What I am about to show you was bound to happen.
Inna Semetsky has reviewed Tyson Lewis and Richard Kahn’s new book, Education Out of Bounds: Reimagining Cultural Studies for a Posthuman Age. Semetsky’s review appears in the non-April 1st edition of Teacher’s College Record1, the organ of Teacher’s College, the branch of Columbia University and training ground for future teachers.
Lewis and Khan (and Semetsky, and by extension many teachers, too) are concerned about something called “anthropocentric pedagogical practice.” As it was applied to a certain feral child, Semetsky says:
The concept of the “monster” as critically and creatively examined by the authors is the major qualifier to designate a precise line of division between what contemporary collective “scientific” consciousness perceives as binary opposites, such as human and nonhuman animals, or normal and abnormal. Still, goes the argument, because a persistent surplus as “a residual stain” (p. 43) of the primal division cannot be incorporated into the stable symbolic order, the “educated” subject of this very order is left outside “zoomorphic imagination” (p. 69) that could have exposed it to the much broader epistemology and a specific grammar of the feral including survival skills or play as a suspension of the ban on the “social scapegoating” (p. 68). [emphasis original]
All of which when boiled down means that in “contrast to anthropocentric education, Lewis and Kahn propose an alternative pedagogy or exopedagogy as a form of posthumanist education,” one that “transgresses boundaries…by means of savage imagination.” The chief benefit of this new approach is that “Exopedagogy escapes measure and all quantitative disciplinary forms associated with prefixed norms thereby problematizing the notions of norm and normal altogether.” Indeed:
The borderline between normal and abnormal, between human and nonhuman becomes blurred. Entering the paradoxical space that opens when the dualism between human versus nonhuman is abolished or at least suspended leads the authors into the “reptoid” territory as a province of the uncanny “UFOther” (p. 73).
Lewis and Khan’s banner is “Resist the lure of the anthropological machine!” (the exclamation point is my addition, an edit I think the authors would welcome). They cite the path-breaking work of David Icke, the man who formulated the above-mentioned “reptoid hypothesis”, specifically as it relates to “the alien conspiracy theory for the purpose of further combating the humanist assumptions of ‘normal’ pedagogy.”
As is by now obvious, “Exopedagogy therefore is always a form of eco-pedagogy and as such transgresses many of the ‘contemporary forms of anthropocentric domination and destruction of complex natureculture assemblages’.”
You musn’t think it’s all fun and games with Lewis and Khan; no, sir. The elbow grease comes out in their discursion contrasting faery with fairy, the latter being “plainly a cultural artifact with the ‘inoculating trace of the faery [as] a utopian promise’ (pp. 103-104) and even faith.”
Understand: this is a brand new utopian vision. And therefore should be—no! must be—embraced. The perfection of The People is no small matter and is not to be taken lightly. “Lewis and Kahn call for a new exo-revolution informed by their project of exopedagogy that would have created a theory/practice nexus, which is missing within the present secular and materialist-oriented capitalist discourse.”
Lewis is an Assistant Professor at Montclair State University. He tells us that “schools—as with society on a larger scale—are predicated on a fundamental logic of exclusion.” This belief has allowed him “to shed new light on forms of institutional racism and classism” and to advocate “logopoiesis” (“For which there ain’t no English word”). Lewis is also author of “Swarm Intelligence: Rethinking the multitude from within the transversal commons” which appears in Culture, Theory, and Critique, 2010, 51(3), 223-238.
Richard Kahn is at Antioch University Los Angeles, and “is the co-founder and director of Ecopedagogy Association International.”
The Association has as its main goals at this time: 1) Achieve the rigorous integration of ecological politics into the discourse and praxis of the field of critical pedagogy; 2) Achieve the development of strategic partnerships between critical social justice, environmental/ecological educators, as well as theorists of these fields, and grassroots activists engaged in struggles related to these issues; 3) Produce a yearly conference at a major university; 4) Publish Green Theory & Praxis: The Journal of Ecopedagogy (http://greentheoryandpraxis.org), with issues in June and December of each year.
Mr Kahn is soliciting reviewers for this journal. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Khan is also notable for coining the word “‘zoöcide,’ a term (rhyming with ‘suicide’) that is related to genocide and ecocide, but which goes beyond those ideas to speak about the manner in which contemporary capitalist society is expunging experiences of ‘zoë,’ a ‘multidimensional and multiplicitous realm of indestructible being’ associated with sacred relationships to nature.”
1Teachers College Record, Date Published: February 01, 2011 http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 16324, Date Accessed: 3/16/2011 9:00:03 PM
Thanks to long-time reader Jim Fedako for bringing this to our attention. In my despair I note that both these gentleman receive regular paychecks, while yours truly does not.