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Animate affects: censorship, reckless pedagogies, and beautiful feelings

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This paper argues that affect bears a potent teaching capacity. To do so, it explores the intensities that built around a student-teacher's dismissal from a US school placement. In this incident, the topic of homophobia in a poetry lesson elicited a buzz among students that enacted a pedagogy that exceeded the speaking subject. It was these animating capacities of affect, the author argues, that were deemed particularly threatening by the school. Affect as pedagogy puts pressure on legacies that position the human, usually the teacher, as the sole locus of pedagogy in the classroom and that privilege telos-driven notions of curricular ‘progress’. The paper concludes by drawing connections between the animating capacities of affect and larger debates around trigger warnings on curricular materials. The author suggests that, rather than seeking to foreclose intensities in classrooms, educators might pay more attention to how affect offers richly generative, but often overlooked, sites of pedagogical force.
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Keywords: Affect; animacy; censorship; pedagogy; queer; transmission

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA

Publication date: February 23, 2016

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