Treating bodies as more than discursive in social research can feel out of place in academia. As a result, embodiment studies remain on the outside of academic knowledge construction and critical scholarship. However, embodiment scholars suggest that investigations into the profound division created by privileging the mind-intellect over the body-spirit are integral to the project of decolonization.
The field of embodiment theorizes bodies as knowledgeable in ways that include but are not solely cognitive. The contributors to this collection suggest developing embodied ways of teaching, learning, and knowing through embodied experiences such as yoga, mindfulness, illness, and trauma. Although the contributors challenge Western educational frameworks from within and beyond academic settings, they also acknowledge and draw attention to the incommensurability between decolonization and aspects of social justice projects in education. By addressing this tension ethically and deliberately, the contributors engage thoughtfully with decolonization and make a substantial, and sometimes unsettling, contribution to critical studies in education.
Instead of privileging the mind over the body/spirit in our intellectual and political projects, embodied learning offers a means for knowledge construction that does not negate the materiality of our being … It is also a way for us to interrogate how our consciousness is developed and changed.
An extremely refreshing book in what is considered curriculum studies … Squarely situated in a Canadian context where the decolonization struggles of Indigenous people in Canada is the primary source of political, social, economic, and cultural injustice, the book is nonetheless theoretically and empirically rich enough to inform studies of embodiment in North America more broadly.
Sheila Batacharya completed her doctoral studies in education at the University of Toronto. Her scholarship in embodiment and embodied learning is fueled by her experiences teaching yoga and her curiosity and concern with articulating and practicing attunement to social-sentient embodied experiences in formal education and community contexts.
Yuk-Lin Renita Wong is an associate professor at the School of Social Work at York University. Her scholarship and teaching aim at deconstructing the colonial, racial, and gender power relations in the knowledge production and discursive practices of social work, and in re-centering marginalized ways of knowing and being.
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