Pedagogies of Implication: Facing Legacies, Affirming Presents, Imagining Futures

Year: 2021

Author: Todd, Sharon

Type of paper: Symposium

Who counts as the ‘public’ in public education has long been a source of political contestation. However, calls for inclusion, cultural responsiveness and anti-racism are not simply about increasing access to schools and systems of education as they already exist, but require a qualitative shift in how both the public and education themselves are understood.This paper explores such a shift by theorising ‘public education’ as a relational and creative process through which complex forms of solidarity are made possible (instead of as a system that caters for an already defined public that is often exclusionary at best). In particular I focus on ‘pedagogies of implication’ as processes whereby students are given opportunities for exploring their interrelationships with other people, things, and life forms.  It is a relational pedagogy that cuts across different temporalities: affirming our profound interconnection to others in the present, while also facing the legacies of coloniality and imagining collective decolonial futures.However, teaching about colonial harm and racist imaginaries (both past and present), raises serious questions about what we are doing as teachers and how the future itself might be engaged. For instance, how do pedagogies resist simply reproducing the tropes of violence and suffering that divide the world too easily into perpetrators and victims, categories which only allow for narrow, singular and polarised identifications and which fail to affirm the complex cosmologies, ways of living, and bodily practices that mark lives beyond victimhood? And how can we think about implication in light of the layers of denial that haunt all of us who are beneficiaries of systems that rely on multiple violences, on other people’s hardship, other life forms’ suffering, and unsustainable relations to the earth? Denials which seem so necessary as defences against becoming overwhelmed, guilt-ridden, and shamed?This presentation responds to these questions by drawing on Michael Rothberg’s (2019) notion of the ‘implicated subject’ as central to solidarity and Vanessa Machado de Oliveira Andreotti’s (in press) discussion of ‘depth education’ as way of dealing with implication creatively along with the layers of denial that mark life in modernity, and by interweaving this with observations from a graduate course I recently taught on Social Justice Perspectives in Education. Overall, this presentation calls for seeing public education as an enactment of implication that is necessary for generating solidarities – an enactment that faces our past strategies for how we conceive, respond, judge, story, and write the world we live in while inviting creative forms of doing so differently.  ReferencesMachado de Oliveira Andreotti, Vanessa (in press) Hospicing Modernity: Facing Humanity’s Wrongs and the Implications for Social Activism. North Atlantic BooksRothberg, Michael (2019) The Implicated Subject: Beyond Victims and Perpetrators. Stanford: Stanford University Press.