Earth, Milky Way: punctum books, 2016. 194 pages. ISBN-13: 978-0-692-72234-3. DOI: 10.21983/P3.0140.1.00. OPEN-ACCESS e-book and $21.00 in print: paperbound/5 X 8 in.

Unlearning is not into learning outcomes; it’s into learning incomes. It’s into the incoming of the unforeseen, the truly monstrous, the ad-vent of all those wholly others turning up at our doorsteps unexpectedly and demanding our hospitality. Unlearning is into the risk of intrusion and insemination, the insolent overcoming of the known knowns in favour of the incoming of the unknown knowns. This is why thinking about unlearning can give you indigestion; why it can make you question yourself and what you are thinking and why you are even “doing” thinking. Whatever your idea of learning is — be it one of emancipation or one of stultification, of latitude or limitation, of masters or of bondsmen — the question of unlearning worries your clean categorisations, takes you out of your comfort zone, beyond your limits, turning them outside in rather that inside out.

~ Éamonn Dunne

The Pedagogics of Unlearning

What does it mean to unlearn? Once we have learned something, is it ever possible to unlearn that something? If something is said to have been unlearned, does that mean that it is simply forgotten or does some residual force of learning, some perverse force, also resonate in ways that might help us to rethink traditional approaches to teaching and learning? Might we say that education today is haunted by the spectre of unlearning?

This book invites readers to reflect on the possibilities of knowing, reflecting, understanding, teaching and learning in ways that allow us to imagine the other side of education, the side which understands non-knowledge, ignorance, stupidity and wonder as potentially the most important learning experiences we can ever have. In a series of provocative essays by some of the world’s most renowned theorists in philosophy, psychoanalysis, cultural studies, politics and education, The Pedagogics of Unlearning challenges us to think again about what we mean when we talk about learning — about what it really means to learn — and whether the kinds of learning we imagine in our classrooms and daily lives are actually synonymous with the sort of learning we envision when we think and talk about the purpose and passage of education.

If you think you know what education and learning are doing, what teaching strategies do, and what learning outcomes are, then this book asks you to think again, to unlearn what you have learned, to learn to unlearn.

TABLE OF CONTENTS // Éamonn Dunne, “Preface: Learning to Unlearn” — Jacques Ranciere, “Unwhat?” — Deborah Britzman, “Phantasies of the Writing Block: A Psychoanalytic Contribution to Pernicious Unlearning” — Sam Chambers, “Learning How to Be a Capitalist: From Neoliberal Pedagogy to the Mystery of Learning” — John D. Caputo, “Teaching the Event: Deconstruction: Hauntology and the Scene of Pedagogy” — Paul Bowman, “The Intimate Schoolmaster and the Ignorant Stifu: Postructuralism, Bruce Lee and the Ignorance of Everyday Radical Pedagogy” — L.O. Aranye Fradenburg and Eileen A. Joy, “Unlearning: A Duologue” — Aidan Seery, “After-word(s)”

Sound files for The Pedagogics of Unlearning, held at Trinity College, University of Dublin, 6-7 September 2014:

Jack Halberstam, “Unlearning the Lessons of Compliance”

Paul Bowman, “The Intimate Schoolmaster and the Ignorant Stifu”

L.O. Aranye Fradenburg and Eileen A. Joy, “Unlearning: A Duologue”

Samuel Chambers, “The Pedagogics of Human Capital Theory”

Deborah Britzman, “Phantasies of the Writing Block”

Nicholas Royle, “Living Backwards: A Manifesto”

Jacques Ranciere, “Unwhat?”

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