Autoaesthetic Inquiry: Composing Curriculum with Rancière’s Aesthetics
By: Heather J. Pinedo-Burns
Published: 2013
Uploaded: 01/08/2018
Uploaded by: Pocket Masters
Pockets: 2013 (October) Teachers College Columbia University Ed.D. Dissertations, Gottesman Libraries Archive, Historical Dissertations
Tags: aesthetics, curriculum, inquiry, Jacques Rancière, writing

Description/Abstract: This dissertation is an examination of aesthetics as `a way to have a world' through a written inquiry of the self. In my inquiry I employed the continental French philosopher, Jacques Rancière's aesthetic theory. This shaped my conception of aesthetics, as being in the world, making the world, and being in and making the world through the senses. Using writing as my method of inquiry, I wrote to explore, question, learn, wonder, share, contribute, and experience a way of making the world, a curriculum, an aesthetic process in an inquiry of myself.
As students, educators, and researchers, we live in troubling times. Accountability via standards levied by those outside of the realms of education and curriculum studies is normative. This positions teachers, students, and researchers as passive participants in a techno-rational system of standardization and positivist approaches also increasingly overshadow academic scholarship, constricting the possibilities in research. Researchers and educational philosophers warned us of the dangers of the anaesthetic quality of education. While the political theories of Rancière influence numerous scholars within the field of curriculum studies at the same time, theorizing on aesthetics remains less explored within the field. I claim that Rancière's aesthetic theory has never been more timely.
I found my way into this theoretical conversation through non-traditional modes of inquiry and representation. Using writing as inquiry for my method, I then employed Rancière's lens to (re)view, (re)frame, (re)read, and (re)make my writing guided by the tenets of Rancière's conception of aesthetics with the intention of reshaping my ideas about curriculum. These processes for me often involved `the arts' and can be conceptualized as `aesthetic.' I call this method of inquiry autoaesthetic.
If curriculum can be envisioned as `a way to have a world', then aesthetics perhaps can be a way to approach perceiving that this world and/or ways of thinking. I carry Rancière's idea of the political and of aesthetics and (re)frame it in the context of lived experiences. I hold hopeful the (im)possibilities for the future conversations in curriculum studies when we commit to the aesthetic as we (re)make the world.