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Learning to be in the World with Others

Difficult Knowledge and Social Studies Education

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H. James Garrett

In this book, H. James Garrett inquires into the processes of learning about the social world, populated as it often is with bewildering instances of loss, violence, and upheaval. In such learning, interactions invite and enliven our passionate responses, or prompt us to avoid them. Interpreting and working with these often emotional reactions is critical to social studies education and developing strategies for individuals to participate in democracy. Garrett illustrates ways that learning about the world does not occur in absence of our intimate relations to knowledge, the way learning sometimes feels like our undoing, and how new knowledge can feel more like a burden than an advantage.

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Chapter 4. Movements of Difficult Knowledge

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Movements of Difficult Knowledge

Hours later, still in the difficulty of what it is to be, just like that, inside it, standing there, maybe wading, maybe waving, standing where the deep waters of everything backed up, one said, climbing over bodies, one said, stranded on a roof, one said, trapped in the building, and in the difficulty, nobody coming and still someone saying, who could see it coming, the difficulty of that.

He said, I don’t know what the water wanted. It wanted to show you no one would come.

—Claudia Rankine (2015, p. 83).

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