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Childing and Co(labouring) at the AERA Conference in Toronto

Cara Borcherds and I had written a chapter for the book Feminist Research for 21st-Century Childhoods: Common World Methods. The book had arrived after my return (see image 1). The session was a poster session and I had been asked to work together with Cristina Vintimilla and Iris Berger who had written a chapter called Colaboring (Cara couldn't make the conference).

All authors had been invited to submit a short piece on a verb central to a different (politically) doing of childhood studies. We had chosen the verb Childing - inspired by David Kennedy and Walter Kohan’s work in philosophy with children and their research on pre-Western conceptions of time. Of course each conception of childhood presupposes a particular concept of time, hence the relevance of their work for decolonizing notions such as “development” and “progress” in developmentalism (so pervasive in early childhood education). But childhood is not just a period in a human life, but also a particular relationship with, and experience of, time (aion)—as associated with play—a particularly forceful and intense experience of being-in-time: childlike. As such, the concept child shifts from noun to verb, something all of us can do: to child. When childing, the ageless subject is always in process, always “on-the-way”. Karin illustrated the implications of childing for teacher education by showing a couple of images from the book where she is sitting on the floor and Cara, her former student, deliberately took photos of her with half her head missing and diffractive images of her on the beach during a field trip(image 2) and in class (image 3). In the article these images work to show how a posthuman teacher education childhood studies course disrupts the the power-producing adult/child binary. During the presentation Karin provoked the binary expert/nonexpert at a conference similarly by sitting on the floor.

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