This dialogue between two of the most prominent thinkers on social change in the twentieth century was certainly a meeting of giants. Throughout their highly personal conversations recorded here, Horton and Freire discuss the nature of social change and empowerment and their individual literacy campaigns. The ideas of these men developed through two very different channels: Horton’s, from the Highlander Center, a small, independent residential education center situated outside the formal schooling system and the state; Freire’s, from within university and state-sponsored programs.
For both men, real liberation is achieved through popular participation. The themes they discuss illuminate problems faced by educators and activists around the world who are concerned with linking participatory education to the practice of liberation and social change. How could two men, working in such different social spaces and times, arrive at similar ideas and methods? These conversations answer that question in rich detail and engaging anecdotes, and show that, underlying the philosophy of both, is the idea that theory emanates from practice and that knowledge grows from and is a reflection of social experience.