Curricular and Architectural Encounters with W.G. Sebald
Unsettling Complacency, Reconstructing Subjectivity
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This book engages with the writings of W.G. Sebald, mediated by perspectives drawn from curriculum and architecture, to explore the theme of unsettling complacency and confront difficult knowledge around trauma, discrimination and destruction.
Moving beyond overly instrumentalist and reductive approaches, the authors combine disciplines in a scholarly fashion to encourage readers to stretch their understandings of currere. The chapters exemplify important, timely and complicated conversations centred on ethical response and responsibility, in order to imagine a more just and aesthetically experienced world. In the analysis of BILDUNG as human formation, the book illuminates the pertinent lessons to be learned from the works of Sebald and provokes further investigations into the questions of memory, grief, and limits of language. Through its juxtaposition of curriculum and architecture, and using the prose of Sebald as a prism, the book revitalizes questions about education and ethics, probes the unsettling of complacency, and enables conversation around difficult knowledge and ethical responsibility, as well as offering hope and resolve.
An important intervention in standard approaches to understanding currere, this book provides essential context for scholars and educators with interests in the history of education, curriculum architectural education and practice studies, memory studies, narrative research, Sebaldian studies, and educational philosophy.
Table of Contents
1. Unsettling Complacency 2. Reconstructing Subjectivity Part I. Wandering 3. Sebald’s Natural Histories: Towards Ethical Responsibility in Writing and Teaching About Trauma 4. Following Sebald’s Unsettling Course: Syndetic Pilgrimage in Architectural Education and Practice 5. A Terrible Pleasure: Reading Sebald’s Austerlitz Part II: Encountering 6. Being Taught by Sebald’s Narrator in The Rings of Saturn: Transcendental Violence and the Work of Mourning 7. Colonizing Lands and Cultures: The London of Jemmy Button 8. Architecture and Archive: Postmemory Mediation in W. G. Sebald’s Austerlitz Part III. Unsettling Gazes 9. Unsettling Belonging: Reflections on Auto/biographical Structures of Ethical Self-Encounters 10. W. G. Sebald and Orientalism: Constructing and Unsettling the European Gaze toward Muslims 11. At Last Becoming Your Shell: Encountering Unsettling Figures of Animals and Nature in Sebald 12. Reading the Trace, Threshold, Waste, and Failure: Figures of Dreaming in Sebald’s Austerlitz Part IV: At the Roche Limit 13. Unsettling Time and Place: Sebald in Outport Newfoundland 14. Writing the Unwritable: Sebald, Haraway, and Creative Disobedience 15. Unsettling Place at the Threshold of Being: The Architectures of the Self in Austerlitz 16. After Hope: Empire, Ecocide, and Sebald's Steller's Bildung
Teresa Strong-Wilson is an Associate Professor in the Department of Integrated Studies in Education at McGill University, Canada.
Ricardo L. Castro is an Associate Professor (Post-Retirement) in the Peter Guo-hua Fu School of Architecture at McGill University, Canada.
Warren E. Crichlow is Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education at York University Toronto, Canada.
Amarou Yoder is a secondary language arts teacher in the United States and an independent teacher-scholar.
"This noteworthy collection brings together an impressive range of critical encounters with W. G. Sebald’s remarkable fiction. From a wide spectrum of disciplinary backgrounds, the editors’ and authors’ engagement with Sebald’s work offers readers new understandings about times of Unruhe before and during Sebald’s lifetime as well as our current time. With much poignant insight, these essays explore the multifaceted tropes of "relations among belonging, exile, and home" which were threaded throughout Sebald’s autobiographical fiction. In turn, this evokes a "terrible pleasure" indeed of reading and remembering about the complicated web of human relations with other beings, their surroundings, and material objects. There is much to be learned from these readings in light of this world’s troubled ecology and its need of a new kind of rapprochement between all." — Erika Hasebe-Ludt, Professor Emerita, University of Lethbridge
"Some manner of passage, or pilgrimage, is required of the reader (as for the authors) of this volume, paced by pauses and lingerings, within thresholds and on bridges, as things left unsaid in W.G. Sebald’s writings are given voice through stranded objects sought and found, familiar buildings discovered to be strikingly strange, and animals viewed as kindred spirits. Undeterred by the tension between unmoored wandering through natural time, lived time, and building time, and situated being, these authors show how a unique style of thought—poetic, profound, and persuasive—can be used to radically reshape teaching programs, design practices, and being in the world, in ways that will not only be productive and pleasurable but just." — David Leatherbarrow, Professor Emeritus, University of Pennsylvania
"Curricular and Architectural Encounters with W.G. Sebald. Unsettling Complacency, Reconstructing Subjectivity edited by Strong-Wilson et. al is the first collection bringing Sebald’s literary oeuvre to educational studies. Reconceptualizing subjectivity as personal and communal literary, geographical and material formation, the collection pedagogically stages a stunning encounter between lyrical prose, diasporic existence, and material life. Featuring top scholars of literary, curriculum, diasporic, and architectural studies, this thought-provoking and critical engagement of Sebald’s literature, essays and prose finds renewed educational significance in a time of uncertainty, pandemic, and global violence, one that parallels his own. The book charts new directions in curriculum, literacies and literary studies and will appeal to students and scholars of literature, education and cultural studies." — Aparna Mishra Tarc, Graduate Program Director and Associate Professor, York University