Art is a significant source of expression for people with a disability and it also represents them in important ways. The work of artists with a disability can augment viewer’s feelings about them, or, to put this another way, the work of artists with a disability can create social change. Not all of the artwork made by artists with a disability is “about” disability, and this separation between being an artist with a disability who makes art, and making artwork examining disability, is often a crucial distinction to make for those involved in the development of disability arts as a social movement. In light of this distinction, art of all kinds can provide us with powerful knowledge about disability, while also facilitating an important professional career trajectory. When art is made by an artist with a disability, and is about disability-related issues, the work created is usually called disability arts. When the work is made by someone with a disability but is not about disability, it may not necessarily be considered disability arts. This collection of work that is less concerned with identity politics is important, and is also worthy of independent consideration.
Kanako W. Ide
Numerous discussions can be had around the theme of education, democracy, and the performing arts. In addition to requiring an engagement of multidisciplinary understandings, these terms are difficult to define. To create an integrated discussion of education, democracy, and the performing arts, selective assembly is inevitable, but a procedure to shape it has to be carefully engaged. By using the philosophy of education discussion on the value of democracy, however, these themes can begin to be framed in relation to one another. We apply a philosophical framework that applies both traditional values, as well as the value of difference, as methods of maintaining democratic society. By looking at these themes through three moral values of democracy—the value of tradition, the value of difference, and the value of renewal through the accommodation of both—three further classifications can be drawn, dividing the dance-oriented performing arts into categories of Classical Production, Critical Production, and Innovative Production. Each of these performing arts production categories can be taken as a reflection of one of the democratic values: Classical Production represents the value of tradition, Critical Production represents the value of diversity, and Innovative Production represents the value of renewal through accommodation. By applying to these categories the examples of specific performing arts productions, artists’ training and education, and associated performance interpretations, we can consider the ways in which the aesthetic experiences of each type of performing arts production educate spectators as well as artists about democratic values at the level of physical sensations, mental processes, and emotions. Through an articulation of the distinctive aesthetic characters of each type of performing arts production in their specific contexts, their differences can function as an educational discussion, supporting the exploration of different aspects of democratic educational values, rather than in elevating the values of one form of performing arts over another. All aesthetic experiences provided by these types of performing arts function as distinctive educational moments of democracy, for artists and spectators alike, through the medium of physical movement and sensation.
Jessica A. Heybach
The intersection of aesthetics and education offers space to understand how the study of perception, sensuous experience, beauty, and art provide the potential for learning and human emancipation. These domains have been persistently understood as necessary to cultivate democratic societies by shaping citizens’ moral, ethical, and political sensibilities. Aesthetics is often considered a dangerous and paradoxical concept for educators because it offers the means for both political transformation as well as political manipulation through disruptive, engrossing, all-consuming aesthetic experiences. In short, aesthetic experiences are powerful experiences that make one think, interpret, and feel beyond the certainty of facts and the mundane parts of existence. Aesthetics offers humans the means to heighten our awareness of self and other. Thus, the study of aesthetics in education suggests there is a latent potential that exists in learning beyond simply acquiring objective information to logically discern reality. Defining aesthetics, a complicated task given the nature of aesthetics across disciplines, is achieved by taking the reader through three perennial debates within aesthetics that have education import: the trouble with human passions, the reign of beauty, and aesthetic thought beyond beauty. In addition, the influence of aesthetics and imagination on experience and education as articulated most notably by Maxine Greene and John Dewey offers the obvious entry point for educators seeking to understand aesthetics. Looking beyond the philosophical literature on aesthetics and education, new directions in aesthetics and education as seen in the growing literature traced through the study of cognition, behavior, biology, and neuroscience offers educators potentially new sites of aesthetics inquiry. However, the overwhelming trajectory of the study of aesthetics and education allows educators to move beyond the hyper-scientific study of education and alternatively consider how felt experiences—aesthetic experiences—often brought about when fully engaged with others and one’s environment, are sites of powerful learning opportunities with moral, ethical, and civic consequences.
Einar Sundsdal and Maria Øksnes
Play has been an interest of philosophers and educationalists since the first academies and a field of scholarly interest for over a hundred years. There is no memorandum of understanding on what is common to all forms of play, neither in a philosophical nor an educational context. Despite this lack of a common understanding of play, philosophers of education have had high expectations for play’s contributions to human life. In troubling times, when philosophers and educationalists assume that freedom is compromised, the future is uncertain and bleak, and there is not much hope for freedom and progress, play is often considered a valuable problem-solving apparatus. Bold claims are made on behalf of play—that it is “the absolute primary category of life,” “the purest, most spiritual activity of man,” and not least that man is “only fully a human being when he plays.” It is a common assumption that children’s play is a future-oriented practice central to all development and learning in childhood. Play has been valued for its role in the education and upbringing of children based on the belief that through play the child moves forward. This assumption raises important questions about both play and educational practice. When formal schooling is a central part of children’s lives, educationalists ask how play can contribute to the best academic education. Thus, a central question has been to figure out how play can be put to use as a means for reaching certain educational goals, and how play can be organized to best prepare children for further education and development. Most researchers do not deny that play may contribute to a child’s development, but some argue that we have gone too far in assuming the contributions play makes to development and learning. They question whether it is possible to make play work for academic education and suggest that we risk replacing the spontaneous experience of play with a more instrumental version of play where it becomes a skill or literacy. This questioning points to the discussion of when something is play and when it is not play but something else. In addition, the claim that play can contribute to a range of developmental and learning outcomes seems to hinder research premised on the intrinsic value of play.
Curriculum Studies has an abiding concern for creating curriculum that leads toward the good society. Typically, this concern has taken either a technical approach to citizenship education or political projects, redressing society’s ills and wrongs. The citizenship approach attempts to establish correct citizenship behavior. The political approach attempts to reorganize the structure of society. Neither approach attends to the inner ethical life of the person. A third approach also exists in the Curriculum Studies literature: how ethics and aesthetics are grounds for educating for a good society through cultivating the inner ethical life. Asserting the intersection of ethics and aesthetics has an old history throughout the world. In the European tradition, it begins with the Greeks, who theorized that one of the major areas of inquiry, axiology, actually was two areas of concern, asking two conjoined questions, “What is ‘the good’?” and “What is ‘the beautiful’?” They recognized that these two questions had intersecting concerns but went no further than a cursory mention. This insight has continued, in various forms, to this day. The Chinese tradition, which began before Confucius, theorizes a similar connection. Contemporary Curriculum Studies literature takes two approaches to the ethics–aesthetics intersection. The first approach favors studying how people encountering already made art may be aided in developing an ethical life through those encounters. This literature uses three ethics systems: pragmatism, affective education (akin to naturalism), and utilitarianism. In this approach, the relationship of aesthetics to ethics is basically instrumental: encountering aesthetic objects is an instrument that can lead to an ethical life. The second approach makes art-making central to cultivating or enlivening ethical consciousness. To varying degrees, this approach treats the experience of making art (cultivating an aesthetic consciousness) as a “door” to ethical consciousness such that one cannot necessarily pass through the door without it. Art-making only means making art, which all people are capable of doing (rather than a focus on training professional artists). Both approaches offer a significant opportunity to rethink the contribution aesthetics and the arts can make to fostering the good society. They also offer an opportunity to rethink what it means to do Curriculum Studies by considering the place of body and aesthetics in all of Curriculum Studies.
Fenwick W. English and Rosemary Papa
Aesthetics of leadership pertain to leadership activities and actions in contemporary educational settings, expanded to include a range of human sensory experiences, from clothing and cosmetic choices to pragmatic somaesthetics, an area of human decision making that involves choices regarding norms and prescriptions in all human contexts. Considering aesthetics in leadership runs up against a long tradition in educational administration and leadership of conventional social science methods of inquiry and what is considered evidentiary. There are at least six dimensions of organizational issues that are judged to be cultural: determination of normative procedures; organizational rituals, rites, and ceremonies; organizational myths, stories, and legends; statements regarding mission, vision, and philosophy; personnel issues such as mentoring, recruitment, promotion, and role modeling; and architectural and physical structural issues. School culture emerged as a concern of educators and policy change agents engaged in introducing a variety of alternatives in education. It soon became apparent that to be successful, proposed changes in human behavior had to move beyond trying to persuade through the use of facts, data, and logic. Human behavior is in part responsive to psychosocial norms. Only a few of these norms may be written; the majority may be unwritten and learned through living them on a daily basis. The unwritten rules and rituals of a group such as a school or university department, when considered holistically, may be called a “culture.” The art of leadership is not contained by the science of management; it is found in aesthetics, somaesthetics, and connoisseurship, and is embodied by human elements, or accoutrements.
Karen A. Krasny and Patrick Slattery
Postmodernism is a mid-20th-century response to 18th-century Enlightenment rationality. As a movement that developed across a diverse range of disciplines, it is not so much defined by a distinct chronology but rather is predicated on a recognition of the past and has come to represent a way of operating. The late Italian semiotician and writer Umberto Eco argued from an ideological point of view that every period in history has had its postmodernism. Architect and critical theorist Charles Jencks further polemicized postmodernism as a specific form of cultural resistance. In his view, postmodernism operates as a communicative set of values to address the needs of a society, and he cites architecture’s response to the pressing need for mass housing and large-scale urban redevelopment as an example of postmodern innovation. Inspired by postmodernism as a critical movement in the arts, architecture, and philosophy, postmodern curriculum similarly works to reject the universalizing ideals of modernity. It shares Jencks’s polemic stance and would have us reimagine the literal and metaphorical bricks and mortar of schools, colleges, and universities to advance a broader understanding of curriculum with the aim of addressing the need to provide fair and equitable access to education. The postmodern notion that the past has everything to do with the present is central to decolonizing efforts aimed at acknowledgment and reconciliation of the devastating and oppressive ends of curriculum as institutions. For example, government-sponsored residential schools in Canada and the United States stand as a glaring example of the abject failure of modern education to embrace the communicative ideals of postmodernism in its response to First Nations people. Postmodern curriculum is committed to a decentering and challenging agenda aimed at exposing and undermining master narratives of truth, language, knowledge, and power. Dynamic and responsive, postmodern curriculum’s holistic and ecological approach to education works to dissolve the artificial boundary between the outside community and the classroom to celebrate and honor the interconnectedness of knowledge, experience, international and local communities, the natural world, and life itself.
Modesta Di Paola
Cosmopolitanism is an ancient idea with a wide theoretical and critical history. Scholars across the humanities and social sciences have been examining the meaning and trajectories of this concept, showing how it spotlights ways in which people can move beyond mutual understanding and cooperation. However, cosmopolitanism does not have to refer to a transcendental ideal but rather to the material and real condition of global interdependencies. Cosmopolitanism has been connected to the philosophical concept of “becoming-world,” which develops this idea in the context of plural and ecological societies. Under this approach, cosmopolitanism turns into cosmo-politics, which fuses notions of educational and cultural creativity. From the philosophy of education and artistic education in particular, cosmopolitics seeks to outline the advances of new creative educational theories, which center on globalization, hospitality ethics, politics of inclusion, and the ecological connection between human beings and ecosystems; overall, this concept reveals the possibilities for moral, political, and social growth in the encounter with the other (human and natural). Cosmopolitics is, therefore, associated with the idea of educating with creativity, even proposing the elaboration of new pedagogical methods. Here, cosmopolitics has arisen as a crucial artistic educational orientation toward reimagining, appreciating, and learning from our common world.
Michael P. O'Malley, Jennifer A. Sandlin, and Jake Burdick
Public pedagogy is a theoretical concept focusing on forms, processes, and sites of education and learning occurring beyond formal schooling and practices. Scholars have drawn from the theoretical arenas of cultural studies, critical pedagogy, and artistic/aesthetic approaches to learning in the public sphere. Focusing on both the hegemonic and the resistant aspects of public educational sites, educational scholars employing the term typically explicate its feminist, critical, cultural, performative, and/or activist pedagogical dimensions. Other scholars studying public pedagogy take up the challenge of redefining education in order to deinstitutionalize its conceptualization and uncouple it from its automatic associations with schools; and yet others take these criticisms further to explore posthuman reconceptualizations of pedagogy. Public pedagogy scholarship between 2011-2019 deploys various imaginings of the nature of the public, bringing divergent yet needed specificity to inquiry. Conceptualizations of public pedagogues and intellectualism in this time period focus less on a heroic figure advocating for marginalized groups and more on educative interruptions of public space, on popular yet disqualified knowledges, and on communal engagement that organizes around shared dissent from marginalization and alliances across difference. Theoretical and methodological investments in the study of public pedagogies have expanded to highlight poststructural and postcolonial radical critiques of the subject and nationalized legacies of colonialism. There is greater attention to the processes of becoming publics, with an emergent turn to decolonial, queer of color, posthumanist, and similar frameworks. Understandings of the pedagogical processes of public pedagogy have emphasized Marxist critical perspectives on ideological transfer; embodied, performative, and aesthetic relational dimensions; and posthumanist efforts to complicate ordained and boundaried familiar narratives, inclusive of viewing the public as a plurality of relations constituted by the human and other than human. Two productive tensions that call for further exploration in public scholarship involve the need to problematize and exceed its colonialist and humanist origins, and amplifying a relationship between scholarship and activism so that public pedagogies outside and inside institutional spaces foster an ethical vocation of the public sphere.
Kathleen Gallagher, Nancy Cardwell, Rachel Rhoades, and Sherry Bie
The field of drama education and applied theater is best understood through a consideration of the major developments and aspirations that have shaped its trajectory over three historical periods: the latter years of the 19th century up until 1960, between 1960 and 1990, and the years encompassing the turn of the 21st century, 1990–2015, which was a decidedly more globalized epoch. The drama education/applied theater scholarship of the English-speaking world, including the United Kingdom, Europe, Australia and New Zealand, and North America, offers a fascinating distillation of the relationship between making drama and learning, including the history of alternative forms of education. Scholarship from Asia drawing on traditional forms of theater-making, as well as imported and adapted structures of Western drama education movements, speak to hybrid and ever-expanding practices across the globe. Although young as a discipline within the academy, drama education/applied theater has all but made up for its relative immaturity by spanning a wide domain of multidisciplinary thinking, embracing an eclectic theoretical field that covers an enormous breadth of social issues and a vast range of learning theories, while straddling a compelling spectrum of political positions. The development of the field is infused with pioneering ideas that broke with entrenched historical traditions and habitual ways of learning, harkening toward new ways of thinking, being, relating, and creating. Taking the world as its source material and humanity as its target audience, the history of the progressive discipline of drama education/applied theater tells the story of an ambitious, flawed, idealized, politicized, divisive, and deeply humanistic scholarly and practice-driven field.