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Educational Possibilities: Testimony and Emotions
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences Education.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0487-5395
2018 (English)In: Educational Research: Boundaries, Breaches and Bridges: Abstract Book, University of Oslo , 2018, p. 348-348Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

In the paper presentation at NERA I intend to present a developed part of my PhD thesis, Det omöjliga vittnandet: om vittnesmålets pedgogiska möjligheter (Eskaton, 2017); a thesis on the educational possibilities of testimony and witnessing.

In the thesis I investigate what testimonies and the act of witnessing can do in relation to education. More specifically, I investigate what kind of educational possibilities there are in witnessing and testimony, in relation to teaching as well as outside schools. I do this by focusing three different aspects, namely representation, subjectivity and emotion. Three aspects that relate to the phenomenon of testimony – but also have bearing on the daily life of teaching. In the paper presentation at NERA I will focus on one of these aspects, namely on emotions.

Educational research shows how the use of testimony in teaching can carry on opportunities for students to create various teaching related positive values, such as a historical consciousness or an ethical approach to the world and other people, or how being exposed to various testimonies could bring about feelings and emotions – or even crises. These emotions or crises can be the starting point towards dealing with historical traumas, and through that be the basis for knowledge of history, including testimonies of those different from oneself and/or from other parts of the world. Testimonies carry the idea of being singular and to be “true” stories, this is why students and pupils exposed to testimonies are also considered of value when working with historical trauma and attempting to bring consciousness and personal ethical reflection.

For example, Felman and Laub (1991) write how the encountering with the literary testimonies may involve a learning situation where students who are exposed to testimonies become emotionally involved, and by that, the students can be taught. Felman and Laub examine the relationship between students’ crises and pedagogy, and consider the emotions and personal crisis as an opportunity for learning. It is by being deeply affected by testimony that the students can learn something.

In the thesis I develop a critique of the idea that emotions and personal crisis are possible ways for teaching and for learning to develop moral compasses or as ways to work towards social justice. Through a critic of emotions, mainly through Ahmed (2004) and Todd (2003), I argue that emotions are cultural practices, not psychological states, and are through that relational. These emotional and relational practices can also function to bring borders (as between “we and them”) and through that are not able to bring pedagogical possibilities. From this light, I develop the argument into two different movements. The first movement is about what listening has to offer, and the other concerns opacity in relation to transparency, based on Glissant (1997) and Zembylas (2012, 2015). I here argue that the students’ opacity must be preserved for a teaching that does not want to exploit pupils. Through these two movements, listening and opacity, I formulate the educational possibilities that exist in the ambivalence.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
University of Oslo , 2018. p. 348-348
National Category
Didactics
Research subject
Subject Learning and Teaching; Education
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-154282OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-154282DiVA, id: diva2:1192434
Conference
The 46th Congress of the Nordic Educational Research Association (NERA), Oslo, Norway, March 8-10, 2018
Available from: 2018-03-22 Created: 2018-03-22 Last updated: 2019-04-08Bibliographically approved

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