Shameless Ethics, Honourable Dissent: Curious Encounters as a Decolonial Strategy in Contemporary Educational Praxis
Iyer, Aishwarya Kumar
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Curiosity is studied, by an interdisciplinary body of work, as a pursuit or the motivation for the pursuit of knowledge. According to Pam Grossman and John L Jackson Jr in Curiosity Studies: A New Ecology of Knowledge (2020), the social currency that avows innovation as critical over curiosity, places curiosity as merely a personal pursuit, a wilful enquiry to satiate personal desires. But they claim that certain cultivated forms of curiosity are ‘would-be-elixirs’ without which innovation wouldn’t reach the potential it claims to have (Grossman and Jackson Jr, viii). Without attempting to focus too much on the ontological interrogation of – What is Curiosity, this thesis attempts to understand how curiosity is practised by examining contemporary educational praxis. To do so, I ask – How do practices of curiosity in contemporary educational praxis contribute to decolonial work? By answering this question, I hope to support my claim that the decolonial value of contemporary educational praxis is related to how knowledge and by consequence curiosity, is done by performing for and at encounters. This paper focuses on the ‘How?’ to observe what is done in the process of knowledge production and transmission. With this intention, the thesis first develops an initial theoretical framework that takes lessons from performance studies to propose that the practice of curiosity should be examined within an event of knowledge. Thereby applying the same to examine how knowledge is conceived, produced, and managed in contemporary educational praxis. The thesis aims to enumerate ways in which contemporary educational praxis is transforming what it means to teach and learn, how it perceives knowledge formation and transmission differently, and finally, how it contributes to the decolonial project.