Curriculum, Teaching and Learning
The intersections between the construction of self and the understanding of others in arts education projects will be the focus of this course. We will examine, in particular, the implications of drama education practices as they ask students to understand their particular gendered, cultural, sexual, racial, ethnic, and class-based identities in relation to the broader social world around them. Exploring pedagogical actions in relation to recent research in feminism, drama and arts education, this course will examine the philosophical underpinnings of the arts' and especially drama's potential as education and in education to build support networks in learning contexts that favour participation of all individuals at their highest potential. Kathleen Gallagher
This course investigates the commitments, principles and practices of one form of qualitative research -- critical ethnography. While the work of traditional or naturalistic ethnography is to describe a culture or a way of life from the point of view of those who are living it, critical ethnographic research attempts to get beyond people's daily assimilated experience to expose the ways power reproduces itself in everyday interactions. Such a research methodology is particularly relevant to students interested in projects that work towards social justice and equity in education. In designing and selecting the readings for the course, I have tried to d ecentre the white Western critical ethnographic canon by including examples of “Other” epistomologies and praxis-oriented projects.The course will assist students who are designing or thinking of designing critical ethnographic thesis studies by providing them with the theoretical and practical background required to gather, interpret and write about ethnographic data. It will also assist students who are not planning to conduct thesis studies but who are using or would like to use ethnography as a research tool in their classrooms. Students who are not interested in conducting ethnographic research themselves, but would like to know what critical ethnographers have to say about teaching, learning and schooling will also find this course of interest. Tara Goldstein
This course considers how queer theory might alter our ways of thinking about and experiencing bodies in education, in curriculum and in schools. Has queer simply become a code word for ‘lesbian’ and ‘gay’ identity in education? What does queer mean if not identity? What and who are queer bodies in schools? Who gets to decide? We shall review the emergence and demise of various queer theories in North American universities and become familiar with key works (Foucault, Butler, Sedgwick, Fuss). Attempting to understand queer theory in a course such as this risks domesticating it, so we shall proceed with a series of contradictory conversations to explore queer theories as a ‘zone of possibilities’ (Jagose).
We will start the course by tracing the emergence of queer theory in academia during the 1990s. Teresa de Lauretis (1991) is often credited with coining the term ‘queer theory’ in her introductory comments about a conference on theorizing lesbian and gay sexualities. Although queer theory has its roots in Gay and Lesbian Studies, it is also closely tied to poststructural theory. Moreover, since queer theory critiques the notion of identity per se, it can be usefully expanded to areas well beyond lesbian and gay issues. Hence the course will consider three interrelated areas - queer theory; queer curriculum; and queer bodies.
This section of the course allows us to respond to the important critique that many postmodern and queer theories ignore the importance of the body by overemphasizing discourse and text. Also, since my specialization is physical education and sport, I’m very interested in what queer theory’s critique of identity and postmodernism’s critique of the Cartesian mind/body split means for how we think about queer bodies. Queer theory pays attention to how the boundary between the mind and the body came into being, how it changes and who gets to decide. It allows us to grapple with questions about how discourses act upon bodies (Freud, Fuss, Grosz). How the body is experienced and linked to gender is one of the key debates in the new field of trans theory and we will be introduced to how transsexual scholars are grappling with essentialist, constructionist and poststructuralist ideas about female and male bodies (More, Namaste, Prosser). From the start, disability studies have interrogated what gets counted as a ‘normal’ body - challenging taken-for-granted ideas about mobility, productivity and that any body is able across different circumstances and times of life. We shall briefly look at some current work that brings together disability, AIDS work and queer theory (Clare, McRuer).
Towards the end of the course we shall consider queer reading practices, pedagogies and methodologies. “You can’t buy queer theory at Wall-Mart, and it’s a good thing too!” according to Rosaria Champagne, so we shall explore the educational possibilities if desire is not thought of as a commodity and queer is not a ‘new’ brand of sexual identity. There are a small number of education scholars who have taken up queer theory - many of them linked to the progressive curriculum reconceptualist movement (Pinar, Britzman, Talburt, Steinberg). We shall look at some of their work to consider what it might mean to queer curriculum. Heather Sykes