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AGENTIAL SCHOOLING: POSTHUMANISM, YPAR, AND SPOOKY ENTANGLEMENTS

Abstract
This yearlong ethnographic project, building upon three years of work within an Ethnic Studies program, examined schooling through a posthumanist lens to better understand the intra-actions between humans, nonhumans, and discourses in a public high school along with an afterschool youth participatory action research program in Western Massachusetts. Intra-action here refers to the way that the bodies are co-constitutive. A posthuman framing of schooling, what I label agential schooling, demonstrates how schooling is protean, and shifts as we seek to understand and challenge it. To shed light on this issue of examining agential schooling, and YPAR as a possible intervention the following research questions are addressed: (1) How does schooling operate as a nonhuman agent in a public high school, Vantage High, with a majority Latinx student population? (2) What are the core components and apparatuses of schooling and how do they operate at Vantage High? (3) What are the possibilities and challenges of using YPAR, for example, to vi intervene and disrupt schooling? I used participant observations, interviews, cognitive maps, diffraction, and thinking with theory to better understand the intraactions between humans, nonhumans, and discourses. This analysis is framed through Barad’s (2007) agential realism. Diffraction allows for the material to be read through rather than against each other, and thinking with theory encourages the ‘plugging in,’ where data and theory are interwoven in the phenomenon. This framing of schooling allows for a more robust analysis of the agents operating in and on the individuals within the space along with the institution of schooling. Beyond humans and discourses, matter is mattering. This posthumanist project critically repositions schooling as a nonhuman agent, widening our understanding of oppression and the possibilities for more socially just education.
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