This week at AERA I presented in Theorizing Space and Place, a paper session organized within the division for Curriculum Studies (Div B).
All four papers in the session looked critically at space as productive of knowledge, a more-than-physical construct that has ideological and discursive implications.
My own contribution, Learning in the eventful space: Nomadic pedagogies and other mobilities traced theories that think about space as always under construction, recovering the discussion in Lefebvre on differential space as well as de Certeau’s suggestion that our actions are not localized, rather they spatialize. Such theories provide a foundation for reviewing how young people create spaces of learning. From here, it is possible to ask: how is learning itself a sort of spatial practice? I suggest that when attempting to study the practice of learning, we discover a nomadic practice, or an action that continually subverts and deterritorializes the striated space of the curriculum.
The other contributions on the panel were particularly informative. The two papers by Susan Gabel and Srikala Naraian looked at exclusion and inclusion in relation to disability studies, providing insight into how disability is constructed discursively through spatialized practices. The fourth paper, by Jessica Tseming Fei reported on the how youth partake in boundary work, making interesting connections between both the physical and socio-cultural work of positioning oneself in a local and global context.