This week was spent mostly moving through Bayne’s “Academetron, automaton, phantom: uncanny digital pedagogies” in my posts for the WordPress blog as well as Edwards’ The end of lifelong learning: A post-human condition? Studies in the Education of Adults”, but more in a way that informs rather than overtly draws from. Both proved interesting in terms of repositioning pedagogy in a posthuman context.
The WordPress posts themselves dealt mostly with aspects of Academetron in that pursuit of the uncanny as a vehicle for learning. This builds quite a bit on Meyer, J.H.F. and Land, R. (2003), “Threshold concepts and troublesome knowledge” in the idea that crossing boundaries represents a real opportunity for learning. This pursuit of troublesome knowledge, learning that aggressively removes our sense of familiarity with the learning itself, poses a real opportunity for higher education. Higher education is often a conglomerate of disciplinary silos (not Edinburgh, of course) and these silos define space, relationships, language, and knowledge itself. A posthuman pedagogy, one that specifically embraces ephemeral connections and elusive boundaries, defies these silos and makes association across disciplines and spaces as it sees fit.
So we are left with the pursuit of affect, which essentially is what the uncanny, disquiet, unfamiliar landscapes of online learning produces. It is visceral and violent to some degree, emotive surely, a knowledge formed from rapid associations of people and content. It is the harbinger of a “newness” that speaks to learning online. A pedagogy might do worse than looking to affective elements as a gauge of learning.
In my posthuman pedagogy example, I chose to look at the combination of media as a vehicle for producing affect. These different forms of video produce “little war machines” that bring about a sense of “newness” in knowledge. This was illustrated, rather rudimentarily, in my posthuman example through the work of James Joyce and Ulysses, that swirling miasma of sight, sound, and smell, of both material and psychical realities. This built on some of the posts I did this week pointing the psychical relationship I, as a student, have to the University of Edinburgh. A symbol divorced from a material meaning, it acts as a beacon of esteemed learning perhaps. It is murky, but I am drawn to it like a pilgrim to a holy site. It illuminates my way through these uncanny online spaces.
Speaking of uncanny, did anyone think this is what James Joyce sounded like? The audio is an old recording he did of some of his works.