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Article

Education Research Beyond Cyborg Subjectivities  

Annette Gough and Noel Gough

The term “cyborg,” as a combination of “cybernetics” and “organism,” was coined by Manfred Clynes and Nathan Kline in 1960 in a paper presented at a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) conference on space exploration as a representation of a particular challenge of space travel: physically adapting a human body to survive in a hostile environment rather than modifying the environment. Soon after, NASA commissioned “The Cyborg Study” to investigate the theoretical possibilities of incorporating life support–related technologies into future spacecraft design. From the beginning, cyborgs were seen as the realization of a transhumanist goal—liberating humans from the limitations of the body and its environment by means of mechanization. Outside of space exploration, the term “cyborg” has evolved to encompass an expansive mesh of the mythological, metaphorical, and technical. Initially mainly taken up by science fiction writers to create superhumans, the notion entered cultural studies in the 1980s, particularly through Donna Haraway’s feminist “cyborg manifesto,” which argues that we are all cyborgs. Since then, terminology has shifted, and cyborgs are more likely called “posthumans,” “more-than-humans,” “other-than-humans,” or “companion species.” Discussions of cyborg and posthuman subjectivities in educational research have taken two main directions. The first argues that with equipment like tablets, smartphones, and laptops, students and teachers are already cyborgs—hybrids of human and machine—accessing information, resources, networks, groups, personal relations, libraries, and mass media through the Internet. Other research has investigated how the construction of cyborg and posthuman subjectivities changes the relationships between humans and their surroundings, devising new social, ethical, and discursive ways of thinking and representation.

Article

Trans and Gender Diverse Youth and Education  

Jenny E. Kassen

As more young people find language to describe their gendered experiences, education as a field is reckoning with how to best support and affirm them in schools. Research centering on the experiences of transgender and gender diverse students (TGDSs) has brought to light many issues that impact on their school experiences, such as lack of curricular visibility, in-school support, and lack of appropriate facilities, illuminating the systemic forces at play that hamper TGDS participation and livability in schools and drawing attention to the violence that is enacted against them through erasure and overt transphobia. Examining the pervasive violence that TGDSs face at school through a framework of epistemic injustice provides an entry point conceptualizing of violence as extending beyond direct physical or verbal victimization to include the harm done when an individual is disqualified by others as a knower of their own experience. Cultural cisgenderism, the systemic erasure of TGD people in all aspects of society, is the vehicle by which epistemic injustice organizationally and instructionally informs and creates school climates where TGDSs come to be subject to verbal and physical aggression. Understanding the violence that impacts on every aspect of TGDSs’ academic trajectories as expressions of cultural cisgenderism and epistemic violence provides educators with options for intentionally examining the ways in which school systems are complicit in the production of a silence and invisibility around gender diversity which cultivates unsafe gender climates and thus facilitates more overt forms of harm. Examining the more insidious and normalized forms of epistemic violence opens up space to probe more deeply into how a positive—not merely bearable—school experience might be imagined for and with TGDSs.

Article

Trans Theory and Gender Identity in Education  

Alden Jones

Trans theory is a set of ideas, tools, contestations, divergences, and investments in gender(s) in and beyond the gender binary of male and female as it is understood in Western contexts. Gender identity is, in part, an individual’s gendered sense of self. Both transgender theory and gender identity are implicated by and concerned with education given the relative (in)visibility of transgressive or variant genders. Educational spaces are concerned with gender since they are one of many socializing and normalizing structures that seek to instill binary genders. Trans theory and gender identity are understood in educational spaces as additive to the social norm of binary gender, though both the theory and the concept ultimately elucidate the need for a reexamination of what gender is and what it does, as well as to and for whom.

Article

Gender and Education in Postcolonial Contexts  

Barbara Crossouard and Máiréad Dunne

Education has been a central institution in the installation and legitimation of gender binaries and racialized difference in colonial and postcolonial eras. While the term “postcolonial” can refer to the period after which colonized nations gained their independence, a postcolonial critique also engages with the afterlife of the metaphysics of Western modernity. Notably, the imperial project of Western modernity assumed the superiority of the colonizers and provided the legitimation for the deep injustices of colonization to be framed as a “civilizing mission.” In particular, the processes of colonization imposed a “modern/colonial gender system,” which reconstructed the gender norms of many societies around the world, and which subordinated women by binding them to the domestic sphere. Its “biologic” presumed a heterosexual matrix in ways that were also profoundly racialized. Importantly, education was a critical institution that not only legitimated Western knowledges and values, but also secured women’s regulation and subordination. In postcolonial eras, education was given central importance in ways that have tied it to modern imperatives. For the newly independent postcolonial nation, education was critical in the construction of a national imaginary but this framing has reproduced rather than disrupting colonial gender norms. Harnessing education in support of national development inserted the postcolonial nation in a hierarchy of “developed” and “developing” nations. The focus on development similarly permeated efforts at curricular reform, such that they often reproduced the gendered, racialized, and classed hierarchies of colonial education. What counted as legitimate knowledge remained framed by Western elite institutions and their technologies of power. Importantly, from the moment of their independence, the global reach of multilateral organizations has constantly framed the postcolonial trajectories of “developing” nations and their educational reforms. Although often contradictory, the discourses of such organizations intensified the imperatives of education for national development. This compounded pressures to increase educational access beyond elite groups and to include more females. However, the technologies of power that support these international policy agendas bind such reforms to modern imperatives, so that they have become a critical site for the reinscription of binary understandings of gender. This is also true for contemporary international concerns for “quality” education. This is prosecuted largely through promotion of learner-centered education, a concept that is also infused with Western democratic ideals and values. Interrogation of the “hidden curriculum” further shows that the education in postcolonial contexts remains a key institution through which gender is instantiated in essentialized and binary ways, infused by modern ideals of presumptive heteronormativity. Resisting such binaries requires an understanding of gender as something that we “do,” or that we “perform,” within the contingencies and exigencies of particular social and cultural contexts. In turn, these theoretical understandings call for in-depth qualitative studies that can attend to the particularities of the gender regimes in different educational contexts and other intersecting structures of difference (race, ethnicity, religion, class, sexuality) that are rendered invisible by education’s legitimation of difference as a question of disembodied individual merit and ability.

Article

Gender and Sexuality in Street Youth Cultures in the United States and Canada  

Sam Stiegler

Young people’s experiences with spaces commonly called “the streets” are greatly influenced by gender and sexuality. Because queer and trans youth are policed in specific ways because of their identities and presentations and because queer and trans youth are more likely to experience homelessness than their peers, it is vitally important to understand the ways these young people are making meaning, knowledge, and culture from their experiences on “the streets” within the contexts of the United States and Canada.

Article

Queer and Trans* of Color Critique, Decolonization, and Education  

Omi Salas-SantaCruz

The increase of transgender visibility and politics correlates with a renowned interest in gender equity in schools. The diversity of trans* and gender-expansive social identities, along with divergent conceptualizations of the meaning transing/trans*ing, ontology, identity, and embodiment, produces a wide range of ideal and pragmatic approaches to gender equity and justice in education. Fields and analytical frameworks that emerge from Decolonial Feminism, Queer Indigenous Studies, Queer of Color Critique in education, Jotería studies, and transgender studies in the United States have unique definitions, political commitments, and epistemological articulations to the meaning and purpose of transing/trans*ing. These divergent articulations of trans*ing often make projects of transgender equity and justice incommensurable to each other, or they converge at the various scalar aspects of equity design and implementation. By historicizing, or re-membering the rich body of decolonial modes of trans*ing bodies, knowledge, and selves, trans* of color critique in education research makes trans* justice possible by disrupting white-centric approaches to transgender inclusion that may fall short in the conceptualization of trans* justice and what makes a trans* livable life for queer and trans people of color.

Article

Learning from Disequilibrium and Educating the Feminine Voice in Philosophy  

Naoko Saito

This article broaches what can sometimes be seen as the suppression of the female voice, sometimes the repression of the feminine. To address these matters involves the reconsideration of the political discourse that pervades education and educational research. This article is an attempt to disclose inequity in apparently equitable space, through the acknowledgment of the voice of disequilibrium. It proposes to re-place the subject of philosophy, and the subject of woman, through an alternative idea of the feminine voice in philosophy. It tries to reconfigure the female voice without negating its fated biological origin and traits, and yet avoiding the confining of thought to the constraints of gender divides. In terms of education, it shall argue for the conversation of justice as a way of cultivating the feminine voice in philosophy: as the voice of disequilibrium. This is an occasion of mutual destabilization and transformation of man and woman, crossing gender divides, and preparing an alternative route to political criticism that not only reclaims the rights of women but releases the thinking of men and women, laying the way for a better, more pluralist, and more democratic politics. The feminine voice can find a way beyond the dominance of instrumental rationality and calculative thinking in the discourse on equity itself. And it can, one might reasonably hope, have an impact on the curriculum of university education.

Article

Provocations, Perspectives, and Possibilities of Chicana/Latina Feminist Pedagogies  

Tanya Diaz-Kozlowski

Chicana/Latina feminist thought and pedagogies offer interdisciplinary contributions that reimagine family, community, liberation, teaching, and learning rooted in de-colonial praxis. Chicana/Latina feminist thought and pedagogies have cultivated theoretical, methodological, and epistemological cartographies that map questions such as: what are the evolving conditions that shape the oppression Chicanas face in their daily lives?; how do Chicanas cultivate multiple subjectivities that strive for embodied wholeness rather than partiality?; in what ways can intersectionality as a theory of oppression not difference dismantle systems of privilege and inequality that are pervasive within institutions such as education, healthcare, the prison industrial complex, the military, religion, families, and mass media?; and how can theories of the flesh which emerge through the lived experiences of Chicanas’ lives offer new pathways to coalition building, activism, scholarship, and teaching and learning that remain bridged to equity, and to justice as praxis not place? Chicana feminist thought includes themes of the history and material conditions of Chicanas as the basis for feminist consciousness, reclaiming malinchismo and marianismo, sexuality (Chicanas as sexual subjects), a commitment to political action, coalition building and recognition of difference among Chicanas, and challenging the vendida logic within Chicano culture. Chicana/Latina feminist pedagogies are insistent that everyday experiences of Chicanas are worth studying because they serve as key sources of knowledge that are necessary to theorize new de-colonial visions of life, family, labor, community, and education. Chicana/Latina feminist pedagogies are multidisciplinary in their approach and are culturally specific ways of organizing teaching and learning in informal sites such as the home and community, ways that embrace Chicana ways of knowing and creating knowledge that point to schooling spaces as full of creativity, agency, movement, and coalition building.

Article

Antiblackness and the Adultification of Black Children in a U.S. Prison Nation  

Amir A. Gilmore and Pamela J. Bettis

Discourses in the early 21st century surrounding the presumption of childhood innocence were undergirded by antiblackness. The theorization of antiblackness within the context of race, gender, and education has been beneficial to understanding how the mistreatment of Black children and the illegitimacy of Black childhoods within the white American racial imaginary is seemingly justified. Foundational to the United States, antiblackness is a race-based paradigm of racial othering and subjugation through a litany of organized structural violence against Black people. Structured outside the realms of humanity and civil society, Black life, through this paradigm, is regarded as other than human. Arguably, antiblackness shapes all racialized, gendered, sexualized conditions and experiences of all Black people, including the age compression of Black children. Antiblackness scholarship posits that there is an institutional unwillingness to see Black youth as children. Discourses on what it means to be a child, who can occupy that position, and when a particular stage of a child’s development is reached, are all structured against Black youth. Pathologized as deviant, adult-like problems, Black children occupy life in a liminal space, where they are denied childhood status but carry adult-like culpability. As adultified Black youth, they lack autonomy and are not granted leniency to learn from their mistakes like their white peers. With their actions and intentions perceived as deviant, ill-willed, or hypersexual, Black children are susceptible a wide range of violence from school punishment, the criminal justice system, sexual abuse and exploitation, and excessive police force.

Article

Latinx Curriculum Theorizing  

Ganiva Reyes

Latinx curriculum theorizing is a constellation of curriculum scholarship rooted in the histories, knowledges, and everyday lives of peoples from across the Latin American diaspora. It is a framework that pushes back against demonizing stereotypes, caricatures, and colonial generalizations of an entire diaspora. Born out of resistance and liberation, it comes from the histories and practices of Latinx peoples in creating counternarratives, education reform, and activism. Specifically, Latinx curriculum theorizing includes the following: (a) Latinidad as a collective point of entry, (b) Latinx as a term, (c) history and circumstance as curricular knowledge, (d) counternarratives and testimonio as curriculum theorizing, (e) cultural knowledges of Latinx students and community as theory, (f) cultural knowledges of Latinx teachers, and (g) Latinx communities generating critical pedagogies and education initiatives. Latinx curriculum theorizing draws from a variety of Latinx philosophical traditions, including critical race theory, Latina feminist philosophy, Latinx and Chicanx studies, and various strands of Latin American, Continental, Caribbean, and Africana philosophy. While scholars who do Latinx curriculum theorizing are trained in theories such as critical race theory, feminist theory, and post- and decolonial theories, because of the subject matter and the people, this framework is the next step up in putting such foundational theories into conversation with one another. It is therefore a newly emerging framework, in the early 21st century, because it draws upon all these perspectives to account for a very transitionary, contradictory, and messy Latinx experience. What makes something distinctly Latinx curriculum is an engagement with a state of transition and liminal spaces, both pedagogically and epistemologically, with the varied and multilayered trajectories of Latin American-origin realities. Far from being a monolithic and static framework, Latinx curriculum theorizing is itself malleable, contested, and in transition. Just as Latinx itself is a contested term within academic and activist spaces, Latinx curriculum theorizing is a point of contestation that makes it a framework with porous boundaries that can explain and even redefine the Latinx educational experience. As such, Latinx curriculum lends itself to nuanced analysis and praxis for issues of gender, sexuality, ethnicity, language, migration, racial hierarchies, and colonial legacies. This type of curriculum theorizing also points to power structures from multiple social locations and offers pathways for social change and liberation.