top of page


Reconfiguring ‘diversity’ in early childhood research: queering understandings of how matter comes to matter in the baby room

25 April 2018, 4.00 pm to 5.30 pm South African Time

In this paper, I attempt a reconfiguration of ‘diversity’ in early childhood contexts by turning attention to everyday matter. I work with data that draws into sharp focus noodles, spit, sound, movement, and embodiment to argue for an opened-out view of diversity. The aim of the paper is to examine how we might move beyond narrow formulations of ‘diversity’ in early childhood and instead attend to the possibilities that open up through thinking deeply and sensing ordinary routines and mundane situations. Inspired by Haraway (2016:35) I want to tell different stories about childhood diversity than those generated through curriculum frameworks, inspection regimes, and pedagogical practices. As she stresses: “It matters what thoughts think thoughts. It matters what knowledges know knowledge. It matters what relations relate relations. It matters what worlds world worlds. It matters what stories tell stories.” In order to generate other stories this paper requires that attention is paid to how stories come about, how they come to hold currency and the affects that they have. This paper therefore considers the material-semiotic-discursive and affective entanglements that unfold during festivals, events and celebrations within an early years setting to try to gain some purchase on other stories. Particular attention is given to the materialised and embodied celebration of Chinese New Year as it plays out in the baby room. I argue that adopting a feminist new materialist approach demands that the world is viewed differently – as material-discursive and that our human-centric place in the world must be reassessed.

Related publications:

Black Space Imaginaries in Environmental Education for Young Children

May 15, 2018

There is a gap, in both scholarly and pedagogical attention to Black childhoods in the field of environmental early childhood education in North America. The specificities of Black childhoods and Black geographies in environmental education are largely marked by absence and deficit salvation discourses. In response, the purpose of this paper is to articulate Black childhood futurities through creative imaginaries of Black space in environmental education. In imagining possibilities for Black space in environmental education, I begin with the premise that the education of young Black children in North America needs to be situated within the context of the afterlife of segregation (ross, in press). Drawing from Hartman’s (2007) concept of the afterlife of slavery and its ongoing subjugations, the afterlife of school segregation as a framework, centers the ways in which despite the end of legal segregation of schooling, education for Black children remains marked by the impossibility of Black childhoods and manifests in the form of dehumanization, surveillance, deficit perspectives, punitive discipline and more (Dumas & ross, 2016). Black space, then, is a mode of envisioning educational futurities that respond to the realities of antiblackness in the afterlife of segregation but are also situated within educational desire (Tuck, 2010) that imagines otherwise possibilities; including possibilities that refuse the erasure of complex relationships between Black people and the natural environment. In this paper I begin to craft pedagogical futurities for young Black children that subvert racialized discourses such as those that dwell in nostalgia for a return to idyllic childhoods in ‘pure, romantic nature’ (Taylor, 2017). I turn in particular to the generative possibilities offered by speculative fiction for envisioning more hopeful Black educational futurities while simultaneously making visible the unevenly distributed unlivability of the Anthropocene

Please reload

Chasing educationalized curiosity in early childhood education by Soern Menning

March 27, 2017

Curiosity seems often be described as one of the magic ingrediencies in
education. When looking closer, it is regularly either valued for its role in
cognitive development and starting point for learning, while others praise
it as an element in democracy and children’s right to participation. In this
webinar, I will raise some discussions and issues around the commonly
celebrated notions of curiosity when educationalized in a preschool
To do so, the notion will be explored as part of normative and
ethical educational practices. Starting with a short cultural historical
overview, the fluidity of its normative conations will be made visible.
While psychology has neutralised this prior moral concept, I will argue
that before asking the question of “how to best nurture curiosity” we
should first ask “why we should nurture curiosity”. Through investigating
educational practices in preschools in Norway, I will portray how curiosity
is embedded in various ethical rationalities around the aim of education
and how different ethical justifications are attached to different practices.
Another often overlooked topic is how meeting children’s curiosity might
often challenge the practitioners and forces them to act in a dilemmatic
space (Honig 1996) where other values and aims of education intervene.
In the following discussion I hope to engage the members of the
research group in a conversation on how a relational-materialist and
affective conceptualization of curiosity could be a starting point for
developing alternative practices and ethical justifications for nurturing
curiosity in education.

Fanon and child as method: resources for a psychoaffective transformational pedagogy by Erica Burman

November 21, 2019

In this seminar I will present for discussion the rationale for and issues arising from my forthcoming book Fanon, education, action: child as method (Routledge, 2018). In this I explore Frantz Fanon’s writings on racialisation, alienation, decolonisation and action as they play out through his conceptualisations of children and childhoods. This is taken to exemplify child as method, as an analytical approach that draws on and in turn extends the analysis of Fanon’s work by exploring further the ways the array of positions formulated for children configure colonization and decolonisation processes. Please note that I will also discuss how and why, as part of this project, I have since revised the paper sent for circulation before the seminar. I will look forward to hearing your comments and responses.

Picking up speed: Re-thinking visual art education as assemblages by Annika Hellman & Ulla Lind

October 17, 2017

We ignite this webinar through an article in which we build on a mindset of how to perform affirmative critique in the visual arts classroom by analyzing relationality as the entanglement of subjects and objects, in other words as educational assemblages. Drawing on visual ethnography of an upper secondary school in Sweden, we analyze speeds and intensities as bodily experienced affects (Deleuze & Guattari, 1987/2004). The speed and intensity in the classroom increased as the teacher introduced random materials linked to a film project. The complex encounters and entanglements between human and non-human bodies accelerated the intensity in the educational assemblages. Thus, we suggest a methodology of visual invention that can resist the logics of the neoliberal discourse, which has formed education to become strongly end-product driven (Davies, 2009). Instead, the potential for unleashing creativity can be established by working with learning encounters as well as by becoming sensitive to open-ended, ambiguous, and unexpected events. This goes with the school classrooms as well as with pre-schools. We discuss possible consequences of examining knowledge and learning as aesthetic, social and cultural assemblages. We touch other connected concepts such as (de-)territorialization, BwO and Lines of flight that move in transversal ways where the destination lies beyond, and away from the pre-given and fixed.

Park-ing: Public space as learning space by Theresa Giorza

September 19, 2017

An assemblage of childparkpen becomes visible to me only through the diffractive interference of time, video recording and research ‘beingdoing’. A story emerges in reverse as I track back to find the beginning, the ‘before’ of the pictures that have called out so clearly from the collections of stills and video I have created during one hour spent in a public park with a group of children and their teacher. Looking beyond all the very good reasons for children to spend time outdoors and in green spaces, I find one even better reason. It is not just about getting adequate amounts of sunlight; nor opportunities for gross motor exercise and risky play; nor countering obesity and poor muscle tone; nor even about experiencing being at one with 'nature' (even though these things also matter); but more importantly it is about the smooth spaces of emergence, where chance encounters invite new thinking. Where, safely out of the way of more carefully planned learning events and set up activities, children experience and intra-act directly with human and nonhuman partners in the ongoing shared process of worlding. I draw from a chapter of my Ph.D. thesis and use the ‘common worlds’ framework (Pacini-Ketchabaw & Taylor, 2015),
Bennet’s notion of ‘vibrant matter’ (Bennett, 2010) as well as Barad’s posthumanist notion of timespacemattering (Barad, 2007; 2011). I will re-visit this story about my own learning. It is the story of my coming to know just how much common spaces matter to the evolving learning and becoming of one child and how this might have agency for other children (and their teachers) in inner city and other high-density areas in South Africa. The question that this interference pattern leaves me with is one about what opportunities exist for changing the patterns of local government and provincial planning with regard to the assemblages of cityparkpreschool.

(Re)presentation and Theories: Post Qualitative Ways of Inquiring by Candace Kuby

August 09, 2017

In this session, I share my own struggles and hopeful possibilities of (re)presentation when doing post qualitative inquiry. Specifically, I share from an article that puts to work ‘more than human ontologies’ drawing on poststructural (rhizomatic) and posthumanist (intra-active) theories by plugging-in concepts with data produced in a second grade Writers’ Studio. The first aim of the article is to illustrate why a paradigm shift of ‘more than human ontologies’ is needed, specifically, how ways of doing/being/knowing (ethico-onto-epistemology) literacies are produced through intra-actions of humans and nonhumans. A second aim is to demonstrate how theory(ies) shape inquiry, how we write up transcripts and do analysis.


To access article:

Kuby, C.R. (2017, online first version). Why a Paradigm Shift of ‘More than Human Ontologies’ is Needed: Putting to Work Poststructural and Posthuman Theories in Writers’ Studio. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education. To link to this article, click the link below.

Lines, strings, knots and streams by Tom Sanya

July 25, 2017

I invite you to offer your critical reflections on my academic journey. I’ve experienced the journey as complex and challenging, daunting even, but deeply absorbing and mostly interesting. It is a journey punctuated with sporadic and deeply rewarding, if tiny, moments of clarity. I have met many wonderful people along the way - including you in the DECD group – engagement with whom has empowered me to hark away at obstinate barriers to gradually reveal new vistas of knowledge. That said, the selfless generosity of DECD folks remains as one of the most profound lessons in my academic journey.

I am an architect by training. What I present here is how I have grappled with the vagaries of making sense of the socio-material conundrum: Is it possible or even necessary to convincingly reconcile extremes - material/discursive, individual/collective, natural/artificial, modern/primitive, immediate/distant, temporal/spatial, determinate/indeterminate, hierarchical/distributed, fixed/emergent, tiny/massive, frame/content, hard/soft, square/oval, revolution/evolution, inside/out, solid/void?

Adapting Tim Ingold’s ideas, I will use the analogies of lines, strings, knots and streams to frame the seminar’s discussions as a terrain defined by threads of thought from the philosophers Arne Naess, Benedict de Spinoza, Gilles Deleuze, Henri Bergson, Karen Barad, Slavoj Žižek. The aim is not to present a deep and original reading of the philosophers. Rather, it is to locate them as knots with threads that wonder off to outline a knowledge meshwork that is both intricate and expansive.

In a retrospective component, I’ll present how the meshwork enables positioning of my diverse and disparate academic endeavours: ecological architecture, DECD, the Future Water Institute and community engagement. I’ll end with a prospective exploration of how the knowledge meshwork can begin to galvanise my efforts towards what I see as the ultimate purpose of my academic labours: socio-ecological justice

Intra-Generational Education: imagining a post-age pedagogy

June 12, 2017

Our paper discusses the idea of intra-generational education. Drawing on Braidotti’s nomadic subject and Barad’s conception of agency we consider what intra-generational education might look like ontologically, in the light of critical posthumanism, in terms of natureculture world, nomadism and a vibrant indeterminacy of knowing subjects. In order to explore the idea of intra-generationalism and its pedagogical implications we introduce four concepts: homelessness, agelessness, playfulness and wakefulness. These may appear improbable in the context of education policy making today, but they are born of theorising our practices in the age-transgressive field of Philosophy with Children. We argue that these concepts help to re-configure intra-generational relations, ways of being and becoming. They express the longing, corporeality and visionary epistemology of nomadic enquiry. These inventions express a non-hierarchical philosophy of immanence. We draw some tentative conclusions about educational practices more generally.

Troubling Time/s and Ecologies of Nothingness: On the Im/Possibilities of Living and Dying in the Void by Karen Barad

June 10, 2017

In this webinar, Karen Barad diffractively reads insights from quantum theory and Kyoko Hayashi’s first-hand accounts of Nagasaki bombing through one another, bringing to the fore a troubling of scalar distinctions between the world of subatomic particles and that of colonialism, war, and environmental destruction. Attempting to think through what possibilities remain open for an embodied re-membering of the past against the colonialist practices of erasure and the related desire to set time aright, Barad calls for thinking a certain undoing of time, a work of mourning accountable to those most profoundly affect by ongoing ecological destruction and by racist, colonialist, and nationalist violence, human and otherwise. This task is related to rethinking the notion of the void. Against its Newtonian interpretation as the absence of matter and energy, as that which does not matter and thus works to justify colonial occupation, Barad argues that the QFT void is a spectral domain where life and death are originarily entangled, and inanimate matter itself gives itself to be thought in its mortal finitude. The void is rather the yearning and the imagining of what might have been, and thus also the infinitely rich ground of imagining possibilities for living and dying otherwise.

Storying practices of witnessing: Refiguring quality in everyday pedagogical encounters by Fikile Nxumalo

May 23, 2017

Fikile Nxumalo is recipient of the 2017 Critical Perspectives on Early Childhood Education SIG Dissertation award of the American Educational Research Association (AERA): 

“The committee was thoroughly impressed with the sophisticated insights, critical analysis, and cutting edge thinking in this dissertation, allowing the production of significant resistance. Fikile’s reading of post-humanism reconfigures how we can think about early childhood spaces and places, and re-thinks the global north/eurocentric/dominant/settler ideologies. This is a beautifully written dissertation, that embraces the idea of ‘more-than-human’ with respect to the places, curriculum and pedagogies. The burden and limitations of Western thinking are challenged through indigenous epistemologies. The theories, methodologies, new ontologies of understanding early years, and in particular childhood/nature, are both fresh and rigorous, challenging yet ethical. This dissertation views everything as in relation and works against the temptations to easily disconnect, label and describe anything in isolation. In short, this dissertation is a worthy recipient of the 2017 Critical Perspectives on Early Childhood Education SIG Dissertation award.”

Relational place methods: Decolonizing the grounds of research.

April 11, 2017

Affrica Taylor is an associate professor in the geographies of childhood and

education at the University of Canberra. Her background in Indigenous

Australian education and her doctoral studies in cultural geography have shaped

her abiding interest in the relations between people, place and other species in

settler colonial societies and in the need to decolonise these relations. She

explores these relations in her book, Reconfiguring the Natures of Childhood, and

in the co-edited collection (with Veronica Pacini-Ketchabaw) Unsettling the

Colonial Places and Spaces of Early Childhood Education. Her current research

focus upon child-animal relations (see the ‘Walking with Wildlife in Wild

Weather Times’) is motivated by a commitment to fashioning more liveable

multispecies common worlds in colonised places and ecologically challenging


Reading Barad through Deleuze and Guattari: Critique, Diffraction and Response-ability by Karin Murris and Viv Bozalek

March 28, 2017

In this webinar we use a diffractive methodology as developed by feminist philosopher and quantum physicist Karen Barad, to consider the claim made by Serge Hein’s in his recently published paper ‘The New Materialism in Qualitative Inquiry: How Compatible Are the Philosophies of Barad and Deleuze?’ (2016) that the philosophies of Barad and Deleuze and Guattari are incommensurable. 

Our point of departure is from a stance which is quite different from that of Hein’s - we propose that it is indeed productive to put the work of Barad into conversation with that of Deleuze. The connections and relations between the work of Barad and Deleuze and the ways in which their work affects and is affected by the other can lead to creative provocations for thinking about pedagogical practice and research methodology. This is a position which is shared by other authors such as Bronwyn Davies, Hillevi Lenz Taguchi, Maggie MacLure, Lisa Mazzei and Alecia Youngblood Jackson, Marj Sellers, Stephanie Springgay, and others who have creatively used both Barad and Deleuze to rethink and rework their pedagogical and research practices. We see both Barad’s and Deleuze’s work as being located in a relational ontology, which holds that entities do not pre-exist relationships, but rather that entities come into being through relationships.We consider how a response-able and diffractive reading could provide a more affirmative and productive way of considering the work of Barad and Deleuze, and give an example of educational research that shows their commensurability In this process of putting Deleuze and Barad in conversation with each other, their work is read diffractively, thereby creating unexpected ‘superpositions’. The new that is produced in our paper is reconsiderations of the concept of critique in relation to response-ability with regard to research and pedagogical practice.

Magpies and Shiny Things: and and and readings of child by Joanna Haynes

November 14, 2016

In this webinar, I will share some playful, experimental and imaginative writing through which I have been working to explore critical posthumanist ideas. There are two aspects of this project: the ‘magpie methodology’ and then a tale that I wrote and re-wrote, prompted by events reported in news media some months ago that I had found particularly captivating and thought-provoking. In my practice as an educator I often work with narratives of different kinds and the experimental writing that I report on has led me to re-consider this practice. In the webinar I hope to take this exploration further with the help of participants, through collaborative enquiry.

Reterritorializating time and childhood in a philosophical education by Walter Kohan

October 17, 2016

Walter works with the relationships between infancy, education and philosophy both theoretically and practically in Teacher Education Programs involving experiences of philosophy with infants (of different ages) of Public Schools of the State of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Little War Machines: Posthuman Pedagogy and Its Media

August 16, 2016

The webinar examines Deleuze’s, and Deleuze and Guattari’s, theories of affect. In so doing,

it argues that the materiality of affect, as a meta-subjective exchange, can be considered a

posthuman pedagogy. Three different media (literature, music, and dance) are explored as

examples of this material exchange. As an affective exchange, encounters with literature, music, and dance might be considered a posthuman form of education. This is because, on one level, pedagogy is fundamentally about people, yet on another level, the material changes, or traces of interaction that identify the kinds of subjective modulations that occur through literature, sound, and movement, are forms of change that are not created by people. Rather, these changes are created by the materialities of texts.

Please reload

Contact Me

To find out how you can access one of these webinars, please use the form below and tell us more about yourself and your interest in our webinars

  • Black Facebook Icon

Success! Message received.

bottom of page