This collection of fourteen essays by scholars from Canada, Europe, the United Kingdom, and the United States emerges from a growing interest in the ways postmodern theory can illuminate not just the products and ideas of high culture, but also the ins and outs of everyday life. Taking the university classroom, broadly construed, as a site of theoretical investigation, this volume helps us to understand troublesome classroom dynamics as well as offering pedagogical strategies for dealing with them. It also illuminates current pressures on higher education that find expression in the classroom. As a forum for these issues, these essays draw upon Deleuzian, feminist, Foucauldian, and psychoanalytic approaches, among others, recognizing not only that these approaches are often in conflict, but also that, collectively, they enhance our understanding of the classroom. Important questions posed here include whether, and if so how, we can combine a Marxist or Foucauldian emphasis on the disciplinary and hegemonic practices of educational institutions with a Lacanian or Barthesian appreciation for the disruptive pleasures and drives that the unconscious produces within and through students, teachers, and classrooms. Which theoretical and pedagogical innovations can help teachers and students to “get the job done” as well as to theorize “the job,” to simultaneously practice education and imagine other forms and ends for education? How can theory help us to historicize, criticize, and re-draw the productive, but sometimes disabling, lines that “make” the classroom and its subjects? A site for lively theoretical debate about these and related pedagogical issues, this volume will prove useful for anyone wanting to reinterpret, reinvent, and reinvigorate the classroom.
Becky McLaughlin is Associate Professor of English at the University of South Alabama, USA, where she teaches courses in critical theory, film, and gender studies. She is the co-editor of Everyday Theory: A Contemporary Reader.