Thursday, 3 March 2016


An ethics of becoming in a pedagogy for social justice - by Dirk Postma from Brenda Leibowitz                                                     

This presentation was by Dr. Dirk Postma, Faculty of Education, UJ, ON 25 Febr 2016. It included an analysis of the current problematic of neo-liberal dominance in higher education, the roots/tenets of posthumanist perspectices, and the implications for pedagogic practice.

Dirk Postma
Dirk’s session was well attended, the slides excellent, and the questions demonstrated serious engagement and appreciation for the issues raised.

The slides and presentation demonstrate neatly the philosophical method of inquiry – stating the problem, offering evidence of a problematic position, exposing the alternative worth consideration, structuring the dimensions of the counter argument, and illustrating the value of the counter argument.

The audience, at the Postgraduate Centre
It was good to be witness to Dirk's engagement with the posthumanist perspective – he’s well read, and could help the audience with their questions about the topic. (Sorry I couldn’t jump in, since I volunteered to make notes for this brief report.)

Dirk’s sharing of his inquiry into the value of the Posthumanist perspective for Social Justice pedagogy surely add much value to SOTL’s project of the advancement of notions and practices of SJP.

My rereading of the slides strengthened my inquiry into teacher education and professional learning, realizing that I need to stay with the following questions for time to come:
. What does it mean to be contextually aware? [of forces shaping our lives as academics in a Neoliberal era – what governs our work directly and indirectly?][slide 5].
.  In doing research and working with students UJ – what is the significance and possibility of each and every event/meeting/class – to help us understand how life is relative, progressing/becoming, and how it helps us grow as human beings?
. On the level of pedagogic practice – what strategies / actions / conversations are associated with becoming minoritarian? To affect and be affected? And work with desire and will to become different?
Gert van der Westhuizen - on the right
. In the case of each learning conversation with colleagues and students – how is power and desires used to affect the other? How are interactions used to constitute the self? [and so on].

Apart from these questions relevant to my own work at UJ, Dirk’s presentation elicited more than 15 questions from colleagues – needing further clarification, confirming key points, and raising new questions.

Gert van der Westhuizen

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