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Intratextual Entanglements: Emergent Pedagogies and the Productive Potential of Texts

Abstract and Figures

New materialist approaches to educational research require us to rethink cultural productions—whether artistic, linguistic, or philosophical—as material rather than representational practices. In this chapter I discuss a multiparticipant and multimedial art and philosophy project titled Intratextual Entanglements. Although philosophy is historically viewed as a linguistic and discursive discipline, the project began with two propositions: to explore the felt materiality of the various intra-acting elements in the project (including theories, concepts, people, texts, and artwork) and to explore the emergent pedagogy of collaborative reading and writing practices, that is, the generative nature of (philosophical) texts.
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Emergent Pedagogies
and the Productive
Potential of Texts
Reading a text is not a scholarly exercise in search of what is signified, still less a highly
textual exercise in search of a signifier. Rather it is a productive use of the literary machine,
a montage of desiring machines, a schizoid exercise that extracts from the text its revolu-
tionary force. (Deleuze & Guattari, 2004, p. 116)
New materialist approaches to educational research require us to rethink cul-
tural productions—whether artistic, linguistic, or philosophical—as material
rather than representational practices. In this chapter I discuss a multiparticipant
and multimedial art and philosophy project titled Intratextual Entanglements.
Although philosophy is historically viewed as a linguistic and discursive disci-
pline, the project began with two propositions: to explore the felt materiality of the
various intra-acting elements in the project (including theories, concepts, people,
texts, and artwork) and to explore the emergent pedagogy of collaborative reading
and writing practices, that is, the generative nature of (philosophical) texts.
Following an overview of the specifics of the Intratextual Entanglement proj-
ect and an introduction to the new materialist methodology I use to contextualize
it, this chapter highlights some of the long history of marginalia in printed texts
and argues for increased attention to its pedagogical significance. After consider-
ing the pedagogical import of traditional forms of annotation and more traditional
approaches to qualitative research, this chapter then explores how group annota-
tion practices or more radical “reading/writing” practices affect individuals’ inter-
pretations of a text. Finally, I discuss my struggle with representational models
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of research presentation while exploring the generative potential of several texts
produced within the project.
Before “I” go any further, I want to point out that I use the term “I” through-
out this chapter because I, perhaps ironically in light of this project, prefer the
active voice in writing. I use the word “I” out of habit although I view “I” as an
emergent effect of entanglement with a range of other agents. Deleuze and Guat-
tari (1987) address their own persistence in using their proper names in writing
purely out of habit. They say that continuing to use their own names makes them
unrecognizable and, in turn, renders imperceptible what makes them “act, feel, and
think”; they reach a point where it is no longer of any importance whether they use
their names or the term “I”—they are no longer themselves, they have been “aided,
inspired, multiplied” (p. 3).
Intratextual Entanglements is a collaborative marginalia project among 33 adult
participants orchestrated during 2014–2015. The participants are colleagues,
friends, and acquaintances of mine within the academy or arts community. In
the first phase of the project, I mailed each participant a copy of the same text to
annotate in the margins or “intra-textually entangle” with using whatever media
they chose. Participants then returned the texts to me by post, or in some cases
email if the texts had become digital audio and visual files. I photo-documented
or made copies of the first round of textual responses and then sent those texts out
again for a second round, wherein each participant received a text from someone
else in the project to further engage and then return to me. The organization of
who received which text in the second phase was not a preplanned arrangement.
I sent the texts out for the second round based on when they first arrived to me
(time-ordered) and based on the convenience of transport (large heavy objects
were easier to deliver rather than mail, and digital files were easier to email longer
physical distances). At the time of writing, I have 60 responses to the project with
six outstanding.
The beginning “intertext” for this project was assembled from snippets pulled
from two separate books by Friedrich Nietzsche, translated from German by
two separate translators at two separate times (The Joyful Wisdom, translated by
Thomas Common, 1979; and Ecce Homo, translated by Walter Kaufmann, 1989).
I also took the liberty of moving the titles to the margins. I consider the assem-
bled intertext writerly in Roland Barthes’s (1974) sense of the word. A writerly
text destabilizes readers’ expectations and requires them to “write” the text while
“reading” it. According to Barthes, “The writerly text is ourselves writing before the
infinite game of the world (the world as function) is traversed, intersected, stopped,
plasticized by some singular system” (Barthes, 1974, p. 5). Writerly texts’ narrative
structure may be disjointed or nonlinear and give rise to myriad meanings.
The project’s Nietzschean excerpts are writerly in that the passages are dis-
jointed, intertextual assemblages of what I consider fluctuating as both minor and
major concepts in the Deleuzo-Guattarian sense drawn from their book Kafka
(1986). According to Brian Massumi (2015),Analysis of the minor concept and
its textual weave offers a singular angle of approach to the text as a whole, from
which new thoughts are more apt to emerge” (p. 62). Massumi suggest that major
concepts “carry dead weight. They are laden with baggage that exerts an inertial
resistance against effective variation. Minor concepts, once noticed, are self-levi-
tating” (p. 63).
The Ecce Homo portion of the assembled text discusses Nietzsche’s walking
practice and how he believes walking aids creativity. In that section he also explains
how during a walk in Switzerland an important idea or affirmation came to him
as he passed a large pyramidal rock. I view the attention-to-walking section as a
minor concept in Nietzsche’s philosophy. The notion of affirmation could be both
a major or minor concept depending on a reader’s familiarity with Nietzsche’s
writings. I pulled the bottom part of the text from The Joyful Wisdom (Gay Science),
which is a description of the affirmation Nietzsche claims came to him during a
walk and is one of his more significant philosophical notions—the eternal return.
Accordingly, it could be seen as a more major concept in which participants of the
project may have arrived at the text with a decided understanding of what eternal
return means to them. Within both the walking text and the eternal return text are
various other themes or concepts participants took up, including several focusing
on Nietzsche’s statement, “All prejudices come from the intestine,” as a productive
minor concept (Nietzsche, 1989, p. 240).
The method I’m using for this study is known as “research-creation.”
Research-creation is a blend of art, theory, and research (Truman & Springgay,
2015). In using research-creation, I take a new materialist view of creativity and
agency and recognize that they are, as Karen Barad (2007) states, “attributable to a
complex network of human and nonhuman agents, including historically specific
sets of material conditions that exceed the traditional notion of the individual”
(p. 23). Such a view is a departure from the anthropocentric approach prevalent in
much educational research.
Because the project is called Intratextual Entanglements it is necessary to
discuss what I mean as text, textuality, and intertextuality within this project. A
poststructuralist view of a text could be described as the meaning generated in
the relation between the semiotic or material configurations of a piece of writing
(or other kind of object) and the reader who activates it by viewing or reading
it. Fredric Jameson (1987) describes textuality as “a methodological hypothesis
whereby the objects of study of the human sciences are considered to constitute
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so many texts that we decipher and interpret (p. 8). The notion of textuality, along
with many insights gained during the linguistic turn, has had significant influence
in social science research by challenging the idea that data are separate from theory
and interpretation, thereby requiring researchers to situate themselves before
interpreting a text (be it a painting, linguistic, or some other form of text). Further,
intertextuality, as Julia Kristeva (1986) outlines it, is the acknowledgement “any
text is constructed as a mosaic of quotations; any text is the absorption and trans-
formation of another” (p. 37). While I mainly support these positions on textuality
(including Barthes’s writerly texts), I believe they privilege preexisting coherent
humans as the main active agents and interpreters of the textual transformations
and privilege a representational approach to language. Of course, you can say that
humans are the interpreters of texts—and that may be true. But it is also true
that other material influences, what Joseph Grigley (1995) calls continuous tran-
sience (accretion or dissolution over time, or due to context) and discontinuous tran-
sience (a rupture or deliberate interference with the text) along with various other
nonhuman factors can alter a text’s meaning and productive force. Accordingly,
Graham Allen (2000) demonstrates the radical nature of Kristeva’s description of
intertextuality, which “encompasses that aspect of literary or other kinds of texts
which struggles against and subverts reason, the belief in unity of meaning or of
the human subject, which is therefore subversive to all ideas of the logical and the
unquestionable” (p. 45, italics mine). This view allows for mutability of the human
actors who encounter a text and approaches why Barad’s (2007) term “intra” rather
than “inter” textual is a suitable name for the project. Barad’s (2007) neologism
intra-action signifies the mutual constitution of entangled agencies” (p. 33, italics in
original). She explains that rather than the term “interaction,” which suggests
“separate individual agencies that precede their interaction,” intra-action suggests
that rather than distinct agencies (texts, humans, etc.) preceding intra-action, they
instead emerge through their interaction; as Barad states, Agencies are only distinct
in relation to their mutual entanglement; they don’t exist as individual elements” (p. 33,
italics in original). This new materialist viewpoint is a departure from more tradi-
tional, humanist approaches to textuality or relationality, that is, the reading “I” is
emergent with the text in the act of reading.
The term “public pedagogy” can be used to describe myriad processes and spaces
of education outside of the formal school environment, including experiences
as diverse as media, spectacles, architecture, or books that are not within the
established school curriculum, but may well be part of a larger social curriculum
(Giroux, 2009). Critical public pedagogy could be described as interventions that
rupture the affects and effects of public pedagogies through employing noncanon-
ical knowledge, de-familiarization, artistic interventions, and perhaps marginalia
or additions to an existing text on a page (Burdick, Sandlin, & O’Malley, 2013).
I posit that interactions wherein participants are encouraged to comment on, cri-
tique, and subvert an existing text could be considered an enactment of critical
public pedagogy.
Rubén Gaztambide-Fernández and Alexandra Matute (2013) argue that if
curriculum scholars are to continue using the term “public pedagogy,” we need
to highlight precisely what is “pedagogical about public pedagogy” (p. 54). Gaz-
tambide-Fernández and Matute conceive of pedagogy as a discussion of how
we “intentionally enter into relations premised on the ethical imperative of the
encounter” (p. 54). An ethical imperative implies an ethos and, arguably, a ped-
agogue (or researcher) who intentionally enters into relation with others and
influences them according to this ethos. Below, the traditional approaches to mar-
ginalia and marginalia research I cite fall into this understanding of a pedagogical
encounter. However, instead of viewing pedagogy as an intentional engagement
based on a preexisting set of known agents, each with its own ethos, the Intra-
textual Entanglement project exemplifies how an ethical imperative arises during
interactions with others rather than preexisting them.
In retrospect I view the public pedagogy of the Intratextual Entanglement
project as an example of emergent and generative public pedagogy. Pedagogy is
emergent because it does not preexist the material encounter of those involved.
Pedagogy is generative, or what Brian Massumi (2002) might call productivist,
because it has an inventive rather than predetermined outcome. According to
Massumi, a “productivist approach” accepts that “activities dedicated to thought
and writing are inventive” (p. 12). In such a view, Massumi outlines the tech-
niques of critical thinking and attempts to debunk existing claims (often prized
pursuits in the social sciences and humanities) as limited and even counterproduc-
tive. Massumi allows that of course there are times when critique is necessary but
should be used sparingly (p. 13). Similarly, Barad (2012) discusses how critique is
overrated and overutilized and is “all too often not a deconstructive practice, that
is, a practice of reading for the constitutive exclusions of those ideas we cannot do
without, but a destructive practice meant to dismiss, to turn aside, to put someone
or something down” (p. 49, italics mine). The participants’ entanglements show
the generative potential of different material interventions with a text that give rise
to varied pedagogical outcomes and varied publics.
Jane Bennett (2010), drawing from John Dewey, states, “A public is a contin-
gent and temporary formation existing alongside of many other publics, proto-
publics, and residual or postpublics” (p. 100). In this view, “at any given moment
many different publics are in the process of crystalizing and dissolving” around
a problem or, in this case, a text (p. 100). For Dewey, “conjoint actions” give rise
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to “multitudinous consequences,” which in turn may recombine with others and
coalesce around further problems that give rise to another public or, as Dewey
states, “group of persons especially affected” (as cited in Bennett, 2010, p. 101).
Moving away from an anthropocentric perspective, Bennett outlines how these
publics are not purely human domains but rather “sets of bodies affected by a
common problem generated by a pulsing swarm of activities” (p. 101). For both
Dewey and Bennett, members of a public are defined in terms of their “affective
capacity” (p. 101).
To help think through both the art project and this chapter, I’ve engaged Barad’s
(2007, 2012) discussions of entanglements and positioned the various participants’
material engagements with the texts as “apparatuses” through which a new text is
“diffractively” produced (Barad, 2007). Instead, using criticism as a modus operandi,
Barad takes up Donna Haraway’s suggestion of diffraction in much of her writing.
For Barad, in reading we look “for patterns of differences that make a difference …
in the sense of being suggestive, creative and visionary” (2007, pp. 49–50). Diffrac-
tion is what happens to waves when they pass through an aperture: they bend, intra-
act with other waves, create troughs where they cancel each other out and peaks
where they amplify each other, and that’s what generates a diffractive pattern. I use
the term “diffraction” with regard to both material and semiotic figurations of what
has happened and continues to happen in the project. And I’d like to extend the
thought to this chapter: it also conducts a diffractive approach in that I’m reading
insights from different areas of study through one another and a transdisciplinary
approach, where resonances and differences among varying theories (materials) are
articulated and affect what is produced (Barad, 2007).
The second term I’m implementing is “apparatus,” which is also from empir-
ical science. Apparatuses are assemblages rather than measuring devices, which,
according to Barad (2007), enact agential cuts (both ontic and semantic) and pro-
duce boundaries that give way to properties/objects/subjects. In the case of the
Nietzschean marginalia project, the apparatus would include the base Nietzsche
text and the situations from which it emerged (including Nietzsche’s famous walk
in Switzerland when he came up with the idea of the eternal return), the materials
of the first and second entanglements, the social-material constraints mailing and
organizing the project, and me theorizing it. From a Baradian (2012) perspective
none of these members of the apparatus is ontologically preexistent but is rather
produced through the intra-action, is part of the intra-action; an apparatus does
not preexist an experiment but rather emerges from it. This has ramifications for
educational research if I consider the “readers” (including myself as researcher)
who encounter a text as not entirely preexisting that encounter in the same way a
text, or to use another Baradian (2007) term, the “phenomenon” does not preexist
its being “read,” or “written” in the writerly sense. For Barad, phenomena are “spe-
cific material performances of the world” (p. 335) that demonstrate the ontological
inseparability (entanglements) of all intra-acting agencies in a given situation.
Significantly, I don’t have to leave linguistic theorizing out of the materiality
of the project by designating language as a nonmaterial entity. Including the appa-
ratus in a diffractive reading based around a linguistic text necessarily includes
language as a material element but doesn’t give it more credence than other mate-
rial components of the phenomena. My survey of the history of marginal anno-
tation evidences that language is material and has material affects. Scribbles in
the margins of pieces of paper have material affects. So while I agree with many
new materialists’ ongoing critiques of the linguistic turn and believe it’s time lan-
guage was relieved from what Maggie MacLure (2013) calls its “imperial position
as mediator of the world” (p. 663), in this chapter I do not exclude language or
linguistic theorizing from the materiality of my research practice. I maintain that
language is a material force and material event but remember that it is not superior
to other material forces or events and is subject to the same emergent properties
(Truman, forthcoming).
Reading the margin shows that the page can be seen as a territory of contestation upon
which issues of political, religious, social and literary authority are fought. (Tribble,
1993, p. 2)
An overview of the material history of marginalia shows that the earliest humanis-
tic pedagogues—Erasmus and Mignault—created annotated versions of textbooks
to direct student learning (Grafton & Jardine, 1986). Teachers and students have
annotated and written in the margins of texts since before the age of print. Heather
Jackson (2001) glosses the centuries-old history of marginalia, its potential to influ-
ence readers’ responses to texts, as well as disturb authors—for example, Virginia
Woolf, who had an intense dislike of marginalia as an assault on books (pp. 238–
240). Jackson draws from her research into Samuel Taylor Coleridge as a prolific
annotator. Coleridge coined the term “marginalia” and often intentionally wrote
instructive marginalia in his friends’ books and annotated important sections of a
book “so that the friend would feel as though he or she were reading the book in
his company” (Jackson, 2005, p. 139). Historically marginalia were not the secret
notes commonly used today but semi-public documents orientated toward others.
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Considering the persuasive potential of marginal comments, William Slights
(1997) states, “Marginal annotation, whether printed or handwritten can radically
alter a reader’s interpretation of the centered text,” and some marginal comments
may even attempt to “control the very genealogy of the text” (p. 201). Further,
Jackson (2001) states that marginal notation can “introduce other facts and con-
tradictory opinions, the facts and opinions themselves being less significant than
the demonstrated possibility of alternatives and opinions” (p. 241, italics mine).
The awareness of the mutability of a text is a radical thought, as is the awareness
of the capacity for readers/writers to exert the right to alter a text. Such awareness
highlights both the material differential inherent in an existing text (and person
intra-acting with a text) as well as the virtual potential of an existing text (and
person intra-acting with a text). In terms of the Intratextual Entanglement project
the various apparatuses that combine to generate a new text demonstrate how
art and marginalia affect readers differently, depending on what they bring to or
exclude from an encounter, or as Barad states, “Given a particular measuring appa-
ratus, certain properties become determinate (2007, p. 19). And the affect-effect of
a text goes beyond human readers too, as Snaza (2015) states, “Marginalia can be
made in ink, pencil that necessarily affect the paper … a coffee spill in a library
book might make the paper more susceptible to rot” (unpaged marginal comment
in a draft of this chapter!).
Marginalia historians Jackson and Slights focus on how readers annotate
books and make statements about how such annotations affect readers. Although
these claims may be anecdotal, they point to an under-researched area in peda-
gogy: the affect of intertextual writing, teacher’s comments, and, in the instance
of online commentaries or art books, the input of complete strangers may alter
a reader’s encounter with a text—even if the text is deliberately writerly and the
reader is emergent. In a standards-driven school system, many students and teach-
ers still approach reading-response exercises with the intention of replicating the
“correct” interpretation of a text. Marginalia in this environment could become a
sinister practice, as Virginia Woolf warned, for steering students’ reading habits. It
is important that students and educators begin to understand the complexity and
possible persuasiveness of marginal discourse as well as the generative potential of
group reading practices. And while there is plentiful anecdotal evidence that mar-
ginal comments or commentaries affect future readers, until recently few studies
have been conducted to confirm this long-held belief.
I mistrust all systematizers and I avoid them. The will to a system is a lack of integrity.
(Nietzsche, 2005, p. 159)
Several studies have attempted to evaluate how annotations enhance study skills
and textual recall on multiple-choice tests as well as codify annotative practices
(Heath, 1983; Fowler & Barker, 1974; Donahue & Feito, 2008). Joanna Wolfe’s
(2002) research with undergraduate English students demonstrates that marginal
comments influence students’ perceptions of the source text; passages with eval-
uative annotations are more effective than underlining in boosting student recall,
while, interestingly, the perceived position of an annotator has the ability to shape
readers’ responses to the text. For example, annotations by a professor, teacher,
or person the student believes is an authority affect the way the text is received;
accordingly, many students were “swayed in the direction of the gloss’s valence
(i.e., positive evaluations uplifted students’ ratings of source arguments, and neg-
ative evaluations depressed their ratings)” (Wolfe, p. 319). Wolfe’s study confirms
what many educators—from Erasmus to the current day—have known about the
power of marginal commentaries to affect the reception and interpretation of a
text. The ability of “negative” comments to affect how a reader relates to a source
has pedagogical implications for writing practices as well as reading practices. For
example, when a teacher returns a piece of writing to a student, if the comments in
the margin are mainly negative at the beginning, the student may disengage from
the comments.
In their development of a taxonomy of annotative reading practices, literary
theorist Patricia Donahue and psychologist Jose Feito (2008) discuss Wolfgang
Iser’s notion of repertoire as an element that develops through the reading pro-
cess. According to Iser, the text, as well as the reader, has a repertoire of, first,
“familiar literary patterns and recurrent literary themes, together with allusions
to familiar social and historical contexts,” and, second, a repertoire that includes
“techniques or strategies used to set the familiar against the unfamiliar” (1972, p.
293). A reader will relate to the text and the text’s gaps differently, depending on
the repertoire they possess before encountering the text. And the reader’s reper-
toire will be affected by the texts they read, causing them to change as a reader
through experience (Iser, 1972, p. 285; Donahue & Feito, p. 300). Although the
above viewpoints are arguably anthropocentric, they illustrate how reading and
meaning-making are collaborative exercises: linguistic markings are not merely
transparent media for representing human meaning, and marks, ruptures, or com-
ments on a text produce a new text.
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Moving from solely linguistically based approaches to collaboration, Brian
Massumi (2015) discusses SenseLab’s pedagogical technique of “conceptual speed
dating” as a “collective encounter between a group of readers and a text” (p. 66). I
had the opportunity to participate in a conceptual speed-dating event at SenseLab
in Quebec during the autumn of 2013. A concept was presented to a large group
of participants who, in turn, created artistic “activations” of the concept and later
circulated the room in five-minute stints learning from each of the other groups
based on their activations as if speed dating. In high school English classes, I’ve
used a similar group reading activity with students called “The Market,” where
small groups of students each explore a different element of a text in detail and
then circulate the room and pick up the “produce” of the various “market stalls.”
In both conceptual speed dating and the market stall scenarios (interesting meta-
phors!), participants’ understandings and the text are pushed out of their pre-es-
tablished positions.
Deleuze and Guattari state that reading is a “productive use of the literary machine
… a schizoid exercise that extracts from the text its revolutionary force” (2004,
p. 116). The Intratextual Entanglement project extracts and vectorizes the revo-
lutionary forces of the intertext, and many iterations of the project medially use
recursion to push the intertext in both form and content.
The following section will highlight a few of the texts and show how by view-
ing them with different apparatuses (which include the linguistic vectors used
to organize them below) different patterns emerge. Because the 60-plus entan-
glements with the intertext now span various media, and this is a codex form of
dissemination, I am limited in which texts I can engage within this format and
how I can discuss them here. Necessarily the audio, film, and animated gif texts
can’t be reproduced here.
According to Deleuze (1994), representation “mediates everything, but mobi-
lizes and moves nothing” (pp. 55–56). With the write-up of this chapter I encoun-
ter another issue present in new materialist approaches to research: a questioning
of representational practices. MacLure argues, “Representational thinking still
regulates much of what would be considered qualitative research methodology”
(p. 658) and discusses how coding and categorizing of data reveal patterns and
regularities through retroactively making things “stand still” (p. 662). In the Intra-
textual Entanglement project the variations that flourished in the ongoing texts
exemplify a move away from representational thought (thought that presumes
pre-existent ontologically distinct objects that can only be known through repre-
sentations). Accordingly, in writing up this chapter I am cognizant of not wanting
to now pin the texts down and label them like specimens and state what they mean,
as it would undermine the whole project. Rather than coding the texts by what
they are/mean a more-than-representational approach requires a consideration of
how they do/provoke. And considering such things brings thought into the appara-
tus as another material element.
Accordingly, thinking through, theorizing, and writing up this chapter
are now parts of an apparatus that will produce a new text/phenomenon. As
McCormack (2015) states, “Thinking…is already empirical” (p. 95). This chap-
ter, instead of representing the Intratextual Entanglements’ meanings, becomes
a new event that demonstrates how “experimenting and theorizing are both
dynamic practices that play a constitutive role in the production of objects and
subjects and matter and meaning” (Barad, 2007, p. 56). The texts continue to
Under these constraints I do not attempt to maintain an ontological distinc-
tion between texts in the project and what’s (re)produced here. The images below
have been grouped together in Photoshop and are interspersed with some theories,
titles, and cutlines in the margins. I’ve included the participants’ names as other
vectors (intertexts) in the production.
The eternal return is a force of affirmation, but it affirms everything of the multiple, every-
thing of the different, everything of chance except what subordinates them to the One, the
Same, and the Necessary. (Deleuze, 1994, p. 115)
Many participants experimented with the materiality of both form and content
of text, which was pushed further by the next participant’s engagement in the
Recursion is the act of turning a text’s logic back on itself. Many participants
in the project experimented with the recursion of the eternal return in both form
and content.
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Figure 7.1 Clockwise from top: Christine Brault and Kent den Heyer’s entangled circular nest of
text, Taien Ng-Chan’s and Kwoi Gin’s origami folded frogs, Yam Lau and Daniel Barney’s diffracted
sprouting text, Stephanie Springgay’s felted rocks.
The texts demonstrate Barad’s (2007) notion of agency that posits that changing
possibilities for (intra-)acting exist at every moment, and such possibilities entail
an “ethical obligation to intra-act responsibly in the world’s becoming, to con-
test and rework what matters and what is excluded from mattering” (Barad, 2007,
p. 178, italics mine). Several entanglements took up a critical yet generative
response to Nietzsche as a philosopher or the content of the intertext.
Figure 7.2 Clockwise from top: William Goodall’s pointillist drawing, Rosina Kazi’s diffracted
woman and text on a broken mirror, Daniel Barney’s wheelchair marginalia beside Nietzsche’s “sit as
little as possible,” and Joe Ollmann’s cartoon marginal mockery of Nietzsche.
Movement, for its part, implies a plurality of centers, a superposition of perspectives, a
tangle of points of view, a coextend of moments which essentially distort representation.
(Deleuze, 1994, p. 56).
The following entanglements each took up Nietzsche’s call to movement and
challenged representational approaches to language. Erin Manning wrote a series
of propositions using imperative voice, as Nietzsche did, and activated movement
and affirmation:
Propositions for an Entanglement (By Erin Manning)
1. Believe not in thoughts that stem from the desk, but in thoughts born
2. A thought always comes in from the outside.
3. Take the outside for what it is: don’t try to digest it. All prejudices come from
the intestines.
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4. Take the thought for a walk 6,000 feet beyond man and time.
5. But don’t wear yourself out. I stopped. It was then that this idea came to me.
6. Let thought move you.
7. Live it, spirally. Interminably.
April Russell moved off the page completely and danced her entanglement with
Nietzsche’s intertext. After marking the page and feeling limited by the confines
of textual space she proposed to, instead, meet fellow participant Carl Leggo in
Vancouver and dance her marginalia. I was informed of the arrangement but was
not present, nor was the event video-recorded. Several weeks later I received this
intra-textual ekphrastic poem in the mail from Carl:
eternal return
Sarah invited me
to entangle
with a few scraps
of words
by Nietzsche.
I wrote a poem
because a poem
always seems an apt
way to respond
to any text.
When Sarah asked April
and me to entangle, we met
in a grassy meadow behind
the Museum
of Anthropology.
I invited Logan
to join me as a witness
because Logan lives
with a wild spirit
and I want to.
Like a poem’s long breath
I knew Logan could hold
whatever happened in the
behind the Museum.
April invited Celeste as her
witness, and
we met in the meadow
on a September day
with the promise of rain.
I have known Celeste
a long time, and I love her for
being a celestial spirit who
the erotics of each day.
After introductions,
April invited us all
to walk in the meadow,
attend to breath,
and return with a gift.
I found a stone,
like Mirabelle often stops
amidst countless stones, and
selects one
she names special.
Rain began and stopped,
and April invited me
to move in the meadow,
to return, to know again
the womb.
As we moved
with our eyes closed, Logan
and Celeste
made sure we didn’t
fall off the edge.
While there is no record
of what happened
next except in memory
I am still filled with
angst anger hurt horror.
While I twirled lurched
hunched squat grew small in
the meadow
a wound ripped open
in my memory.
My body remembered
what I didn’t know it knew
(family stories secrets scan-
a hole, never whole.
Logan, Celeste, April
& I were the same,
except I had died
behind the Museum
of stored memories.
Each day is now
a new birth where
the past is the same
but different, seen through
dark holes.
In the final paragraph of the intertext, the excerpt from The Joyful Wisdom intro-
duces a kernel of Nietzsche’s thought that developed into the eternal return. The
eternal return has been taken up by many philosophers, notably Gilles Deleuze
(2006), to explicate affirmation, multiplicity, and difference as opposed to the
common interpretation of it as a nihilistic stance of sameness forever repeating.
Deleuze considers Nietzsche’s eternal return an autotelic, creative process of
becoming that also includes the ethical imperative toward the future when it asks
readers to consider to will in such a way that you “will its eternal return” (p. 68).
Deleuze explores these ideas further when he (1994) describes difference as the
creative becoming of the world; for Deleuze difference does not arise from nega-
tion (as in different from) but from affirmation!
Engaging with the proliferating texts in this project demonstrates how read-
ing/writing can be an affirming, more-than-human, and more-than-textual prop-
osition. As stated at the beginning of the chapter “I” (I maintain using that term
out of habit) am very much fabricated and pulled apart in this process: specifically,
the various intra-actions with the text have made me reconsider my own major
reading of the eternal return, a version of it I’d asserted since my undergraduate
degree, and recognize that reading is not the act of a subject but something that
emerges from within a complex entanglement.
Accordingly, the project shows the mutability and materiality of texts (and
opinions), the ongoing productive potential of texts and group reading/writing
practices, as well as the emergent quality of pedagogy produced through the mate-
rial encounters with intra-acting elements. This does not mean that pedagogy
lacks an ethical imperative but, rather, the ethics of what becomes pedagogical is
emergent in each encounter.
To access the rest of the texts in the project, which include animated gifs, audio com-
positions, and other media, visit
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Barad, K. (2007). Meeting the universe half way: Quantum physics and the entanglement of matter and
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Barthes, R. (1974). S/Z (R. Miller, Trans.). New York: Farrar Straus & Giroux.
Bennett, J. (2010). Vibrant matter. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
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Deleuze, G. (1994). Difference and repetition. New York: Columbia University Press.
Deleuze, G. (2006). Nietzsche and philosophy. New York: Columbia University Press.
Deleuze, G., & Guattari, F. (1986). Kafka: Toward a minor literature. Minneapolis: University of Min-
nesota Press.
Deleuze, G., & Guattari, F. (1987). A thousand plateaus. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Deleuze, G., & Guattari, F. (2004). Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and schizophrenia. London: Continuum.
Donahue, P., & Feito, A. (2008). Minding the gap: Annotation as preparation for discussion. Arts &
Humanities in Higher Education, 7(3), 295–307.
Flower, R. L., & Barker, A. S. (1974). Effectiveness of highlighting for retention of text material.
Journal of Applied Psychology, 59, 358–364.
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lematizing public pedagogy (pp. 52–64). New York: Routledge.
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(Eds.), Handbook of public pedagogy education and learning beyond schooling (pp. 488–499). New
York: Routledge.
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fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Europe. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Grigely, J. (1995). Textualterity: Art, theory and textual criticism. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan
Heath, S. B. (1983). Ways with words: Language, life and work in communities and classrooms. Cam-
bridge: Cambridge University Press.
Iser, W. (1972). The reading process: A phenomenological approach. New Literary History, 3(2),
Jackson, H. J. (2001). Marginalia: Readers writing in books. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
Jackson, H. J. (2005). Marginal frivolities: Reader’s notes as evidence for the history of reading. In
R. Myers, M. Harris, & G. Mandelbrote (Eds.), Owners, annotators and the signs of reading
(pp. 137–151). New Castle, DE: Oak Knoll.
Jameson, F. (1987). Ideology of the text, in ideology of theory. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota
Kristeva, J. (1986). Word, dialog and novel. In T. Moi (Ed.), The Kristeva reader (pp. 34–61). New
York: Columbia University Press.
MacLure, M. (2013). Researching without representation? Language and materiality in post-qual-
itative methodology. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 26(6), 658–667.
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Massumi, B. (2015). Collective expression: A radical pragmatics. Inflexions, (8), 59–88. Retrieved
McCormack, D. (2015). Devices for doing atmospheric things. In P. Vannini (Ed.), Non-representa-
tional methodologies (pp. 89–111). New York: Routledge.
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Vintage Books.
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Cambridge University Press.
Slights, W. W. E. (1997). The cosmopolitics of reading: Navigating the margins of John Dee’s general
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University of Michigan Press.
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ville: University of Virginia Press.
Truman, S., E. & Springgay, S. (2015). The primacy of movement in research-creation: New mate-
rialist approaches to art research and pedagogy. In M. Laverty & T. Lewis (Eds.), Art’s teach-
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Communication, 19(2), 297–333.
... We then meet in plenary and share the questions we have of the text and what was particularly striking and then decide collectively which particular questions or issues in the text to zoom in on and focus on. We then engage in collaborative reading practices (Truman, 2016;Bozalek, 2017), reading sections of the text to each other, taking it in turns to read aloud, after which we discuss what we have read, trying to stick closely to the text and not bringing in comparisons or critiques of the text (Massumi, 2017). ...
... FNM and PH approaches thus change practices commonly used by academic developers from engaging in 'thinking about' to 'thinking-doing' (Springgay, 2016). Rendering each other capable and making-with each other, pedagogy becomes emergent, rather than pre-existent to the encounter or the event (Barad, 2007;Truman, 2016). FNM and PH approaches to academic development might be similar to what Truman (2016:95) refers to as critical public pedagogies which involve interventions that employ "noncanonical knowledge, defamiliarization, artistic interventions, and perhaps marginalia or additions to an existing text on a page". ...
Feminist philosophies such as new materialism and posthumanism point to the impossibility of separating epistemology (theories of knowing) from ontology (being and becoming) and ethics – proposing an ethico- onto-epistemological entanglement. This ethico-onto-epistemological entanglement ruptures conventional ways of doing academic development, where epistemology is usually foregrounded at the expense of ontology and ethics. As a different way of configuring academic development, this chapter considers how feminist new materialism (FNM) and posthumanism (PH) might be put to use, where knowing, becoming and doing are all mutually implicated for inspiring what really matters in academic development at this troubled juncture in higher education. The chapter illustrates how FNM and PH might help to re-imagine the relationships of academic developers, academics and the material world. FNM and PH are based on a relational ontology where entities and agency do not pre-exist relationships, but rather come into being through relationships. This means that academic developers, academics and the material world are co- constituted through their entangled connections, rather than being seen as separate and individual beings and entities. The term ‘academic development’ can be seen as problematic in that it does not do justice to the particular viewpoint of PH and FNM. This is precisely because being predicated on a relational ontology. According to posthumanists and feminist new materialists such as Karen Barad, the material world or matter is not passive or inert but vibrant (has agency) and comes about through entanglements. New materialists do not distinguish between the physical and social world, but also do not see things as having fixed essences or properties, but as coming into being through relationships. Barad (2007: 151) refers to matter as ‘not a thing, but a doing, a congealing of agency’ [emphasis in the original]. As Keller and Rubenstein (2017) point out, humans are not only entangled in matter – they are also materialisations who are entangled with other materialisations. Similar to Barad, they see matter as a process rather than a thing. New materialiasts move beyond the binaries of spirit/matter, sentience/non-sentience (Keller & Rubenstein, 2017). ontology, the focus shifts away from the subject and object to their co-constitution or entanglement (Barad, 2007). Here, an academic developer and those who are being worked with, as well as materials such as curricula, accessing potential. Perhaps the notions of ‘cultivating collective knowing and being’, ‘sympoiesis (making together)’ (Haraway in Davis & Turpin 2015:257), ‘rendering each other capable’ (Despret 2004, 2016), ‘a cross-fertilisation of capacitations’ (Massumi, 2015a:68) and co-composing (Manning, 2009) would be more apt descriptions for this sort of collective working. FNM and PH would thus think of education as the creation of events where all are transformed in terms of knowing, doing, and becoming, including teachers, students, curriculum, as well as concepts that are being reworked. Drawing on the work of Deleuze, Ina Semetsky (2013:82-83) explains how education might be envisaged and enacted from the perspective of these approaches:
... Other forms of page-based intertextuality include the illuminations that surrounded the page in pre-printing press manuscripts and contemporary illustrations. All of these elements as well as the intertextuality embedded in the language itselfaffect reader interpretation and feature in pedagogical practices in contemporary English education (Truman, 2016). ...
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This paper thinks with the concept of intertextuality to consider the multiple intersecting power structures inside and outside of literary education in secondary schools that continue to dominate text selection policies and teaching practices. We draw on our research with in-service teachers to reconsider how intertextual networks circulate on multiple levels: textual, social, cultural, and institutional. Although the concept of intertextuality has been activated as an alternative to rarified conceptualisations of literary heritage, as we unpack in this paper, intertextuality often distributes, reinforces, and perpetuates canonical power structures such as institutional whiteness, and Euro western values in secondary school subjects that feature literary studies. Rather than abandoning intertextuality, we attempt to tease out how it operates in various registers in schooling and we suggest how critically engaging with the concept might provide a way forward for English study in the twenty-first century.
... 3. Diffraction refers to what happens when any kind of waveswater, light or sound-bend and spread out when they hit a barrier, or combine when they overlap. 4. Tango, unlike its present form as a ballroom dance, originates as an improvised "dance of exiles" of the descendants of African slaves, and Italian and Spanish immigrants to Buenos Aires (Savigliano cited in Shafie, 2019, p. 36). 5. Sarah Truman (2016) and Vivienne Bozalek (2017) question the separation of reading and writing in their work and refer to readerlywriters and writerlyreaders in an attempt to bypass the binaries between reading and writing. 6. Gedanken experiments are hypothetical thought experiments rather than actual laboratory experiments which consider theory for thinking through an experiment's consequences. ...
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This article troubles touch as requiring embodied proximity, through an affective account of virtual touch during coronatime. Interested in doing academia differently, we started an online Barad readingwriting group from different locations. The coronatime void was not a vacuum, but a plenitude of possibilities for intimacy, pedagogy, learning, creativity, and adventure. Although physically apart, we met daily through Zoom, and we touched and were touched by each other and the texts we read. A montage of writing fragments and a collective artwork, based on the Massive_Micro project, highlight virtual touching. Undone, redone, and reconfigured, we became a diffractive human/nonhuman multiplicity.
... 3. Diffraction refers to what happens when any kind of waveswater, light or sound-bend and spread out when they hit a barrier, or combine when they overlap. 4. Tango, unlike its present form as a ballroom dance, originates as an improvised "dance of exiles" of the descendants of African slaves, and Italian and Spanish immigrants to Buenos Aires (Savigliano cited in Shafie, 2019, p. 36). 5. Sarah Truman (2016) and Vivienne Bozalek (2017) question the separation of reading and writing in their work and refer to readerlywriters and writerlyreaders in an attempt to bypass the binaries between reading and writing. 6. Gedanken experiments are hypothetical thought experiments rather than actual laboratory experiments which consider theory for thinking through an experiment's consequences. ...
Full-text available
This article troubles touch as requiring embodied proximity, through an affective account of virtual touch during coronatime. Interested in doing academia differently, we started an online Barad readingwriting group from different locations. The coronatime void was not a vacuum, but a plenitude of possibilities for intimacy, pedagogy, learning, creativity, and adventure. Although physically apart, we met daily through Zoom, and we touched and were touched by each other and the texts we read. A montage of writing fragments and a collective artwork, based on the Massive_Micro project, highlight virtual touching. Undone, redone, and reconfigured, we became a diffractive human/nonhuman multiplicity.
... Poststructuralist literary scholars have for decades discussed everything from the author-reader co-creation of meaning, to subject dissolution, to infinite deferral of meaning (e.g., Barthes, Foucault, Derrida); and more recently feminist new materialists have drawn attention to the flesh and materiality of text and how such narration might materially transform readers (Grosz, 2004;Kirby, 1997;Truman, 2016aTruman, , 2016bTruman, , 2019b. In a related fashion, Annihilation draws attention to the materiality of writing and textuality. ...
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Interest in new empiricisms and transdisciplinary methods has led many social inquirers to engage with 20th-century post-classical physical science. Many of these projects have focused on alternative matter–mind mixtures and in/organic variation, concerned that past theories of sociality have dismissed the vibrancy and animacy of the nonhuman material world. This paper explores the power of speculative fiction to help us rethink empiricism in posthuman ecologies of the Anthropocene, in the midst of post-truth conditions and growing science denialism. We foreground speculative fiction as a way to open up scientific imaginaries, rethinking the relationship between nature, technics, and human “sense” making. We show how such texts offer alternative images of research methods for studying pluralist ecologies and new forms of worldly belonging.
... Springgay's research has developed leading research-creation methods, including extensive work with contemporary artists and curators who locate their work in the wider 'pedagogical turn' (Rotas & Springgay 2014;Springgay 2008;2011;2013a;2013b;Truman & Springgay 2015;Zaliwska & Springgay 2015;Springgay 2018), while Truman's research-creation projects have focused on creative writing, intertextualities, and music (Truman 2016a;Truman 2016b;Truman & Shannon, 2018). Together, we have been mobilising researchcreation methods that are accountable to speculative middles and (in)tensions (see Springgay & Truman 2017a). ...
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This article pivots on three public walking research-creation events curated by WalkingLab []. WalkingLab is a queer, feminist collaboration co-directed by Stephanie Springgay and Sarah E. Truman. WalkingLab organises International walking projects and collaborates with artists and scholars to realise a number of site-speci!c walking research-creation events that complicate and rupture the White-cis-hetero-ableist-patriarchal canon of walking scholarship (Springgay & Truman 2018). The three events discussed in the paper disrupt chronological time through queer and trans theories of time, Afrofuturism, and Indigenous futurism and consider time as intensive and inventive. Further, the three walking research-creation events invoke a situated ethics that is accountable to feminist situated knowledges (Haraway 1988), and queer, trans, Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (QTBIPOC) subjectivities and worlds. Our intent is not to analyse the walking events in a traditional interpretive fashion, nor to explicate how audiences experienced the walks, but to consider the ways that these three project enact di"erent (as in non humanist-centric) temporalities. It is our discussions on time as queer, relational, and felt that grounds this paper in ongoing feminist research and the feminist new materialisms. Normative conceptualisations of time are linear, chronological, and tethered to capitalism and progress. Progressive time is equated with humanist notions of freedom, rationality, peace, equality, and prosperity. This progressive time privileges particular versions of humanity, where certain bodies and subjects are always rendered out of time. Elizabeth Freeman (2010) names this normative value of time chrononormativity. Chrononormativity includes a teleological unfolding of events such as birth, marriage, death and also the everyday regulations of watches,
... Research-creation has been well-theorized through visual (e.g., Leduc, 2016;Myers, 2017), performative and gestural (e.g., Manning, 2016a;Springgay, 2011;Springgay & Zaliwska, 2017;Tallbear, 2017), and multimedia, narrative, and textual registers (e.g., Dokumaci, 2018;Loveless, 2019;Truman, 2016aTruman, , 2016b. We have written on research-creation as a method(ology) elsewhere (Truman & Shannon, 2018) and so only briefly summarize it here. ...
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In this article, we take up feminist new materialist thought in relation to our music research-creation practice to problematize the white, en/abled, cis-masculine, and Euro-Western methodological orientation often inherited with sound methods. We think with our music research-creation practice to activate a feminist new materialist politics of approach, unsettling sound studies' inheritances that seek to separate, essentialize, naturalize/neutralize, capture, decontextualize, and represent. We unsettle these inheritances with six propositions: imbricate, stratify, provoke, inject, contextualize, and more-than-represent. These propositions, and this article's uptake of research-creation, hold implications for scholars interested in critically enacting sound studies research as well as qualitative and post qualitative research in general.
... Stephanie's work inside and outside of schools, with large groups of participants, or in small artist community settings, provides one such example. Sarah's research with using creative non-fiction as the research practice (Truman, 2013;Truman, 2016a), and her PhD projects such as Intratextual Entanglements (Truman, 2016b), which invited participants to create and intervene with a Nietzsche text, are other examples of speculative middles. These examples, are funded by research grants and have gone through research ethics board approval. ...
As a research methodology, walking has a diverse and extensive history in the social sciences and humanities, underscoring its value for conducting research that is situated, relational, and material. Building on the importance of place, sensory inquiry, embodiment, and rhythm within walking research, this book offers four new concepts for walking methodologies that are accountable to an ethics and politics of the more-than-human: Land and geos, affect, transmaterial and movement. The book carefully considers the more-than-human dimensions of walking methodologies by engaging with feminist new materialisms, posthumanisms, affect theory, trans and queer theory, Indigenous theories, and critical race and disability scholarship. These more-than-human theories rub frictionally against the history of walking scholarship and offer crucial insights into the potential of walking as a qualitative research methodology in a more-than-human world. Theoretically innovative, the book is grounded in examples of walking research by WalkingLab, an international research network on walking ( The book is rich in scope, engaging with a wide range of walking methods and forms including: long walks on hiking trails, geological walks, sensory walks, sonic art walks, processions, orienteering races, protest and activist walks, walking tours, dérives, peripatetic mapping, school-based walking projects, and propositional walks. The chapters draw on WalkingLab’s research-creation events to examine walking in relation to settler colonialism, affective labour, transspecies, participation, racial geographies and counter-cartographies, youth literacy, environmental education, and collaborative writing. The book outlines how more-than-human theories can influence and shape walking methodologies and provokes a critical mode of walking-with that engenders solidarity, accountability, and response-ability. This volume will appeal to graduate students, artists, and academics and researchers who are interested in Education, Cultural Studies, Queer Studies, Affect Studies, Geography, Anthropology, and (Post)Qualitative Research Methods.
Feminist Speculations and the Practice of Research-Creation provides a unique introduction to research-creation as a methodology, and a series of exemplifications of research-creation projects in practice with a range of participants including secondary school students, artists, and academics. In conversation with leading scholars in the field, the book outlines research-creation as transdisciplinary praxis embedded in queer-feminist anti-racist politics. It provides a methodological overview of how the author approaches research-creation projects at the intersection of literary arts, textuality, artistic practice, and pedagogies of writing, drawing on concepts related to the feminist materialisms, including speculative thought, affect theories, queer theory, and process philosophy. Further, it troubles representationalism in qualitative research in the arts. The book demonstrates how research-creation operates through the making of or curating of art or cultural productions as an integral part of the research process. The exemplification chapters engage with the author’s research-creation events with diverse participants all focused on text-based artistic projects including narratives, inter-textual marginalia art, postcards, songs, and computer-generated scripts. The book is aimed at graduate students and early career researchers who mobilize the literary arts, theory, and research in transdisciplinary settings.
In this paper, we seek to further understand Gert Biesta’s pedagogy in the interest of publicness. Through an analysis of street art in Melbourne, Australia, we re-think pedagogies in the interest of publicness as being activist, experimental, and demonstrative, showing how these aspects can be problematised through a new materialist lens. In doing so, we begin to flesh out what we are calling a pedagogy of intra-action. We first briefly define street art, discussing how it has been presented as a democratising practice much in the spirit of Biesta. We then provide a brief historical overview of street art in Melbourne as well as present some current issues surrounding it. Finally, we consider the phenomenon of street art with new materialist theories, using Karen Barad’s idea of intra-action to re-think Biesta’s ideas about how pedagogies in the interest of publicness are activist, experimental, and demonstrative.
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In this article the author combines Chinese literary theory and new materialism with her ongoing research into creative writing. In the opening section, the author discusses how language and writing can be approached using new materialist theories. She then enters into a creative non-fiction “research-creation” piece that explores how creative writing can be a more-than-representational practice, and how words can heighten and/or dampen affective production. The creative non-fiction story experiments with sub-text, format, and sensorial evocations. Finally, the author considers the potentialities and caveats of teaching creative-non fiction writing to high school students.
The Pedagogical Impulse (TPI) was a 3-year research-creation project that initiated a series of artist-residencies across a variety of educational sites in Toronto, Canada. In this chapter we examine the primacy of movement as a proposition of research-creation through a ‘case study’ of one of TPI’s artist-residencies in a secondary school and argue that movement is germane to emerging post-humanist explorations within educational research, and a crucial component for re-imagining research-creation methodologies.
The article imagines a materially informed post-qualitative research. Focusing upon issues of language and representation, under the influence of Deleuze’s Logic of Sense, it argues for research practices capable of engaging the materiality of language itself. It proposes the development of non- or post-representational research practices, drawing on contemporary materialist work that rejects the static, hierarchical logic of representation, and practices such as interpretation and analysis as conventionally understood. The article explores the ontological and the practical implications of this state of affairs, via a re-reading of a fragment of what would have been called data. Offering relief from the ressentiment and piety that have characterised qualitative methodologists’ engagements with scientific method, the ‘post’ could therefore be read as signalling the demise of qualitative research. Or at least, as inaugurating a qualitative research that would be unrepresentable to itself.