Rhizomes, assemblages and nomad war machines – re-imagining curriculum development for posthuman times

Sidebottom, Kay and Oztok, Murat (2021) Rhizomes, assemblages and nomad war machines – re-imagining curriculum development for posthuman times. PhD thesis, Lancaster University.

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We live in troubling times. Issues of planetary concern under a regime of advanced capitalism include environmental degradation, pandemic, widening inequality gaps and mass migration; while accelerated technological mediation continues to connect us like never before. To say that the situation is complex is an understatement; yet meanwhile, education in the West continues to follow and repeat the same pedagogical and curriculum trends that we have seen for the past century. Taking a ‘posthuman turn’ in education involves a shift from learning-as-cognition to a focus on connections between humans and non-human others; a move from the primacy of the written and spoken word to the re-emergence of the embodied self; and a recognition that other-than-human agents are always present in processes of learning. Posthuman pedagogies decentre humanistic values which privilege the individual (and certain kinds of individual at that), and Cartesian dualisms which separate body from mind, teacher from learner and human from non-human others. Although the ideas are exciting and offer potential for liberatory pedagogical practice, the language of posthumanism is dense, challenging and often exclusionary. This thesis tells the story of how a group of educators from different sectors and countries put the ideas to work practically, using artistic and dialogic means to disrupt ideas of ‘education as usual’ and explore ideas of a posthuman curriculum. The findings offer new ways to explore education, either through professional development, informal learning projects, or public scholarship, demonstrating how posthuman philosophy can be employed as a navigational tool to rethink and re-imagine education for the 21st century and beyond.

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26 Oct 2021 08:40
Last Modified:
13 Dec 2023 01:01