“The Earth is Not “Ours” to Save: (In)Human Agency and Bewildering Education” with Nathan Snaza

Join us for our next discussion in the series with an exciting talk from scholar and educator Nathan Snaza (University of Richmond). 

Friday, November 20, 12-1 PM (+)

Arts-Based Research Studio (Education North 4-104)

The Earth is Not “Ours” to Save: (In)Human Agency and Bewildering Education

The anthropocene names the epoch of Earth’s history in which the human has become a geological actor. Much of the contemporary discourse around environmentalism and climate change calls for humans to act in particular ways to avoid a catastrophe in an imagined future. My point of departure in this talk will be this simple claim: that thinking human action can avert climate-related catastrophe is a re-assertion of the human’s status as geological actant. Yet the earth is not “ours,” even to save. What is needed, then, is a way of letting go of the human’s dominion in the world, which is inseparable from a shift in how “agency” is understood. Turning to posthumanism and feminist/queer theory, I offer a “bewildering education” that turns away from being “human” in the dominant key and instead seeks a new political discourse that acknowledges animate and inanimate agencies. This political engagement or entanglement is always already there, but Western, colonialist humanism has produced a mode of education that disattunes us from it. Bewildering education is then a pedagogics of attunement, of learning to affect and be affected differently. We need a way out, not of ecological catastrophe (that we might learn to affirm), but out of the anthropocene. 

Image Source: http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/man-made-ecological-catastrophe-more-half-all-earth%E2%80%99s-11446
Image Source: http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/man-made-ecological-catastrophe-more-half-all-earth%E2%80%99s-11446

Nathan Snaza Biography

Nathan Snaza teaches modern and contemporary literature, literary and gender theory, and educational foundations at the University of Richmond. He is the co-editor of Posthumanism and Educational Research (Routledge, 2014) and Pedagogical Matters: New Materialism and Curriculum Studies (Peter Lang, forthcoming). His essays have appeared in journals such as Journal of Curriculum and Pedagogy, Journal of Curriculum Theorizing, Angelaki, Symploke, Cultural Critique, and Educational Researcher.