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Learning to be in the World with Others

Difficult Knowledge and Social Studies Education


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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An earlier version of chapter 4 appeared as “Routing and rerouting of difficult knowledge: Social studies teachers encounter When the Levees Broke” in Theory and Research in Social Education, 39 (3), 320–347. Reprinted with permission from Taylor & Francis.

An earlier version of chapter 5 appeared as “ ‘This is the kind of hard that knows’: Past, presence, and pedagogy in Toni Morrison’s Beloved” in The Journal of Curriculum and Pedagogy, 15(1), 36–52. Reprinted with permission from Taylor & Francis.

Parts of chapter 6 appeared as “Why didn’t I know this before?: Psychoanalysis, social studies education and The Shock Doctrine” in Canadian Journal for Social Studies Education. 45(2), 1–12. Reprinted with permission from the publisher. ←xiii | xiv→ ←xiv | 1→

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