Posthumanism and Pedagogy/ies Panel Discussion

Join us on March 24, 2023, 12:00-14:00 (ET) for this live-streamed panel discussion chaired by Fiona Blaikie, Associate Director of the PRI. Link to the livestream here. For more information email Christine Daigle or Veronique Rousseau.

Panel description

Moving beyond the idea that humans are central, this panel presentation will offer contemplation of posthuman pedagogy/ies as entangled, interconnected, and shaped by places, temporalities, situated im/materialities, cultures, and animating entities that impact teaching, learning and scholarship.


Bretton Varga “Material (Re)shapings within Unspeakable/Uninterrupted Territories of Violence”

Abstract: If history has taught us anything, it is that anti-Black violence is deeply embedded within the material, social, and political landscape of the United States. This presentation unfolds within the (latest) occurrence of anti-Black violence in the United States: the unspeakable and senseless murder of Tyre Nichols. Using a posthuman lens, Bretton Varga brings into focus the non-human actors that continue to play a role in the (un/re)foldings of countless deathworlds and the way which they (re)animate a far-reaching arc of act(ion)s: trauma, racism, death, joy, love, and hope. Bridging (critical) social and material analysis, he (re)positions non-human entities as entry points into discourses of/around unspeakable acts of violence while also suggesting how materialism can also foster educational conversations that are rooted in desire and hope.

Bio: Bretton A. Varga, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of History-Social Science at California State University, Chico. His research works with(in) critical posthuman theories of race, materiality, and temporality to explore how visual methods and aesthetics can be used to unveil historically marginalized perspectives and layers (upon layers) of history that haunt the world around us. His work can be found across a range of disciplines including arts-based research, environmental studies, curriculum studies, social studies, and post-qualitative inquiry.

Kay Sidebottom “[Birdsong]: Pedagogies of Yearning, Surrender, and Learning from More-Than-Human Teachers”

Abstract: Educating for and about a world that is not only “for us” but one that elevates animals, plants, and the wider eco-systems on which we rely is a vital shift in times of ecological destruction. For Wallin, this is a pedagogy that teaches using “the filthy lesson of symbiosis” (Wallin, in Carstens 2018). However, at present much education focused around environmental issues continues to reinforce nature/culture binaries; the environment is at the service of humans, and neo-liberal ideals of sustainability are pervasive.  Our current predicament calls for a curriculum that encourages notions of kinship with non-human others; accepts complexity; and reframes our attachment to a shared world. In this presentation I offer a diffractive re-telling of a research project, in which participants (both human and non-) came together to explore what happens when we de-centre humans as educators. Ceasing to privilege ourselves as the ultimate instructors and holders of knowledge through artistic provocations and fabulations, we aim to inspire others to begin similar processes of noticing, de-centering and surrender in order to enact posthuman ideas in their own pedagogical practice.

Bio: Dr Kay Sidebottom is a Lecturer in Education, and Programme Director for a new MSc Education at the University of Stirling. Her current research explores how teachers can work with posthuman ideas to facilitate meaningful and disruptive education spaces for our complex times. With a background in community and adult education, her pedagogical specialisms include critical, radical and anarchist education, arts-based practice, and community philosophy.

Katie Strom and Shakhnoza Kayumova “Toward Pluriversal Praxis in Science Education”

Abstract: Despite multifaceted reform efforts in science education, inequities continue to persist among youth from non-dominant communities (Calabrese Barton & Tan, 2019). These inequities are perpetuated in part by the rational humanist perspectives that underlie scientific knowledge and practices in schools, which impose western, colonial epistemology and ontology (i.e., ways of knowing and being) as universal and correct, while rendering marginalized youth’s linguistic, cultural, and everyday resources as inferior or illegitimate. In this presentation, we map key features of western colonial thinking-being to dominant science knowledge and practice, showing how these logics continuously construct youth from non-dominant groups in deficit terms. We then explore what it might mean to construct a pluriversal praxis in science education by embracing an ontoepistemological shift based on relationality, interdependence, embodiment, ethics, and care toward youth, diverse communities, and more-than-human collectives.


Dr. Kayumova is an Associate Professor in the Department of STEM Education and Teacher Development at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, a Research Scientist at the Kaput Center for STEM Education Research and Innovation, and the founder of the STEAM Language, Learning, and Identity Research lab. Dr. Kayumova’s research closely examines the ways in which STEM education could be a context for empowerment and positive science identity development of linguistically and ethnically/racially diverse learners, and thereby increasing the representation of people of color in STEM fields.

Kathryn (Katie) Strom is an Associate Professor of Educational Leadership at California State University, East Bay, Director of CSUEB’s Center for Research on Equity and Collaborative Engagement (CRECE), and co-founder of the Posthuman Research Nexus (a global organization that supports and connects scholars engaging in posthuman and other complexity perspectives). Dr. Strom’s research combines multiple critical and complex/neomaterialist theories to study teacher learning and practice (particularly in support of minoritized youth), as well as to advocate more broadly for more relational, difference-affirmative ways of thinking-being-doing in education and academia.

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