Covid-19 – How does it feel?

7 December 2021, 11.30am – 4pm AEDT/1.30pm – 6pm NZDT

The Rupture

Joanna Pascoe, University of Canterbury

The potestas of the proliferating force that is the Covid-19 viral pandemic, is a powerful presence. The easily-spread Delta strain of the virus has found its way to Aotearoa, New Zealand, where I write into a lockdown, a response to curtail viral spread. Despite the anxiety, vulnerability and fatigue that the pandemic engenders, can we hold hope for transformation? Author, Arundhati Roy states that, “[N]othing could be worse than a return to normality” (2020). Acknowledging the increasing complexity, uncertainty, inequalities, risks and possibilities that Covid-19 has revealed, an International Commission on the Futures of Education notes that, “[I]t is evident that we cannot return to the world as it was before” (2020, p. 3). Can Covid-19 provide an opportunity to realise our potentia, a pandemic portal, through which we can think differently, a rupture where we can go beyond the potestas of what author Arundhati Roy describes as, “the doomsday machine we have built” that is the pandemic, and the anthropocentric pollution of “dead rivers and smoky skies” to shake off prejudice, sexism, racism, and fascism? Can we acknowledge the rupture and allow a line of flight (Deleuze and Guattari, 1987) within education that breaks from the norm, destabilizing the status quo of human exceptionalism, which privileges some humans over others, and neglects the non-human? Let us explore if together we can re-imagine our world, via pedagogy, via philosophy, via stories to develop “affirmative education for the world to come” (Sidebottom, 2021) through a critical posthuman (Braidotti, 2013, 2019) focus on connections between humans and non-human-others in our more-than-human world.


  Bio: Joanna Pascoe is a PhD student at the University of Canterbury. She is writing a thesis in Education with links to Philosophy and Literature. She is interested in exploring research in education worthy of our times, through stories, critical posthuman theory and the ethics of joy.

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