ACLA 2016: Pedagogy, in Theory

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Pedagogy, In Theory

ACLA, 2016

CFPs (300 words) due to & by 9/23

Marxism and psychoanalysis, which represent two of the three famous "hermeneutics of suspicion," both have an important but conflicted relationship with the work of education. As Lenin writes in 1918, "Marxism educates the vanguard of the proletariat which is capable of assuming power … of being the teacher, the guide, the leader of all the laboring and exploited people" (The State of the Revolution). Less than twenty years later, Freud will pessimistically reflect on the state of the psychoanalytic "cure", saying that "it almost appears that the analyst's work might be the third of those 'impossible' professions in which, even before you begin, you can be sure you will fall short of complete success. The two others, known about for much longer, are education and government" (203). Taken together, these two quotes demonstrate a wide range of assessments about the function of education: it is both necessary to revolution yet fundamentally impossible; both empowering and inadequate; both liberatory and repressive.

Subsequent post-structuralist interventions by scholars such as Michel Foucault have further complicated these initial theorizations, showing how knowledge might productively operate with power, and thereby moving us beyond an understanding of pedagogy as only either repressive or liberatory. Though the trope of education persists throughout these oeuvres, scholarship typically engages "critical pedagogy" far less frequently than the more "practical" concerns of daily teaching and institutional constraint. Thus, this seminar takes pedagogy as its central object, and invites papers that theorize its current purchase for understanding our critical theories (be they feminist, queer, critical race, Marxist, psychoanalytic, etc)

Topics this seminar would welcome engaging include:

*the role of pedagogy/education/knowledge in any critical genealogies

*the common disjunction between "praxis" and "theory", between "method" and "content"

*the link between knowledge and sexuality

*the anxiety about sex and/in the classroom

*visibility and identity in pedagogy

*(sexual) consent and pedagogy

*power and pleasure and pedagogy; power and pain or jouissance and pedagogy

*pedagogy as "impossible"; measures of "success" and "failure" in pedagogy

*the relationship between knowledge and political change; pedagogy as revolutionary (Lenin; Freire) versus knowledge as ideology (Althusser)

*the "form" of pedagogical relationships in connection with their political agenda; "political pedagogy" versus "pedagogical politics"

*the many meanings of "discipline"

*the institutionalization of pedagogy and other "radical" or revolutionary forms of thought