SWG: Touching Bodies

SWG: Touching bodies in school


Diana Vidal (Brazil, USP), Ines Dussel (Mexico, Cinvestav) and Marcelo Caruso (Germany, Humboldt University)

General Purpose of the SWG:

In contemporary schools, it is almost impossible that bodies touch other bodies without being questioned or put under suspicion. School regulations, moral orders, and pedagogical discourses have established that teachers and students have to keep their distance. Also, students’ peer relationships are similarly scrutinized. It is not only old punishment practices that are forbidden; bodily expressions of kind and care are practically vanishing from the time-space of schooling. These changes are related to shifts in our understanding of violence; what passed as rituals of initiation in the past may now fall into the category of bullying, and what was perceived as caress and warmth may now be read as sexual harassment or assault.

It seems that we have never talked so much about bodies in school. We have never given so much attention to teachers and students as individuals, subjects of desire, anger, sadness or happiness. There was never so much fear of touching each other, hurting each other, affecting each other.

Or was there? How was the contact between bodies theorized and practiced in schools in the past? Which languages were used to talk about it? Which strategies and devices were designed to deal with this touching? When did ‘hurting’ become a pedagogical problem? When did rights and protection enter this space? What other transformations are we seeing today?

ISCHE 37 in Istanbul 2014:

In order to discuss these questions from a historical perspective, we invite all researchers to a first meeting to be held during 2015 ISCHE Conference in Istanbul. At the meeting, we would like to design a collective research agenda, which will include seminars, publications, and concrete projects.

Also, we plan to organize two special sessions during the conference: a) an Invited Panel with researchers from different countries, and b) a Session open to submissions. We ask all the researchers interested in participating in this open Session to send us a proposal, following the general guidelines of the Conference:

Abstracts must be a maximum of 500 words including bibliography and have to be written in English, French, Spanish or Portuguese, but presentations can be delivered in one of the official languages of ISCHE –English, French, German or Spanish. The deadline for the submission of proposal is December 15, 2014. Applicants will be notified of the acceptance or rejection of proposals at the beginning of February 2015.

All proposals for SWG must be submitted directly to the convenors, sending an email to dvidal@usp.br or idussel@gmail.com.

To those who want to attend the sessions, we kindly ask to send an email to dvidal@usp.br or idussel@gmail.com expressing their willingness to participate, so as to be included in the group’s mailing list.