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… we are aligned with transformation, as both process and outcome, that results in a dramatic shift in our thinking, feelings, and actions. We know that when that dramatic shift occurs, our being and worldviews are different—metamorphosis happens—a change in form. It is that experience we pass through when we become a different person or collective, before and after the nemesis events that disrupt our status quoGilpin-Jackson, Y., & Welch, M. (2022, p. 914)
The Handbook’s simple inquiry is: Why do we quest for transformation? What draws so many disciplines and their hope for the influence of transformation on people, workplace, communities, environment, and society? How do we move through transformation, with humility, and, transform?Nicolaides, A., & Eschenbacher, S. (2022, p. 18)
As our society continues to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in an effort to be a civil society, helping others develop a passageway to process their transformative learning even from negative experiences like bullying through anti-bullyist practice will be one way to achieve that societal value in the future and contribute to social justice for all.Misawa, M. (2022, p.571)
Increasingly frequent, severe, cascading, and compounding levels of disease, “natural” disasters, pandemics, food and water shortages, climate change, and environmental destruction highlight how we are living through an apocalyptic and challenging era of cultural transition that could threaten all of existence on earth…As many, including Einstein and Carl Jung, pointed out, it is impossible for the mindset that created the crisis to resolve it; a paradigm shift, a transformation of our fundamental cosmological, ontological, and epistemological beliefs, is necessary.Buergelt & Paton (2022, p.810)
I have thrilled to share the launch of our co-edited Palgrave Handbook of Learning for Transformation. This 51 Chapter Handbook is a landmark volume and reference book on transformation that is a MUST HAVE for every library and everyone serious about the phenomenon of individual and collective transformation in our world today. It is a landmark book because:
1. It was written in and through the COVID-19 pandemic, social justice reckonings and climate crises’ of 2020 and 2021, providing beacons of meaning-making for these times while opening up provocations of what is required for our civilization to look forward and transform in positive ways.
Our editorial team started the journey of this Handbook in 2018, centered on the metaphor of passageways, unaware of the moment in history this work would pass through before coming to fruition and arriving in your hands. As we conclude, we are still in that moment, still living through the threshold of the COVID-19 pandemic.Gilpin-Jackson, Y., & Welch, M. (2022, p. 914)
Are we awake? How have we been transformed from the place we stand? This civilization wide transformation has been forced upon us and many of us chose it, surrendering to its potency to bring us into new spaces of possibility and ways of becoming. How we have transformed will be an inquiry that remains with us for the coming months and years ahead. For some, the reflection of what, if anything, has transformed is just beginning. In spite of the appeal of transformation, there is more evidence of stagnation and less evidence of generativityNicolaides, A., & Eschenbacher, S. (2022, p. 18)
2. It was curated by an editorial team representing new and diverse voices, usually on the margins of Transformative Learning literature.
To date, our scholarship is dominated by the experiences of Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic or (WEIRD) populations (Muthukrishna, et al., 2020). Ironically, transformative learning calls for opening up boundaries, inviting diversity, engaging in perspective taking, and revising beliefs and assumptions to grow views and mindsets. But the lack of diversity in the community of transformative learning scholars—and the potential negative messages that lack of diversity sends to the community’s members—is a contradiction to the theory.Marsick, V. J., Kasl, E., & Watkins, K. E. (2022, v)
3. The handbook invited all who study, work, lead and think about Transformation, inside and outside the Academy to be part of the project. Most importantly, it was an invitation to pass through and transcend the known spaces of transformative learning to uncover new perspectives and understandings about transformations needed to guide us in these times and beyond.
In planning the Handbook, editors called authors to reach for new horizons in conceptualizing transformative learning and transformation. They embodied this call with their first tentative title, which was “Trans*****.” We applaud this invitation to find new configurations. A passageway is a liminal space—a space of limitless possibility as the passersby considers multiple possibilities in search of new understanding.Marsick, V. J., Kasl, E., & Watkins, K. E. (2022, vi)
4. The resulting Handbook represents a diverse theory and practice of Transformation at the individual and collective levels (group, organizations and societal/structural) from a multidisciplinary and transdisciplinary lens:
… the 51 chapters in this volume represent a total of 103 contributors, including our editorial team. 74% of contributors used a preferred pronoun and 26% did not specify a pronoun. From job titles, we infer that 64% identified themselves in the Academy as professor, researcher, or doctoral student, while 36% identified as being a practitioner (consultant, coach, facilitator, trainer, educator, principal, teacher). When assessed by the affiliated country of residence, there are clusters of contributors from the United States of America (36%), Canada (17.5%), Australia and New Zealand (7.8%), and South Africa (6.3%). The remaining quarter represents a spread of geographic locations from Europe (Italy, UK, Denmark, Greece, Norway, Switzerland), Asia (India and Thailand), and Africa (Nigeria, Kenya, Zimbabwe) (Fig. 51.1). We have international representation in this Handbook from every region of the world, with the notable exception of South America and the Middle East. Although we accepted chapters involving several countries and/or authors from Central and South America, the proposed chapters were not completed in time for this Handbook due to the challenges of writing in a pandemic eraGilpin-Jackson, Y., & Welch, M. (2022, p. 917-918)
5. The concluding narrative analysis of the chapters uncovered four propositions to guide transformation praxis going forward.
We have arrived at our next threshold. We invite you to join us and explore these propositions as we invent new language from the living theory of transformative learning, and new passageways into transformation.
Proposition I: Transformation occurs at the nexus of the individual and collective, requiring structural change and collective effort to transform systems. Transformation-in-Context.
Proposition II: The passageway to transformation is the relational ecology (connection, collective engagement) that evokes the interconnected being and becoming of humanity. Transformation-in-Connection.
Proposition III: Imaginal expressions of marginal experiences evoke storytelling and witnessing, sparking personal and collective identity (re)storying and action. Transformation-in-Action.
Proposition IV: It is in dwelling in the unknown spaces between multidisciplinary and transdisciplinary ways of knowing that transformation emerges. In-Transformation.Gilpin-Jackson, Y., & Welch, M. (2022, p. 937)
I am so proud of this work, itself a symbol of transformations present and future. I am proud of my communities—from the African continent to the country of Canada that I call home— who joined in this project as contributors. It is noteworthy that among other indigenous perspectives there were 3 timely contributions bringing Canadian First Nations and Indigenous perspectives on transformation into the Handbook, in this time when Truth and Reconciliation is in our collective consciousness in a new way, (see Chapters 15, 27 and 28). I am proud to have previously unknown discourses of Transformation include voices from humanitarian emergencies and dire contexts, where disorientating dilemmas abound and therefore inevitably transformations are possible. These previously unknown/unacknowledged/untapped contexts for learning about transformation are now at the forefront of our global learning and response as we continue to navigate through a global health pandemic. It is telling from an equity and inclusion lens, that we as a global collective are only paying attention to these valuable perspectives from the margins when both world-system power holders and those on the margins are impacted by a health pandemic. I am proud that we have curated a Handbook that delivers on transforming Transformative Learning which was meant to be a living theory in Higher Education. And I am proud that we (the editorial team and contributors) have collectively made room through this project for new thinking about what it means to Transform—individually and collectively.
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Buergelt, P. T., & Paton, D. (2022). Restoring the Transformative Bridge: Remembering and
Regenerating Our Western Transformative Ancient Traditions to Solve the Riddle
of Our Existential Crisis. In A. Nicolaides, S. Eschenbacher, P. Buergelt, Y. Gilpin-Jackson, M. Welch, & M. Misawa (Eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of Learning for Transformation. Palgrave Macmillan/Springer Nature.
Gilpin-Jackson, Y., & Welch, M. (2022). Conclusion chapter: Propositions at the threshold of transformation. In A. Nicolaides, S. Eschenbacher, P. Buergelt, Y. Gilpin-Jackson, M. Welch, & M. Misawa (Eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of Learning for Transformation. Palgrave Macmillan/Springer Nature.
Marsick, V. J., Kasl, E., & Watkins, K. E. (2022). Foreword. In A. Nicolaides, S. Eschenbacher, P. Buergelt, Y. Gilpin-Jackson, M. Welch, & M. Misawa (Eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of Learning for Transformation. Palgrave Macmillan/Springer Nature.
Misawa, M. (2022). Transformative Learning as a Passageway to Social Justice in
Higher Education: An Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Perspective on
Anti-Bullyist Practice in a North American Context. In A. Nicolaides, S. Eschenbacher, P. Buergelt, Y. Gilpin-Jackson, M. Welch, & M. Misawa (Eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of Learning for Transformation. Palgrave Macmillan/Springer Nature.
Nicolaides, A., & Eschenbacher, S. (2022). The many turns of transformation: Creating new vocabularies for transformative learning. In A. E. Nicolaides, Saskia, P. Buergelt, Y. Gilpin-Jackson, M. Welch, & M. Misawa (Eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of Learning for Transformation. Palgrave Macmillan/Springer Nature.