This paper makes the argument that the notion of post-essentialism provides a resource for accommodating the multiple strands of intervention that have been brought to questions of the body and embodiment over the past two decades. Post-essentialism is explored as a multiplicity of theoretical interventions able to raise questions about the materiality of performing bodies, the interconnections between material and somatic bodies, and the larger issues of representation and cultural location. Post-essentialist approaches enable all bodies and identities to be investigated as strategically built and apprehended and interpreted by different people in different ways. The paper will demonstrate how a post-essentialist approach used for theorising, conceptualising and analysing the body in a university course simultaneously advocates a different and diverse pedagogic practice. The notion of post-essentialism pursued emerges from teaching the course “Hot Bodies, Cool Flesh, Sex, Race and the Visual Body” to a relatively liberal and ‘mainstream’ Bachelor and Honours student cohort in a university in a regional city in Australia. This pedagogical approach effects a movement out of disciplinary boundaries and the constraints of their resources and into a broad range of texts and performances. The course engages with sex work and sex workers, death, HIV AIDS, dance and disability, not as curiosity or site of normative and moral assertion, but in terms of pleasure, abjection, desire and potentialities. From this, it is proposed that post-essentialism provides a pedagogical practice and a critical tool of theoretical, conceptual and material intervention for any engagement beyond the normative, especially so in interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary team teaching contexts.
|Keywords:||Post-Essentialism, Pedagogy, Bodies and Embodiment|
Senior Lecturer, Education, Arts & Social Sciences, School of Communication, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
Academic Development Research Education, Academic, University of South Australia, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
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