What Did Bhimrao Ambedkar Learn from John Dewey's 'Democracy and Education'?
The Pluralist, Vol. 12(2), p. 78-103, 2017
34 Pages Posted: 30 Jun 2017
Date Written: 2017
It is well known that Bhimrao Ambedkar took classes from the American pragmatist John Dewey at Columbia University 1913-1916. It is also known that Ambedkar's later activism and writings in the push for "untouchable" rights drew upon Deweyan texts and ideas, including many from Dewey's 1916 book, 'Democracy and Education.' This present study asks and answers a question that has not been broached before: what exactly did Ambedkar admire in Dewey's seminal text on education? Using Ambedkar's own textual annotations in his personal copy of 'Democracy and Education,' I reconstruct the vision of pragmatism that Ambedkar seemed to identify and appropriate from his pragmatist teacher.
Keywords: John Dewey, Bhimrao Ambedkar, Pragmatism, Democracy, Social Justice, Caste
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