Venue : Cogut Center for the Humanities, Brown University, Providence, RI USA.
Dates: October 27-28 2017

The symposium will bring together interdisciplinary scholars, educators, artists, activists and community organizers to participate in a pedagogic experiment using the Workshop as a site of exchange.

My idea is to present a practice and experiment that I have been doing with anthropologist Aarti Kawlra around knowledge production in a sustained context of collaboration under the Mellon funded programs Rethinking Asian Studies (2013-2016) and Humanities across Borders: Asia and Africa in the World (2016-2020) of the International Institute of Asian Studies (IIAS), Leiden. Together we have conducted workshops and Summer schools at Chiang-Mai (2014), Jaipur (2015), Accra (2015) and Chiang-Mai (2017) that led us to critically question and expand our own disciplinary frameworks and methodologies. Further, we observed that the classroom, seminars and field contexts nevertheless progressively spiraled to subtly reproduce pervasive hierarchy of knowledge and deeply entrenched gender biases. Facilitated by and through IIAS’s global network, our collaborative inquiry has developed in spaces outside of formal disciplinary borders and academic settings, and has been galvanized by our shared passion in search of craft itineraries and practitioners. Being attentive to embodied knowledge and open to surprise in the ordinary – the unexpected answer to an unframed question – we became interested in challenging the division between pedagogy for higher education and pedagogy for the people, between “high” and “low” education and between technical and humanistic education.

We want to present this shared methodological toolkit in-the-making to those who are practicing socially engaged curricula and pedagogies in the USA. Another important goal of this symposium is to learn from the experience of institutions and individuals that are experimenting in alternative pedagogies in the US.

Françoise Vergès
Visiting Scholar, Cogut Center for the Humanities
Chair Global South(s), MSH, Paris.

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