Abstract

What exactly is untology? And why is it important for thinking about teaching effectively? In this article I argue that the most exciting opportunities for pursuing real change in pedagogical practices can be seen in the work of Jacques Rancière, especially in his controversial book The Ignorant Schoolmaster and (as this article traces) in his short essay “What Does It Mean to Be Un?” I argue that what is needed in educators today is an egalitarian aptitude for openness and what I am calling unlearning. Furthermore, through a close reading of Charles Baxter's short story “Gryphon,” I claim that the best teachers today are unqualified to teach. Thinking about qualification, as the current neoliberal regime would have us think about it—as a bankable phenomenon—misses the promise of education as a process of unlearning, unknowing and unbecoming. Education is untology.

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