I knock at the stone's front door: performative pedagogies beyond the human story

Mcphie, Jamie ORCID logo ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5290-1685 (2018) I knock at the stone's front door: performative pedagogies beyond the human story. Parallax, 24 (3). pp. 306-323.

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1080/13534645.2018.1496581


Thinking posthumanly – from a post-Enlightenment, critical, new materialist perspective – things, including concepts, become more permeable and topological – they leak and stretch. Freed from limiting notions of agency, things behave. Rivers have established the same legal rights as humans in New Zealand and India, stones have been reported slithering across the desert floor in California, an electrical power grid in the USA has revealed a unique agential dexterity and walls have been spotted walking over mountains in the UK’s Lake District. Thinking with a posthuman partiality, we begin to witness a democracy of objects rather than an anthropocentric dictatorship over inorganic materials. If agency is reworked into an ‘enactment’ as opposed to something that is ‘held’, conceivably humans and other biological organisms are not necessary for agency (or life) to emerge as inorganic material agency erupts from unchoreographed assemblages of spacetimematter(ing). And if cognitive and dermatological boundaries are no longer organ-ised by an Enlightenment prescription, how might pedagogies perform differently and more equitably? This article draws on the empirical materials from two psychogeographic walks that agitate lithic spaces with a posthuman affection. Part One examples a radical mobile classroom that I undertake regularly with university students where the use of it-narratives exposes the distributed agency of buildings. I explore what a posthuman gaze might do to/for performative pedagogies as my students attempt to interview a building. Part Two offers an example from my previous post-qualitative PhD inquiry which – by manipulating the practices of psychogeography and schizocartography – highlights how a shopping centre assemblage called Liverpool ONE diagnosed itself with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), thus reinforcing the notion of inorganic agential distribution. The pedagogic implications of this posthuman diagnosis are discussed.

Item Type: Article
Journal / Publication Title: Parallax
Publisher: Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
ISSN: 1460-700X
Departments: Academic Departments > Science, Natural Resources & Outdoor Studies (SNROS) > Outdoor Studies
Depositing User: Jamie Mcphie
Date Deposited: 13 Dec 2018 17:02
Last Modified: 13 Jan 2024 08:00
URI: https://insight.cumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/4267


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