pedagogy without bodies - .pedagogy without bodies as a concept (in deleuze and guattari’s sense)

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  • Pedagogy Without Bodies

    by

    Petra Mikulan

    Master of Arts (Gender and Womens Studies), University of Granada and ISH Faculty

    for Postgraduate Studies Ljubljana, 2010

    Bachelor of Humanities (Education), University of Ljubljana, 2007

    Dissertation Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the

    Requirements for the Degree of

    Doctor of Philosophy

    in the

    Curriculum Theory and Implementation Program

    Faculty of Education

    Petra Mikulan 2017

    SIMON FRASER UNIVERSITY

    Summer 2017

  • ii

    Approval

    Name: Petra Mikulan

    Degree: Doctor of Philosophy

    Title: Pedagogy Without Bodies

    Examining Committee: Chair: Suzanne Smythe

    Assistant Professor

    Nathalie Sinclair

    Senior Supervisor

    Professor

    Kieran Egan

    Supervisor

    Professor Emeritus

    Stephen Smith

    Supervisor

    Professor

    Kelleen Toohey

    Internal Examiner

    Professor

    Faculty of Education

    Jason J. Wallin

    External Examiner

    Associate Professor

    Faculty of Education

    University of Alberta

    Date Defended/Approved: May 25, 2017

  • iii

    Abstract

    Educational theory today seems to be premised on a distributive thought; either on

    students bodies perceived as unified entities, as self-maintaining and ongoing forms that

    can be recognized and represented, or as with some post-humanist and new materialist

    accounts, as just this one entity, emerging and interconnected among a myriad of others in

    a world, understood as one organic and reproductive whole. This raises certain problems

    and certain questions, the solution of which presents us with specific tasks of thinking about

    curriculum planning, as well as ethics and politics in education. What is pursued is either

    a universal subject and his human right to be educated and skilled well enough to live well

    and to be a good and productive citizen (thus there ought to be generalizable and

    standardized elements of curriculum); or, there is a notion that we can only know subjects

    in their individuated and socially determined expressions, and thus curriculum is integrated

    as much as possible (bestowing individual differences in ability and access according to

    diverse social contexts), as is evident by the upsurge in individuated and differentiated

    learning plans tailored to each individual student. I argue that a different ethics is needed

    for the future of education and pedagogy if we are to think multiplicities beyond the world

    of man. By understanding life as virtual, it is possible to conceive of a pedagogy without

    bodies. Pedagogy without bodies as a concept (in Deleuze and Guattaris sense) would be

    an orientation for educational thought where we would no longer begin with the image of

    a living, active, corporeal body, but would, following Claire Colebrook (2011), consider

    intensive forces that unfold life differently from that of the productive human. Pedagogy

    without bodies as a concept alludes to the incorporeal and material composition of sense

    which, I believe, is an important orientation for thinking philosophy of education, and

    curriculum in terms of dispersed, intensive and inhuman forces and processes intricate to

    any singular pedagogical event and its readability.

    Keywords: vitalism; reading; irony; philosophy of education; pedagogy without

    bodies

  • iv

    Table of Contents

    Approval ............................................................................................................................. ii Abstract .............................................................................................................................. iii Table of Contents ............................................................................................................... iv

    Chapter 1. Introduction .................................................................................................1 1.1. Pedagogy in bounds ....................................................................................................9

    1.2. Outline of the dissertation .........................................................................................18

    Chapter 2. Irony and reading event ............................................................................22 2.1. Colebrook, irony and the event of sense ...................................................................28

    2.2. Whiteheads ontology of events and prehensions .....................................................37

    2.3. Whitehead/Stengers constructivist ontology of reading ........................................45

    Chapter 3. tienne Souriau and an existential ontagogy of reading .......................51 3.1. Interruption; or against business as usual .................................................................52

    3.2. Instauration and tienne Souriaus passive vitalism ................................................58 3.3. Ingression; reading to-be-made.................................................................................82

    Chapter 4. Constructivist pedagogy of reading .........................................................92 4.1. Life is a problem .......................................................................................................95

    4.2. Reading intensively .................................................................................................106

    Chapter 5. Conclusion: Pedagogy Without Bodies ..................................................120

    References ...................................................................................................................136

  • 1

    Chapter 1. Introduction

    At its best, this thesis is a thought experiment. At its worst, a work to-be-made gone bad.

    Either way, it attests to a journey of thought passing along the lines not of a map, but of a

    witchs flight, as Deleuze and Guattari would have it, zigzagging. The writing itself

    indicates that this journey was not an attempt at a linear progression, nor a desire to reveal

    some hidden truth about reading and pedagogy. What follows is also not an effort at

    constructing a coherent whole which would give readers a sense of comfort at knowing

    that perhaps there is something to understand completely or master and that they can follow

    in a sequential, logical way the words they encounter on these pages.

    Abrupt passages and disjointed narrative, these pages demonstrate, for a lack of a better

    word, that the ideas as well as the writing at some point started to take over independently

    of my intentions in a manner that felt more like weeds growing in all directions, smothering

    my own voice. Perhaps this is because English is my second language and I feel somewhat

    detached from it. At times the sense of detachment allowed me to sit and observe how the

    ideas came together in their own rhythm, bobbin-lacing the different concepts of the

    philosophers, hoping that the patterning of these concepts would yield to the readers a sense

    of how I encountered texts without having to offer an explanation. Inviting readers to lace

    their own sense of the work; to pin down patterns and hold them in place just until the next

    concept sets in motion a different pattern; to wait for the sense to peak here and there; or

    to experience some of the longer theoretical passages as pure nonsense.

    As a student of linguistics in my native tongue, and later of feminist theory, I have always

    been drawn to the philosophical themes of detachment, translation and indifference. The

    three are sort of an undercurrent that carries the central theme of this thesis, namely a

  • 2

    pedagogy of reading. They are not articulated in these pages, neither as concepts nor as

    philosophical propositions. Rather, they function as a silent limit not alluding to a beyond,

    but to points of inflection where sense and nonsense fold on the line.

    When I first came upon the concept of ironic consciousness as developed by Kieran Egan

    for the purposes of conceiving a new educational paradigm, I knew irony was something I

    wanted to explore deeper. Irony carries a lot of baggage in the realm of academia. As a

    pursuit or consciousness reserved only for the keenest minds of the Western academic

    tradition (most of them white men) it has come to symbolize elitism and exclusion. It has

    also been employed as a way to challenge and subvert the Western grand-narrative tradition

    that seeks timeless, consistent, and systemic transcendental truth. Gilles Deleuze, for

    example, traces superior irony in humour, intensity and force. This irony forges forth a

    point of view of descent, rather than elevation, where the subject continually becomes.

    After reading a number of volumes on irony in literary studies, I stumbled upon the work

    of Claire Colebrook. Her two books Irony and Irony in Work of Philosophy have not only

    profoundly changed the way I approach concepts and ask questions, but raised so many

    new questions that I felt propelled to read much more of what she has written. Having said

    that, I believe that understanding her work on irony gave me a specific direction as to how

    to read her work on questions such as sexual indifference and the Anthropocene. So when

    I first read her speculative question regarding reading How would we re

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