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Relational Ontologies


Barbara Thayer-Bacon

Relational Ontologies uses the metaphor of a fishing net to represent the epistemological and ontological beliefs that we weave together for our children, to give meaning to their experiences and to help sustain them in their lives. The book describes the epistemological threads we use to help determine what we catch up in our net as the warp threads, and our ontological threads as the weft threads. It asks: what kind of fishing nets are we weaving for our children to help them make sense of their experiences? What weft threads are we including and working to strengthen, and what threads are we removing or leaving out? It is important to carefully re/examine these most basic ways of catching up what sustains us in our ocean of infinite experiences, as the threads we weave for our children will determine what they catch up in their nets, until they are old enough to re/weave their own. Relational Ontologies reweaves America’s epistemological and ontological fishing net on a larger scale, turning to indigenous cultures and diverse spiritual beliefs for assistance in reforming American schools.

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About the Author


Barbara J. Thayer-Bacon is currently a professor of philosophy of education on the faculty of the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. She was a faculty member at Bowling Green State University from 1991–2000. She teaches courses on philosophy and history of education, cultural studies and cultural diversity, feminist theory and pedagogy. She received her Ph.D. in education from Indiana University, in 1991. Prior to that she was an elementary Montessori teacher for seven years, as well as a public school teacher for one year, and she still serves as a consultant for local schools, visiting them regularly. She is an active member in numerous professional organizations, such as the American Educational Research Association, American Educational Studies Association, Philosophy of Education Society, and International Network of Philosophers of Education and presents papers regularly at their conferences. She is past president for the Ohio Valley Philosophy of Education Society, and the Research on Women and Education and Philosophical Studies Special Interest Groups of the American Education Research Association. She has won numerous awards and served as a visiting scholar and keynote speaker multiple times. She is the first woman to serve as Editor-in-Chief of the international journal Studies in Philosophy and Education. She is the author of over 25 chapters in essay collections and over 50 journal articles, published ← 163 | 164 → in professional journals such as The Journal of Thought, Educational Theory, Studies in Philosophy and Education, Inquiry, Educational Foundations, and Educational Studies. She has written five previous books,...

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