What do we expect from students studying Contested Knowledges?
Studying Contested Knowledges is probably going to be different
from studies that you have done previously. Because we are looking
at the idea of contesting knowledge and investigating the contingent
nature of knowledge production, it is important that we teach this
unit in a way that is consistent with the philosophy of the unit
itself. How can we teach a unit in ways that cut across the sorts
of things that we aim to teach?
As such, the way in which we run this unit will mean that the
way you approach your study is going to be different. By contesting
the dominant knowledge systems, by making space for other knowledge
systems to have a say, we are saying that your contribution to
the construction of knowledge in this class is important.
This means that your role in this class is an active one. Your
role in constructing knowledge about contesting and constructing
knowledge is important and I encourage you to contribute to the
discussions, share the insights you bring with you and be
an active participant in your own learning.
Be prepared though, this doesn't mean that anything goes! To be
active in this learning process means that you can say whatever
you like but you need to be able to substantiate what you say. You
need to respect other people's rights to speak and to have opinions
that differ to your own. That doesn't mean you can't challenge them
to support their ideas with evidence, but be prepared to be challenged
yourself. Be open to change, but don't enforce change on others.
These are some of the rules that you need follow when you are
investigating issues in an academic arena. Part of the process of
learning in Contested Knowledges is becoming aware of these rules
or conventions as we discuss and negotiate around the issues. No
one is expecting you accept these rules uncritically,
but they are a starting point and they do provide some structure
within which to operate our discussion and contestation of knowledge.
Above all however, you need to make sure that you enjoy the
learning experience in Contested Knowledges. Education is a
serious business, which means that you need to make sure that you
seriously enjoy your study in this unit. Have some fun!