Saturday, January 19, 2008

a few more words on meta-pedagogy

Somewhat general thoughts on a modernist teaching apt for the modern text, starting with a too-rough but still helpful distinction between history and literature:

History doesn’t teach that history teaches. Modernism is a topic but it is also a mode in which the recitation of what history teaches is ironized. The conventional denotative pedagogy (teacher points to text and then to object in the world, saying: “This is what it means”) is not up to the challenge of permitting the performance of this self-reflexivity. In modernism’s materials must at least implicitly be a meta-pedagogy. During the era since the emergence of digital media and ubiquitous connectivity – and as its effect on the delivery of materials to the classroom but also its storage outside it becomes profound – the irony of the lecture on modernism has become increasingly obvious and disabling.

The problem will be to define or at least describe an unironic alternative.