“The pandemic has left a mark on all of us in disproportionate ways. The prospect of re:opening from the pandemic, with all of its assumptions, complexities, and uncertainties, has caused us to pause and consider what re:opening actually means. We offer the prefix re meaning both “again” and “back” (Oxford University Press, 2021), as a way to consider our relations with/in histories and futures. The : after re intensifies this relationality by “amplifying what has come before it” (histories) and “directing us to the information following it” (futures) (Grammarly, 2021). The preposition re:, meaning “in the matter of,” “concerning” (Oxford University Press, 2021), draws us to the urgency of what matters and what concerns us in the now. Thus, we conceptualize re: as a liminal space/time between pasts and futures, a bumpy space where disaggregated research practices, theoretical frameworks and methodologies meet, resist and transform. Taking the preposition re: as a proposition, we engage Donna Haraway’s provocation to stay with the trouble of what concerns us and of what matters in conversation with Sara Ahmed’s incitement to build and ruin from/with/in this liminal space/time of re:.”
– From the 2022 York Graduate Students in Education Conference call for proposals
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In the early autumn, Cristina and Nicole engaged with Dr. Adam Davies to think together about the work of crafting life and joy-sustaining pedagogies in the context of the province of Ontario – a context ripe with child development, heteronormativity, and everyday invocations of human difference as deficit. Dr. Adam Davies (they, them, theirs) is an Assistant Professor of Family Relations and Human Development at the University of Guelph. They are the Co-Chair of the Anti-Oppression Rainbow Research Lab and are active on Twitter where they boldly advocate for the rights of students and professors amid the neoliberal institution. As Cristina and Nicole prepared to offer Adam an opening provocation for our dialogue, we turned to Adam’s recent publications which invoke a palpable sense of living and embodying pedagogy as it functions as a world-making process, and never resting with pedagogy as a technocratic practice. From here, our conversation moved toward thinking who we see as our co-conspirators in this work of thinking pedagogically and in proposing possible educational worlds that are infused in ethical desire, where Adam emphasized the labour of critique in dismantling child development and the normativity it produces and reproduces, and brought to our attention a certain ethos of critique as life-giving, joining a history of thinking critique as more than neoliberalism’s ‘critical thinking’. Bringing our conversation to a (we hope temporary) close, we ask Adam about their work of critique and this insistence on refusal, where insistence is a doubled move that also insists on life. Together, many threads of the work of a pedagogist weave through our conversation, from thinking embodiment, commons, critique, collectivity, and futurity, to mounting tangible gestures against technocracy, essentialism, child development, and the colonial heteropatriarchy. We are so grateful to Adam for their time, and we offer this conversation as the inauguration of a new ally relationship and thinking companion for our work in the Pedagogist Network of Ontario. Thank you, Adam.
Continue reading “In Conversation with Dr. Adam Davies”