6+1 Questions

27 March 2022, 1100 EDT

What is the name of the edited volume and what are its coordinates?

Kate Schick and Claire Timperley (eds.). 2022. Subversive Pedagogies: Radical Possibility in the Academy. London: Routledge.

What’s the argument?

The volume calls on international-relations instructors to make use of “subversive pedagogies” — ones that embrace a more holistic understanding of teaching. It invites academics to interrogate what we teach, how we teach, where we teach, and whom we teach.

Our contributors focus on three major themes: how place and space shape our teaching, the importance of relationships in learning, and the possibilities and limits of activism within and beyond our classrooms. 

They consider alternative possibilities for sites of knowledge production through embodied, performative, and relational methodologies. These include innovations like “teaching in the dark” an Indigenous pedagogy that focuses on aural learning and community building, challenging students and citizens to confront their prejudices through humor, and building student relationships through micro-communities.

Why should we care?

There are few books in international relations that focus on teaching, and this collection is novel in focusing as much on the form and purpose of our teaching as on the content of what we teach. The pandemic has attuned us to some of our pedagogical assumptions – how meaningful it is to be in a room with one another face to face, the taken-for-granted value of being in community together, and the myth of separate personal and professional identities.

We offer a rethinking of the role of scholar-teacher and an invitation to “draw breath.” It offers both theoretical and practical resources for approaching teaching in international relations, and will be of interest to scholars looking for innovative and proven teaching techniques, as well as those wishing to explore deeper questions about the nature of our role as teachers.

Why will we find the book persuasive?

The book offers guidance for those frustrated by lack of institutional support for teaching, featuring contributions from innovative teachers globally. It is organized into three parts that focus on: i) the institution, ii) the classroom, and iii) sites of pedagogy outside the university. The contributors to each part offer both theoretical and practical insights into their pedagogy. We hope their chapters enable readers to reflect on their own teaching philosophies and practices.

Why did you decide to write it in the first place?

The book emerged from a series of events we organized on teaching practices in higher education. We wanted to hear more from innovative teachers both inside and outside the academy, create a setting for a larger discussion, and make that discussion available to international-relations scholars who share our love of teaching. 

What would you most like to change about the piece, and why?

We would have liked to expand the volume to include more perspectives. In particular, we wish we could have included a section on ‘teaching through crisis’, including chapters on care and teaching, how virtual teaching can engage students in their local contexts, and considerations of equity in online teaching.