The Posthuman Child: Educational transformation through philosophy with picturebooks, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Posthuman Child

Educational transformation through philosophy with picturebooks, 1st Edition

By Karin Murris


282 pages

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The Posthuman Child combats institutionalised ageist practices in primary, early childhood and teacher education. Grounded in a critical posthumanist perspective on the purpose of education, it provides a genealogy of psychology, sociology and philosophy of childhood in which dominant figurations of child and childhood are exposed as positioning child as epistemically and ontologically inferior. Entangled throughout this book are practical and theorised examples of philosophical work with student teachers, teachers, other practitioners and children (aged 3-11) from South Africa and Britain. These engage arguments about how children are routinely marginalised, discriminated against and denied, especially when the child is also female, black, lives in poverty and whose home language is not English. The book makes a distinctive contribution to the decolonisation of childhood discourses.

Underpinned by good quality picturebooks and other striking images, the book's radical proposal for transformation is to reconfigure the child as rich, resourceful and resilient through relationships with (non) human others, and explores the implications for literary and literacy education, teacher education, curriculum construction, implementation and assessment. It is essential reading for all who research, work and live with children.


"The Posthuman Child makes an important and timely contribution to the ongoing discussion of an educational vision rooted in life-centred values. In addition, the detailed illustrations and excerpts from students’ conversations make Murris’s scholarly book valuable. Her message is hopeful and inspirational in providing new directions for teaching and learning that affirm the lived experiences of children. This is a valuable text for educators, counsellors, education program planners, and researchers interested in working with early years and elementary school children."— Karen Magro, Jeunesse: Young People, Texts, Cultures

Table of Contents

Introduction 1. Laika PART I A posthumanist philosophical orientation 2. The Labyrinth: enacting three aims of education Diffractive pause: Diffractive Journal 3. This is not a child Diffractive pause: Statue-breast-infant-woman 4. Diffractive pause: An idea that needs legs and mouths and ears to spread Posthuman Child Diffractive pause: Liam’s photos at/of his sister’s wedding 5. Figurations of Child and Childhood Diffractive pause: Child-in-the-Making: Creating Bodymind Maps 6. Ontoepistemic Injustice and Listening without Organs Diffractive pause: How to read Granny and the Goldfish PART II Posthumanist intra-active pedagogies 7. Reading Reggio Emilia and Philosophy with Children diffractively through one another 8. Educator as Pregnant Stingray Diffractive pause: A pregnant stingray in South Africa 9. Destabilising Binaries through Picturebooks Diffractive pause: The Anthony-Browne-Destabilising-Binary-project 10. Decolonising Education: black and white elephants with guns Diffractive pause:(A)mazement

About the Author

Karin Murris is Professor of Pedagogy and Philosophy at the School of Education, University of Cape Town, South Africa.

About the Series

Contesting Early Childhood

This groundbreaking new series questions the current dominant discourses surrounding early childhood, and offers instead alternative narratives of an area that is now made up of a multitude of perspectives and debates.

The series examines the possibilities and risks arising from the accelerated development of early childhood services and policies, and illustrates how it has become increasingly steeped in regulation and control. Insightfully, this collection of books shows how early childhood services can in fact contribute to ethical and democratic practices. The authors explore new ideas taken from alternative working practices in both the western and developing world, and from other academic disciplines such as developmental psychology. Current theories and best practice are placed in relation to the major processes of political, social, economic, cultural and technological change occurring in the world today.

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