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Cory’s Book Club: Boler’s “A PEDAGOGY OF DISCOMFORT: Witnessing and the Politics of Anger and Fear “

November 22, 2018 @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

Thanks to those who are came out to discuss Alison Jaggar’s “Love and knowledge: Emotion in feminist epistemology” (2014) last week. We are sorry we missed the rest of you and hope you are staying afloat! We hope you can make it to what will probably be our final discussion of the semester. Everyone is welcome to join us at 11:30am to hang out, start on coffee or tea.

We decided to go back to Boler for her final chapter (Chapter 8) on “A PEDAGOGY OF DISCOMFORT: Witnessing and the Politics of Anger and Fear.” See the link!

Summary: Boler outlines a pedagogy that explores the emotional dimensions of our cognitive and moral perception. She suggests the strategy of learning to recognize when we “spectate” vs. when we “bear witness” as a guiding framework for understanding the selectivity of our vision and emotional attention. She explores the predictable emotions of “defensive anger” and fears of losing our cultural and personal identity encountered as we learn to inhabit a more ambiguous sense of self and recognize the complexity of ethical relations.

We decided to work on a glossary for our group as well as keep record of strategies and practices that we share in our group that help us engage emotions in our pedagogies. We will be working on this and creating a collaborative google doc.

We also started discussions about continuing next semester and people are invited to come with a proposal for possible readings.

Here are the other reminders:

Timing. We will continue to meet informally from 11:30am-noon, move into more formal group discussion of reading from 12pm-1pm, and then continue discussing after 1pm (those who can stick around).

Just a reminder about that other initiative that has emerged out of the Outside the Box series we hosted last year, where we discussed burnout, teaching and moving from conversations about self-care to ones about collective care. A group has formed called (for now) Collective Care for Teaching Community and we meet every last Friday of the Month in the lounge at New School. We alternate between structured and unstructured conversations. Our next group discussion is on “precarity” and is set for Friday November 30th (3pm-5pm).

Look forward to discussing with you.



Cory Legassic
Dawson College

Instructor | Humanities & Sociology Departments
Coordinator | New School