The classroom is arguably the space where all of William V. Spanos’s work intersects. Delivered always with a sense of urgency, his pedagogy seeks to disclose the violence of “disinterestedness” inhering in liberal humanism. By offering his undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to engage in a contestatory dialogic encounter where something is at stake for them and for him, Spanos practices a pedagogy geared toward the activation and renewal of critical consciousness through an ethical practice of care. Throughout his work but particularly in his book The End of Education, Spanos has advocated for a pedagogy that productively maintains a sense of dialogic crisis as generating change. The End of Education is particularly aimed at those who teach literature and criticism, because they have been trained in the liberal humanist tradition themselves and are encouraged to reproduce it by the profession at large, especially in designing their pedagogy. Practitioners of the literary and cultural humanities must continually be aware of their complicity in reproducing a “thinking of colonized and docile bodies in the service of the dominant sociopolitical order whether conceived as disciplinary society or imperial state” (EE, 205); in other words, they must think ontologically as well as sociopolitically.
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Jeanette McVicker; In the Neighborhood of Zero: Ontology and Pedagogy. boundary 2 1 February 2015; 42 (1): 3–17. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/01903659-2828230
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