“It’s just a chicken”: Decolonising the chicken in early childhood

Year: 2019

Author: Young, Tracy, Charlotte

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Colonial politics and histories have shaped, and continue to shape, the contemporary worlds of humans and other animals. By ‘decolonising’, I refer here to the war on animals (Wadiwell, 2017) that takes place literally and metaphorically in education. Pre-service teachers engaged with an environmental sustainability unit of study explore new pedagogies, theories and alternative ways of knowing in the pursuit of such a decolonising project. What could it mean for humans to decolonise their relationships with each other to move beyond complicity and denial and venture towards ecological justice and alternative ways of knowing animals? What would it take to disentangle the sovereignty of humans over animals and the normalisation of speciesist ontology? This presentation responds to these questions by exploring how sovereign power installs and maintains the chicken in early childhood education. We ask what the chicken might want? Specifically, what might be their interests and desires so we can work towards the emancipation of animals, the chicken and the human.