Hogeschool Rotterdam Willem de Kooning Academie

Critically Committed Pedagogies: A Semi-Public Seminar

Critically Committed Pedagogies: A Semi-Public Seminar

Time/Date: March 10, 10:00-17:00
Organized by: Master Education in Arts, Piet Zwart Institute in collaboration with Castrum Peregrini
Moderated by: Renee Turner and Frans-Willem Korsten, course tutors Master Education in Arts
Location: Castrum Peregrini, Herengracht 401, Amsterdam (The public entrance is at the back of the building in the Beulingstraat.)

As this is a working seminar with limited space to facilitate discussion, reservation is required. Send your request to: Susana Pedrosa: s.m.de.melo.pato.pedrosa.de.jesus@hr.nl

This event begins with a site, an apartment at Herengracht 401 in Amsterdam. Although small, the walls are lined with books and framed portraits. It is the former house of Gisele van Waterschoot van der Gracht, a Dutch artist who hid a group of young Jewish men and Dutch intellectuals during WWII. The place was known amongst them as Castrum Peregrini, or ‘the fortress of the pilgrim’. During their time of hiding, Gisele and her friend, the poet Wolfgang Frommel, taught them literature, poetry and art. Drawings were made in close proximity – a view of a rooftop out a window or a face within an arm’s reach away. Poems were read aloud or in silence, and meticulously indexed word for word. Once liberated, each, those who sought refuge and those who gave sanctuary, would recount how this intimate education conceived against all odds, nourished their souls in a time of political darkness.

Working from this unique place and its history, the seminar entitled, Critically Committed Pedagogies, examines unexpected sites and paradigms of learning, with the aim to plot spaces for maneuverability, if not resistance or possibilities for imagining and acting otherwise.

Guest Speakers

# 1 “Critical Pedagogy in Time-Space: Chronotopes of Learning”
By Peter Kraftl
This talk explores the interdependency between critical pedagogy, space and time. It argues that the spaces and times in which we seek to teach and learn do not merely constitute a passive background but actively shape the pedagogical situation and its outcomes. Taking as a departure point Mikhail Bakhtin’s concept of the chronotope – defined as a specific constellation of time and space that accommodates particular subjectivities and events – I reflect on how different types of space and the temporalities with which they are bound up facilitate or hamper critical pedagogies as fostering active, dialogic understanding. Specifically, I focus on the chronotopes of the parlor or salon (as discussed by Bakhtin), the classroom (in its different incarnations at the University of Amsterdam, from the see-through “fishbowls” of the PC Hoofthuis to the austere former board room of the East India Company), the hiding space (Castrum Peregrini during the Second World War) and the prison (as portrayed in the American television series Orange Is the New Black). While the physical openness of the learning space might seem to be a prerequisite for the emergence of a critical pedagogy, I will argue that confined spaces can also foster critical and creative understanding through the inherent dialogicity of language, which makes even the most isolated person a social node, and through the materialized traces all spaces bear of their histories, which manifest as hauntings demanding an active learning from both acknowledged and forgotten pasts. In the end, by paying greater attention to the time-spaces in and through which learning takes place, we may be able to apprehend and validate different ways of learning and new forms of knowledge and understanding.

Professor Peter Kraftl is Chair in Human Geography College Director of Internationalisation at the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Birmingham. He is best known for his research on pedagogical geographies, and especially for research into the emotions, affects, materialities and practices that make up the everyday lives of children in education. He also publishes on geographies of education and architecture. His books include: Space, Place and Environment (2016); Emotions in Policy and Practice: Mapping and Making Spaces of Childhood and Youth (2015); Informal Education, Childhood and Youth: Geographies, Histories, Practices. Basingstoke (2014); Geographies of alternative education: Diverse learning spaces for children and young people (2013); and Cultural Geographies: An Introduction (2013). He is currently an Editor of the journals “Area and Children’s Geographies” and was a founding member of the Geographies of Children, Youth and Families Research Group of the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG). He is also an Honorary Professor at the School of Education, RMIT, Melbourne, Australia.

# 2 “Utopia, Alternative Education and Alter-Childhoods”
By Esther Peeren
This talk will reflect on a particular trajectory in my work on architecture, childhood and education. It will be split into three linked sections. In the first, it will critically explore how unsettling and uncanny forms of hoping might prompt a reconsideration of what counts as ‘utopia’. The second section examines how alternative education practices constitute material, embodied and affective spaces of autonomy. Finally, I ask, by extension, whether alternative education spaces constitute what I term ‘alter-childhoods’ – collaborations between adults and children, humans and nonhumans, which seek to imagine, practice and materialise ways of ‘doing childhood’ other than (neoliberal) mainstreams. In doing so, I will seek to raise critical discussions about the usefulness of frames of hope, utopia, autonomy and more-than-human (especially new materialist) thinking in terms of our commitment to critical pedagogies.

Dr. Esther Peeren is Associate Professor of Media Studies at the University of Amsterdam, Vice-Director of the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA) and Vice-Director of the Amsterdam Centre for Globalisation Studies (ACGS). With Jeroen de Kloet, she is also series editor of Palgrave Studies in Globalization, Culture and Society.  She is the author of The Spectral Metaphor: Living Ghosts and the Agency of Invisibility (2014) and Intersubjectivities and Popular Culture: Bakhtin and Beyond (Stanford UP, 2008). She is co-editor of The Shock of the Other: Situating Alterities (2007), Representation Matters: (Re)Articulating Collective Identities in a Postcolonial World (2010), Popular Ghosts: The Haunted Spaces of Everyday Culture (2010) and The Spectralities Reader (2013). Her research on globalisation focuses on how processes of globalisation influence the formation and representation (in literature, film, and television) of marginal subjectivities, on the underilluminated impact of globalisation on rural areas, and on the changing relationship between centres and peripheries.

# 3 “A Frightful Leap into Darkness: Auto-Destructive Art and Extinction”
By Jack Halbersma
This talk explores variations on Auto-Destructive art from the 1960’s to the present. Recent exhibitions, like Damage Control: Art and Destruction since 1950 at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington D.C. in 2013, and art events like The Serpentine’s “Extinction Marathon” of 2014, have returned to ADA from the 1960’s and have emphasized the links that were made then and continue to linger today between ADA and the ongoing environmental, health and military crises that define our own historical moment. This recent interest in ADA, however, attempts to draw out its productive and even positive function. And so curators like Kerry Brougher of the Hirshhorn have built shows around the idea of ADA but have emphasized the possibility that spectacles of mass destruction can morph into “something positive.” However, the spirit of the practice of ADA, which was born around the time of Adorno’s pronouncements about the impossibility of poetry after Auschwitz, invites us to inhabit corrosion, to sit with the deeply destructive tendency of the human and to see how the market exploits the contradictions between violence and art. I explore ADA against the backdrop of contemporary trans humanist thought and in relation to queer art projects that grow out of the earlier movement.

Jack Halberstam is Professor of Gender Studies and English at Columbia University. Halberstam is the author of five books including: Skin Shows: Gothic Horror and the Technology of Monsters (1995), Female Masculinity (1998), In A Queer Time and Place (2005), The Queer Art of Failure (2011) and Gaga Feminism: Sex, Gender, and the End of Normal (2012) and has written articles that have appeared in numerous journals, magazines and collections. Halberstam has co-edited a number of anthologies including Posthuman Bodies with Ira Livingston and a special issue of Social Text with Jose Munoz and David Eng titled “What’s Queer About Queer Studies Now?” Jack is a popular speaker and gives lectures around the country and internationally every year. Lecture topics include: queer failure, sex and media, subcultures, visual culture, gender variance, popular film, animation. Halberstam is currently working on several projects including a book titled WILD THING on queer anarchy, performance and protest culture, the visual representation of anarchy and the intersections between animality, the human and the environment.

Photograph of Gisele’s apartment by Simon Bosch, courtesy of Castrum Peregrini