging Communities research team,[36] a study examining issues of power, privilege, and racism on the UIUC campus.[37]

News editorials and columns[edit]

  • Darder, A. (2008) "1968/2008: Making Power for Change" Public I, Urbana, IL[38]
  • Darder, A. (2008) "Pedagogy of the Oppressed Revisited" Public I, Urbana, IL
  • Darder, A. (2008) "Making Sense of the Iraq War with Boricua Eyes" Public I, Urbana, IL
  • Darder, A. (2007) "Vernon Bellecourt: A Life of Struggle for Indian Rights" Public I, Urbana, IL
  • Darder, A. (2007) "UN Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples" Public I, Urbana, IL
  • Darder, A. (2007) "Imagining Justice: Politics, Love, and Dissent" Public I, Urbana, IL
  • Darder, A. (2007) "Elvira Arellano:Inspiring the Immigrant Rights Struggle" Public I, Urbana, IL
  • Darder, A. (2006) "Colonized Wombs: Politics of Sterilization" Public I, Urbana, IL
  • Darder, A. (1993) "Reflections on El Centro de Accion Social" Star News, Pasadena, CA
  • Darder, A. (1987) "Hunger: A Legacy of Colonial System" Star News, Pasadena, CA
  • Darder, A. (1987) "Schools Lag Behind People They Serve" Star News, Pasadena, CA
  • Darder, A. (1987) "Looking Deep to Find the Roots of Racism" Star News, Pasadena, CA
  • Darder, A. (1986) "Minorities and Family Planning" Star News, Pasadena, CA
  • Darder, A. (1986) "When Drugs Entered in the Mainstream" Star News, Pasadena, CA.
  • Darder, A. (1986) "Freeway Destruction to Minority Communities" Star News, Pasadena, CA.
  • Darder, A. (1986) "Minority Leadership" Star News, Pasadena, California.
  • Darder, A. (1986) "Bilingual Education: An Old Tradition" Star News, Pasadena, CA.
  • Darder, A. (1983) "Fair Community Representation" Star News, Pasadena, CA.

Literary publications[edit]

  • Darder, A. (2008) "The Great Mother Wails" Public I (November)
  • Darder, A. (2007) "Al Amanecer/At Dawn" Multicultural Education Journal (Spring)
  • Darder, A. (1996) "Sobreviviendo: Notes on Poetry and Grief" Women Who Don’t Sell Out L. Fulani (ed.) New York: Carrillo International
  • Darder, A. (1993) "rican-woman-madness is just another word for love" The California Sociologist: Culture and Conflict in the Academy G. Romero and L. Arguelles (eds.). Vol. 26.
  • Darder, A. (1992) "desenterandote" Si Se Puede M. Baca, et al. (eds.) Special Edition: Dia de la Raza Santa Barbara, California, October
  • Darder, A. (1991) "The unexpected reappearance of don quixote" Journal of Education: Crossing Borders, Building Bridges: Bilingualism in the 90’s D. Macedo (ed.). Boston U. Press
  • Darder, A. (1991) "of struggle and reflection" Journal of Education, Crossing Borders, Bridging Worlds: Bilingualism in the 90’s (special issue). D. Macedo (ed.). Boston University Press
  • Darder, A. (1991) "a bicultural riddle" Journal of Education, Crossing Borders, Bridging Worlds:Bilingualism in the 90’s (special issue), D. Macedo (ed.). Boston University Press
  • Darder, A. (1989) "the woman with many hearts" Canto Jibaro Press
  • Darder, A. (1985) "i want to feel good" The Southern California Anthology M. McLaughlin and C.Westphal (eds.). Los Angeles, CA: University of Southern California
  • Darder, A. (1984) "when she reads this i hope she feels the love" The Southern California Anthology J. Woetzel, et al. (eds.) Santa Barbara, CA: Ross-Erickson Publishers
  • Darder, A. (1983) "you say you’ve got a program?" Chismearte M. Gamboa and L. Rodriguez (eds.) Los Angeles, CA: Concilio Arte Popular


  1. ^ LMU Faculty
  2. ^ UIUC Emerita listing
  3. ^ Puerto Rican Emigration: Why the 1950s?
  4. ^ Ocampo, Anthony. The Puerto Rican Exodus: Media Representations of the Great Migration, 1945-1955
  5. ^
  6. ^ Darder, Antonia Culture and Power in the Classroom ISBN 0-89789-239-9
  7. ^ Lang, Peter Critical Pedagogy Primer ISBN 0-8204-7262-X
  8. ^ Darder, Antonia Reinventing Paulo Freire: A Pedagogy of Love ISBN 0-8133-3968-5
  9. ^ Conversation With Radical Educator Antonia Darder
  10. ^ Freire Project
  11. ^ Kellogg Foundation (KILP)
  12. ^ Liberacion! Radio Collective,
  13. ^ WEFT Program Partners
  14. ^ Dept of Educational Policy Studies
  15. ^ Dept of Education at Loyola Marymount University
  16. ^ Goldman, Shifra - Department of Special Collections, University Library, University of California, Santa Barbara
  17. ^ Beyond Baroque Archive
  18. ^ Poem a bicultural riddle WE LEARN June 2007 Newsletter
  19. ^ Darder. A Dissident Voice: Essays on Culture, Pedagogy and Power. Peter Lang. ISBN 1-4331-1399-6. 
  20. ^ Self-Help Graphics community visual arts center
  21. ^ Plaza De La Raza Culture Center for the Arts and Education
  22. ^ Sample Artist Gallery
  23. ^ Mendoza, Zoila Creating Our Own: Folklore, performance, and identity in Cuzco, Peru ISBN 0-8223-4152-2
  24. ^ List of published works
  25. ^ Spetempber 19, 1992 The Nation special issue "The Attack on Public Schools"
  26. ^ Tomas Rivera Policy Institute,
  27. ^ TRPI education publications
  28. ^ AESA
  29. ^
  30. ^ A Dissident Voice, Essays on Culture, Pedagogy and Power ISBN 978-1-4331-1399-4
  31. ^ Datasheet summary of A Dissident Voice, Essays on Culture, Pedagogy and Power
  32. ^ Darder. Culture and Power in the Classroom. Paradigm Publishers. ISBN 978-1-61205-070-6. 
  33. ^ Rodolfo D. Torres - Professor of Planning, Policy & Design and Political Science at UC Irvine
  34. ^ The Critical Pedagogy Reader (second edition) ISBN 0-415-96120-3
  35. ^ Latino Studies journal
  36. ^ DTEC Research Team
  37. ^ Independent Media Center Film Festival
  38. ^ Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center's Public I

External links[edit]