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Sensuous Scholarship: The Senses and Politics in Social Justice Research with Vulnerable Populations

1 Mar 2018, 1.00PM–2.00PM
Iris Murdoch Building, University of Stirling
Walter S. Gershon

We understand the world through our senses, information about our surrounding ecologies and their nested and layered contexts through our available resources. This knowledge is as much immediately personal, all of our sensations are available through an embodied construction that is uniquely ours, and utterly sociocultural, for our perceptions that interpret those sensations are deeply informed by particular sets of co-constructed norms and values. Making sense, then, is a process of both sensation and signification, what impacts us and how we give meaning to those experiences. As a result, the senses are necessarily political and serve as a strong source for the study of questions about social justice, particularly with vulnerable populations. Focusing on sound and constructions of the sonic, this talk performatively addresses how the senses can be theoretically, methodologically, and practically employed in research to give voice to those who are often silenced and interrupt oppressive narratives. For, if the senses can alter our perceptions and our perceptions contextualize our understandings, might sounds not do the same for normalized, everyday processes that we might hear them and listen differently?

Walter S. Gershon (Ph.D.) is an Associate Professor in the School of Teaching, Learning & Curriculum Studies, Provost Associate Faculty for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (2014-2017) and LGBTQ Affiliate Faculty at Kent State University. His scholarship focuses on questions of social justice about how people make sense, the sociocultural contexts that inform their sense-making, and the qualitative methods used to study those processes. Although his work most often attends to how traditionally marginalized youth negotiate schools and schooling, Walter is also interested in how people of all ages negotiate educational contexts both within and outside of institutions. Dr. Gershon is the author of two recent books, Curriculum and Students in Classrooms: Everyday Urban Education in an Era of Standardization (Lexington Books) and Sound Curriculum: Sonic Studies in Educational Theory, Method, and Practice (Routledge) and a third, Sensuous Curriculum: Politics and the Senses in Education, is under contract and has been submitted to Information Age Press. He is the recipient of the 2007 Outstanding Narrative Theory Article from the Narrative Research Special Interest Group of the American Educational Research Association and the 2013 Early Career Award of the Critical Issues in Curriculum and Cultural Studies SIG of the AERA.

This event is being hosted by the Faculty of Social Science's Crime and Justice Research Group.

All are welcome to attend this free event, but please book your place online in advance 

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