Professor Michalinos Zembylas (Open University of Cyprus)
Decolonizing Trauma Studies in the (Post)Anthropocene:
Implications for Qualitative Inquiry
Trauma studies became prominent in the early to mid-1990s as an attempt to address various forms of human suffering and their literary or artistic representation. Born out of psychoanalytic theories and the study of Holocaust as the landmark traumatic event of the 20th century, trauma studies’ mission was to bear witness to traumatic histories. The concept of trauma has gradually become a catchword of our times, especially with the rise of popular psychology and the self-help industry; trauma now includes a wide array of experiences of suffering ranging from war, conflict and sexual assault to the sense of living in a permanent state of crisis in global and neoliberal cultures. In the contemporary era, trauma has become closely aligned with psychological and medical terminology—especially the post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Psychoanalytic, psychological and medical perspectives understand trauma as an event that cannot be processed and harms the psyche of the individual.
While trauma studies have produced important insights into the relationship between psychic suffering and the impossibility of knowing trauma, critics in various disciplines have been arguing that the cultural, social, historical and political aspects of trauma should not be ignored. Hence, in addition to accounts of trauma emerging from the Holocaust or contemporary narratives about the traumatic experiences of living in global and capitalist societies, some theorists have begun to expand the scope and theorization of trauma to include the experiences of wars, sexual and physical assaults, poverty and colonization. These broadened understandings highlight the entanglement among trauma, politics and history in the (Post) Anthropocene and explore its ethical and political possibilities.
Despite the expansion of trauma studies in various academic areas, including education, critics over the years have challenged some fundamental dictums established by the founders of trauma studies—e.g. the theorization of trauma in predominantly psychological and medical terms; the prevalence of an event-based understanding of trauma; etc.—as well as the limited scope of this field of study. What has been particularly criticized by some scholars in recent years is the Eurocentric understanding of trauma that has left some topics—particularly colonialism and its catastrophic effects—out of the focus of trauma studies. Ultimately, this scholarship calls for a reconceptualization of the concept of trauma that connects trauma with power, politics and the colonial legacies.
The aim of this keynote is to call for qualitative researchers in education and other human sciences to grapple with recent developments in trauma studies and engage in reconceptualizing their research practices so that they pay attention to the catastrophic effects of colonialism on individuals and communities in the (Post) Anthropocene. Joining other critics who have called for decolonizing trauma studies, I turn to decolonial and postcolonial perspectives to reorient qualitative research practices for the collection and analysis of trauma narratives and suggest a decolonial understanding of trauma in education. Importantly, my goal here is not to tell researchers how they can enact a decolonizing approach in practice; there is a growing literature showing how researchers can enact decolonizing methodologies and practices in qualitative research. Instead, my focus in this talk is on discussing how one might process a decolonial research orientation that reconsiders the theoretical and research framing of trauma in qualitative inquiry. For this purpose, I will suggest two decolonial research orientations that can be useful to qualitative researchers in their efforts to use decolonial frames that reconceptualize trauma research in education and other human sciences: (1) Acknowledging the problems of Eurocentric approaches to trauma; and, (2) reinventing research practices that are delinked from Western frameworks of understanding trauma, while embracing ‘other(ed)’ ways of doing research on trauma.
Presenter Biography: Michalinos Zembylas is Professor of Educational Theory and Curriculum Studies at the Open University of Cyprus, Honorary Professor at Nelson Mandela University, South Africa, and Adjunct Professor at the University of South Australia. He has written extensively on emotion and affect in relation to social justice pedagogies, intercultural and peace education, human rights education and citizenship education. His recent books include: Affect and the rise of right-wing populism: Pedagogies for the renewal of democratic education, and Higher education hauntologies: Living with ghosts for a justice-to-come (co-edited with V. Bozalek, S. Motala and D. Hölscher). In 2016, he received the Distinguished Researcher Award in “Social Sciences and Humanities” from the Cyprus Research Promotion Foundation.
The CG Collective
Un-key-noting is a conscious move to do and think differently about keynotes, what they do, how they work, and what they produce. Un-key-noting builds on our propositional concept of the academicconferencemachine (Fairchild et al., 2022) which we have worked with to push the boundaries on what constitutes knowledge, and how knowledge gets reinforced, disciplined, and structured at/in/through conference spaces. In pushing these boundaries to disrupt conference spaces we have engaged in undisciplined research. This has opened up opportunities for more experimental, creative and curious spaces within which more inclusive, diverse, relational, and affirmative methodological approaches to ‘method’, ‘knowledge’ and ‘ways of knowing’ can and might flourish (Benozzo et al., 2019; Taylor et al., 2019; Carey et al., 2021; Fairchild et al., 2022). We pursue this commitment to undisciplining (qualitative ) research with this un-key-noting event, which enacts a performance of indisciplinarity which experiments with and contests normative keynote methodolatry:
Etymology: method + -o- + -latry; Noun methodolatry (uncountable) – a slavish adherence to traditionally valorised research methods.
Etymology: keynote; Verb keynote – to deliver a keynote address to (a political convention, etc), to outline (political issues, policy, etc) in or as in a keynote address and and and…
This un-key-noting is not a traditional paper to be delivered in front of an audience in a lecture theatre. Rather, it aims at deconstructing the longstanding traditions of the keynote and its attendant instantiations of originality, power, and authorial authority. The traditional keynote reminds us of a religious ritual: There is a revered guru who delivers a sermon/knowledge to an immobile audience impelled to sit still and act as disciplined listeners. The guru is centre stage, often elevated, separate from and raised above the audience, a target of visibility. Our un-key-keynoting envisages a more non-conformist kind of gathering which loosens the grip of ritualistic methodolatory, which interrogates conventional knowledge dissemination, and plays with the hierarchical modes of keynotes in traditional conference settings. Our (un)sett(l)ing the keynote format through forms of serious play which invites audience participation in undoing the ways in which power get formed and framed in keynote rituals. By per/forming un-key-noting as an undisciplined gathering, we invite forces, affects and undisciplined forms of knowing to conglomerate and participate in the shaping of knowledge otherwise.
In as much as we claim intentionality, the experimental aim of un-key-noting is to foster in participants a different kind of focus/locus: to become knowing through the embodied, through knowing the unknown, and through relational experiences otherwise. We hope that this shifts the focus from the delivery (of knowledge) to collective response-ability for and caring for/about living (with knowledges). We aim to experiment with the ways that un-key-noting might re-distribute authorial power to all bodies in academic spaces. Our attempts will be articulated and performed through a number of un-key-noting devices and practices that will be read and performed in un-key-noting experimentations. We experiment with devices such as: speaking out of turn and calling for a response, audience/speaker becoming-in-togetherness , collectively (un)learning and engaging with/in response-able experiences. During the un-key-noting performance we will invite the audience to participate in the crafting and presenting of key notings. More specifically, alongside our keynote speeches we will collectively engage in 4 un-key-noting practices which are participatory and relational, whilst simultaneously disturbing more traditional forms of knowledge sharing events. These practices include and invite audience participation in a variety of different experimental modes, moves and moods. By harnessing relationality and re-distributing the authoritative keynote presence and voice, we hope to relate knowledge and spatial bodies in unconventional ways. The event will be affective, relational; a (not) keynote that is led but invites collaborative (un)becomings that nurture spontaneous (re)turnings with/in the power of the collective body.
Keywords: un-key-noting, relationality, response-ability; distributed voices, academicconferencemachine
Presenter Biography: The CG Collective are an international group of researchers who are working with posthumanist, feminist materialist, post-qualitative and undisciplined research practices oriented to doing qualitative research differently. Since 2016, we have been working together to find creative ways of disrupting normative, bureaucratic, business-as-usual modes of knowledge production, both in article writing and in academic conference spaces (see Benozzo et al., 2019; Taylor et al., 2019; Carey at al., 2021). We have conceptualised academic conferences as material-discursive spaces – as spaces of the AcademicConferenceMachine – which, as structured, neoliberal, organizational spaces, run the risk of becoming so regulating, normalizing and standardizing that they might lose the possibility to produce different knowledge and to produce knowledge differently. Our work goes beyond straightforward critique of these spaces to produce new forms of academic knowledge production about conferencing. In working towards creative, alternative modes of recognition and contestation for scholars, we propose the need for a significant departure from normative conference practices. We have composed our recent experimentations in our collective book Knowledge Production in the Material Turn: Disturbing Conferences and Composing Events which was published in 2022 (Fairchild et al. 2022).
Professor Hillevi Lenz-Taguchi
Enactments of ontological relationality: diffracting Feminist New Materialism inquiry and octopus-human relations
The aim of this talk is to enact patches of more extensive analyses produced through my diffractive readings of my accumulated experiences of Feminist New Materialist scholarship diffracted with the narrative offered by Craig Foster in the documentary film My Octopus Teacher (Ehrlick & Reed, 2020). What emerges from these diffractive readings is the figuration of Feminist New Materialist inquiry as the multifaced Octopus vulgaris. This FNM octopus-figuration moves around in waters of different ontological undercurrents, activating both foundational and postfoundational forms of epistemologies that produce various forms of knowledge at different scales: from evolutionary biology, to affective face-to-face relations, to politics of species protection/extinction to economies of fishing-industries. The multifaceted octopus-figuration will be presented as two intertwined ‘faces’ of Feminist New Materialisms inquiry, to illustrate the foundational-postfoundational entanglements. FNM inquiry is thus perceived as an assemblage of emergent forms of inquiry, struggling with foundations and the relations between ontological, epistemological and methodological modes of inquiry. All of which – and preferably together, as I suggest, might be of great importance in the production of worldingknowing in line with Haraway’s (1985) thinking since her Cyborg Manifesto.
A specific take on ontological relationality, as differing from a relational ontology, will be discussed as a possibility of putting in a motion some hopefully productive relations between multiple forms of ontologies and epistemologies in what Anna L Tsing (2015) calls a “rush of stories”. I will exemplify by putting in relation various stories of octopus-human relations in this presentation, derived from my diffractive readings – stories of worldingknowing that relate to the intertwined ‘faces’ of the FNM octopus-figuration. Perhaps it is what this rush of stories from and with multiple ontologies and epistemologies can do collectively that might make a difference? A difference that might help us think in new creative and constructive ways around a common problem of urgent concern.
Presenter Biography: Hillevi Lenz Taguchi is Professor of Education and Child and Youth Studies at the department of Child and Youth Studies, Stockholm University, Sweden. Hillevi Lenz Taguchi has experience of critical, feminist and gender-pedagogies, feminist activist work in higher education and early childhood education practices since the mid 1990s. Her methodological work has transformed from doing feminist poststructural actionresearch with ‘deconstructive talking practices’ with practitioners into trans- and multidisciplinary research practices. She is much involved with the theoretical developments and transgressive methodologies as part of the Posthumanist, Feminist New Materialist and Post Qualitative turns. Her publications concern the areas of feminist, social- and educational-science theory and methodology, child and childhood studies, early childhood (teacher) education and practices.
Recent publications in English:
Elkin Postila, T & Lenz Taguchi, H. (forthcoming). Multiple Storying of Crisis and Hope: Feminist New Materialisms as an emergent ethico-onto-epistemology of multiple messmates at different scales, in eds. Alecia Youngblood Jackson and Lisa A. Mazzei. Postfoundational Approaches to Qualitative Inquiry. Routledge.
Lenz Taguchi, H. & Eriksson, C. (2021). Posthumanism/New Materialism: The Child, Childhood and Education. In: N.J. Yelland, L. Peters, N. Fairchild, M. Tesar, & M.S. Pérez (Eds.). The SAGE Handbook of Global Childhood. SAGE, pp. 165–177.
Lenz Taguchi, H. L., Semenec, P., & Diaz-Diaz, C. (2020). Interview with Hillevi Lenz Taguchi. In Posthumanist and New Materialist Methodologies (pp. 33-46). Springer, Singapore.
Bodén, L., Lenz Taguchi, H., Moberg, E., & Taylor, C. A. (2019). Relational materialism. In Oxford research encyclopedia of education.
Most cited: Lenz Taguchi, H. (2009). Going beyond the theory/practice divide in early childhood education: Introducing an intra-active pedagogy. Routledge.
Dr Emma Maynard and Megan Bennett (University of Portsmouth)
Co-producing Co-production: exploring motivations and methods for co-produced research
Why should we co-produce research? In recent times, co-production research has enjoyed significant attention, seen in public service development as well as in academic spaces. This Pre-Conference workshop will draw in colleagues to think and rethink about what excellent co-production research might look like. Drawing on work by a range of scholars, such as Glenn Robert, Brett Sholtz, Simon Edwards and Wendy Sims-Shouten, as well as our own work, we will reflect on the applications, opportunities and limitations of co-production with vulnerable and marginalised populations including children. Within this lies some thorny issues – How do we know when we have truly “done” co-production? Is there a limit to what co-production can do? How do we engage participants in meaningful ways, without inflating and deflating expectations? Should ALL research be co-produced for social gains? – and if not, what lies beyond?
Stepping inside the possible experience of a co-researcher, we will ask what this process might mean to them, be they a child, a patient, or a campaigner. We will question the quality of their experience within our methods, and think about the personal value of participation. We will also turn our attention to our methodologies, aiming to problematise traditional power imbalances, and question what impact might look like for a truly co-produced research project. We might well ask, impact for who?, as we consider who seeks to gain from co-production, and whether the agendas of the academy, the community, and the professional sector can align within such a model.
Our aspiration for this Pre Conference workshop is to leave with more work to do. We hope to inspire future co-production work for one another, and take forward a working party to consolidate our ideas into best practice.
Dr Emma Maynard is a senior lecturer in education. Her current research interests include: Social complexity and health; Change and transformation in complex families (Family Stories Project); Researching with children and young people; and Mental health and wellbeing of children, young people and families. She has created intervention approaches for working with children and families, and her project Family Stories: empowering transition to sustained change with complex families is currently in place in Portsmouth with the Early Help and Prevention service. She is an Associate Editor of QMIP (Qualitative methods in Psychology) and a member of the Editorial Board for Psychology & Health.
Megan Bennett is a PhD student in the School of Education and Sociology at the University of Portsmouth. Her research focuses on co-producing a multi-modal approach to promoting social and emotional learning in a primary school, with and for children.
Professor Carol A. Taylor (University of Bath) and Dr Nikki Fairchild (University of Portsmouth)
Walking-with theory: feminist materialist/ posthumanist encounters with objects, bodies and spaces
2 hour workshop – situated indoors and outdoors.
Feminist materialist and posthumanist thinking presumes that matter and discourse are entangled and co-constitutive and that neither is foundational. Instead, matter is conceptualised as agentic and all sorts of bodies, not just human bodies, are recognised as having agency. This radical move has profound ontological, epistemological and ethical consequences; it raises serious methodological questions about how we do qualitative research, and how knowledge in posthuman times can come to matter differently. Drawing on the work of Karen Barad (2007), Jane Bennett (2010), Rosi Braidotti (2013) and Donna Haraway (2015) the workshop invites participants to enact a feminist materialist/ posthumanist theory-praxis deìrive – that is, a playful, political walk or stroll – which activates walking with feminist materialist/ posthumanist theory as a means to unsettle anthropocentrism. In this, the workshop aims to offer a co-compositional research space for experimental encounters. It puts to work a practice of walking with theory to attend to everyday things that we don’t normally notice or accord value to, and to bring to the fore the value of affective, sensory, embodied and relational research practices. Drawing on aspects of Carol and Nikki’s experimental research practice-ings and theoretical thinking, this workshop is structured as a three-part research-creation process: an initial theoretical orientation; a participatory, experimental feminist materialist/ posthumanist deìrive where participants will get out of the room and go for a short walk; and a critical, collaborative speculative wondering regarding the matter and meaning which emerges. All materials for this workshop will be provided. Participants should bring smartphones and dress accordingly for Portsmouth outdoor weather. There will be an opportunity to develop a piece of collaborative writing/journal article after this workshop.
Professor Carol A. Taylor
I am Professor of Higher Education and Gender in the Department of Education at the University of Bath where I am Director of Research and lead the Learning, Pedagogy and Diversity Research cluster. My research utilizes trans- and interdisciplinary feminist, new materialist and posthumanist theories and methodologies and focuses on the entangled relations of knowledge, power, gender, space and ethics in higher education. I am co-editor of the journal Gender and Education. I serve on the Editorial Boards of Teaching in Higher Education, Critical Studies in Teaching and Learning, and Journal of Posthumanism. My research profile details my publications and projects:
Dr Nikki Fairchild
I am the Associate Head (Research and Innovation), School of Education and Sociology, University of Portsmouth. My research has two bifurcations the first is employing research-creation and creative methodologies to provide different ways to disturb and enact knowledge production, the second focuses on place-spaces in Early Childhood classrooms and gardens and how they impact on bodies. My work is activated theoretically informed by critical feminist materialisms and posthumanisms. I am an Associate Editor for the Journal of Posthumanism and on the Editorial Board of Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood. My research profile details my publications and projects:
Professor Vicky Hunter (University of Chichester)
Site, Dance and Body:
Worlding human-nonhuman relations through site-based movement practice.
2-hour workshop – situated indoors /outdoors (weather dependent).
This workshop explores Hunter’s practice-based research into body-site relationships encountered in and through site-based movement practice. Informed by theories of New Materialism (Barad 2003, 2007, Bennet 2009, Haraway 2014, 2016) Human Geography (Massey 2005, Longhurst 2000) and non-representational / worlding theory (Stewart 2012) it explores human-non-human engagements and body-site synergies and their implications for Anthropocene thinking. The practice explores the ‘vibrant matter’ (Bennett 2009) of bodies, sites and their and materials in dialogue with one another and employs a somatically informed, corporeal approach through which human-world entanglements and embodiments emerge through intra-active encounters.
Through simple tasks, group and solo exercises the workshop explores complex human-non-human material entanglements through playful intra-actions and engages participants in embodied, qualitative enquiry through which body-world relations are fostered and enacted. Through practical enquiry the workshop puts ‘vital materialism’ to work in pragmatic ways and illustrates a form of praxis that works to ‘counter the narcissism of humans in charge of the world’ (Bennett 2009, p.xvi).
The session will include:
1) An introductory overview of the facilitator’s praxis in relation to the conference themes.
2) A site-based movement session (for all abilities / levels of experience) in which participants will engage in movement tasks and short exercises. Tasks will practically illustrate philosophical perspectives that explore intrinsic relationships between bodies and urban environments in which bodies, objects, space and time engage, assemble and re-convene.
3) A post-practice discussion and evaluation of the movement practice as a method of exploring and considering sites and spaces in and through the body.
Incorporating pedestrian, organic and somatically informed modes of moving and responding to tasks, scores and provocations participants are invited to consider emergent movement and bodily ‘utterances’ (Haraway 1991) as articulations of the ‘conversations’ between mobile bodies and moving sites.
Participants should wear loose, comfortable clothing and appropriate footwear for moving (i.e. trainers or boots) and be prepared to engage with the physical site through their body – no previous movement / dance experience is required. Please bring water as required.
Presenter Biography: Prof Vicky Hunter is a Practitioner-Researcher and Professor in Site Dance at the University Chichester, UK. Her research explores site dance and the body-self’s entangled engagements with space and place through considerations of corporeal, spatial and kinetic engagements with lived environments. Her monograph Site, Dance and Body: Movement Materials and Corporeal Engagement was published by Palgrave in 2021, and her edited volume Moving Sites: Investigating Site-Specific Dance Performance was published by Routledge in 2015. She is co-author of (Re) Positioning Site-Dance (Intellect 2019) with Melanie Kloetzel (Canada) and Karen Barbour (New Zealand) exploring regionally based site-dance practice in relation to global socio-economic, political, and ecological themes through a range of interdisciplinary perspectives including feminist scholarship, human geography, neoliberalism, and New Materialist discourses. Other publications include:
- June 2022: ‘A Holding Space’, Ecocene: Cappadocia Journal of Environmental Humanities 3, no. 1 (June).
- Sept 2020: ‘Dancing-Walking with Trees’, in Smith, P (ed.) Walking Bodies, Bristol: Triarchy Press.
- July 2020: ‘Somatic Landscapes and Urban Identities:’ Athens Journal of Architecture, Vol. 6, Issue 3.
- June 2019: ‘Vernacular Mapping’, Choreographic Practices Journal, Special Edition, ‘Dancing Urbanisms’
- Spring 2017: ‘Perecquian Perspectives: Interdisciplinary Dialogues with Site Dance’, Literary Geographies.
Dr. Ken Gale (University of Plymouth, UK) & Professor Jonathan Wyatt (University of Edinburgh, UK)
Using Deleuze and collaborative writing in troubled times: engaging activism and resistance through collective writing
Drawing upon and infused by the ‘micropolitical’ moves of Deleuze and Guattari, Braidotti, Manning and others, this participative workshop takes up Briadotti’s proposition to explore how collaborative writing “like breathing, [is] not held into the mould of linearity, or the confines of the printed page, but move[s] outwards, out of bounds, in webs of encounters with ideas, others, texts” (Braidotti, 2013, p. 166). In other words, we will work with the view that collaborative writing is a political act, a “minor gesture” (Manning, 2016), a world making that opens up to the new and challenges the sedimented.
We will provide participants with the opportunity both to engage in and engage with collaborative writing, working with ideas of what collaborative writing might be. The main focus of the session will involve the ‘act of activism’ (Madison, 2010) of collaborative writing, working with what collaborative writing can do, and considering its potential as activist research and pedagogic practice.
The learning objectives for the workshop will be for participants to:
- Gain insight into the relationship between the theoretical writing of Deleuze and Guattari, activism, resistance and collaborative writing
- Apply these insights to their scholarly writing practices
We envisage the workshop being of interest to:
- Researchers with an interest in using narrative and collaborative approaches to inquiry
- Those interested in exploring, experimenting and working with collaborative writing as activist practice
- Those curious about Deleuze
- Researchers wishing to develop innovative approaches to their scholarly writing practices
Ken Gale works in the Institute of Education in the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Business at the University of Plymouth in the UK and has published widely and presented at a number of international conferences on the philosophy of education, research methodologies and collaborative approaches to education practices. His current research involves the use of more than simply human approaches to theorising and inquiry, in encounters with creative and relational space making and the in/formational play between discursively constructed and materially constituted aspects of pedagogy and research in contemporary education. His most recent book, Writing and Immanence: Concept making and the reorientation of thought in pedagogy and inquiry is due for publication by Routledge at the end of 2022.
Jonathan Wyatt is Professor of Qualitative Inquiry and Director of the Centre for Creative-Relational Inquiry at The University of Edinburgh. Originally an English teacher and youth worker, he worked for ten years as a counsellor in a doctors’ surgery alongside being Head of Professional Development at the University of Oxford, before heading north to Scotland in 2013. His book, Therapy, Stand-up, and the Gesture of Writing: Towards Creative-Relational Inquiry, published by Routledge, won the 2020 ICQI Qualitative Book Award.