Chapter 11 Pedagogical Misanthropy in mother!

Decentering the Human in Ecocritical Education

In: Ecocritical Perspectives in Teacher Education
Authors:
JT Torres
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,
Emma McMain
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John Lupinacci
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Abstract

The authors are three critical educators in teacher education programs who value multi-modal arts-based methods to disrupt the monoculture of text in instruction. Adorno’s aesthetic theory, Haraway’s speculative fabulation, and Freire’s critical literacy intersect to form a conceptual framework that situates EcoJustice pedagogy as an arts-based activity. In this chapter, the authors discuss how the film mother! could be used as a catalyst for critical analysis in a Social Foundations or Multicultural Education course. Teachers lead a discussion deconstructing the scenes in terms of the discourses of curriculum or educational policy that most likely led to characters’ behaviors. For instance, teachers might ask students in what ways humans have been systematically taught superiority over other species; or, they might question the ways humans learned a narrative of separation from the environment. Following this discussion, students outline the anthropocentric curriculum that they believe results in the dystopian vision of mother! Next, students imagine a utopian counterpart to the film, in which more-than-human species are involved and mother, the film’s protagonist and representation of Earth, is resituated as a respected and respectful character. Students design another curriculum, one that would most likely lead to their alternate visions. They do so by relying on storytelling as a critical use of what Freire calls “envisagement,” allowing them to both critique and revise reality.

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