New Materialisms and Curriculum Studies
This edited collection takes up the wild and sudden surge of new materialisms in the field of curriculum studies. New materialisms shift away from the strong focus on discourse associated with the linguistic or cultural turn in theory and toward recent work in the physical and biological sciences; in doing so, they posit ontologies of becoming that re-configure our sense of what a human person is and how that person relates to the more-than-human ecologies in which it is nested. Ignited by an urgency to disrupt the dangers of anthropocentrism and systems of domination in the work of curriculum and pedagogy, this book builds upon the axiom that agency is not a uniquely human capacity but something inherent in all matter. This collection blurs the boundaries of human and non-human, animate and inanimate, to focus on webs of interrelations. Each chapter explores these questions while attending to the ethical, aesthetic, and political tasks of education—both in and out of school contexts. It is essential reading for anyone interested in feminist, queer, anti-racist, ecological, and posthumanist theories and practices of education.
The fossilized remains of “prehistoric” creatures made all of this possible, but not without the intervention of a host of agents—“natural,” human, corporate, chemical, mechanical, technical, bureaucratic, and governmental. The appearance of these machines called “computers,” which cannot run without the electrical supply whose emergence required hundreds of millions of years, is similarly complex. Add the internet and various software, and we’re already talking about a “mangle” (to use Andrew Pickering’s phrase) that would take as many words to explain as our contract with Peter Lang allows in total. And we haven’t mentioned yet the primate bodies of the book’s editors and contributors, bodies that have been habituated to schools for decades, bodies that thrive only in relation to so many nonhuman agencies that an additional book would be required to enumerate them: architectural agents, foods (a category so vast and complex it boggles the imagination), oxygen, the microorganisms who become with us, our intra-human social and sexual networks, our cross-species attachments, our quasi-individual natural-cultural-artificial environments.
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