“What are you pretending not to know?”: Un/doing internalized carcerality through pedagogies of the flesh

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Carcerality is more than a physical occurrence, but a lasting psychological, spiritual, and emotional state of being that gets in the body and directs how one may move in and through the world. As a contour of whiteness, carcerality normalizes ways of being that are consistent with rationality and reason privileging mind over body; intellectual over experiential ways of knowing; and mental abstractions over passions, bodily sensations, and tactile understandings. Employing poetics, reflexivity, and Black letters, Black feminist narrative methods steer these analyses to explore how whiteness, as carcerality, is germane to Black being in a western, United States context. To pursue this inquiry, I juxtapose storytelling analysis with a Black feminist literary analysis of Toni Cade Bambara’s "The Education of the Storyteller,” asking, how might educators name, critique, and pedagogically extract whiteness (carcerality) and its pervasive curriculum from the bodies of Black subjects by keying into histories of Blackness, rationality, and the body? Ultimately, I am interested in what the historical and racialized politics of the body demand with regard to pedagogy. Three themes emerged as considerations for a pedagogy of the flesh: epistemic confrontation, corporeal visibility, and legitimizing affect. Findings advance scholarship on how educators might engage Black students in ways that honour the full Black body-mind as a living, moving entity deserving of humanity, in a western, United States context that expects Black stillness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)405-425
Number of pages21
JournalCurriculum Inquiry
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education


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