Allowing ourselves to follow our bodies: Cultivating student curiosity via sensorily-oriented modes of teaching

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This article addresses the themes animating the Special Issue from the other side of the coin, namely the notion of aestheticizing political pedagogies. This reflects the direction of travel in some sections of politics and international relations scholarship, where there has been an upsurge of interest in aesthetics and especially popular culture. While there have been valuable contributions on teaching within such work, there has been a lack of sustained reflection on how, for example, a more aesthetically informed pedagogical practice can help us encourage students to think critically in creative ways. There has also been a rather bloodless account of aesthetics, diverting attention away from its visceral essence. Taking inspiration from the writings of Matt Davies on aesthetics, Jennifer Mason on the sensory and Cynthia Enloe on curiosity and surprise, the article explores the potential for aestheticizing political pedagogies to be mobilized in purposeful, strategic ways for enhancing the capacity of students to think critically and creatively. More specifically, I discuss how sensorily-oriented modes of teaching can disrupt entanglements between students’ ways of knowing and experiencing the world and their ‘objective’ understandings of politics, society, culture and so on. Three examples from my own teaching practice are discussed, all rooted in my utilization of extreme metal music with the aim of cultivating curiosity among students about their topics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)233-247
JournalArt and the Public Sphere
Issue number2
Early online date1 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2021


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