Teaching and learning in contemporary India: neoliberal subjectivities and relational ontologies

Rich Thornton // Anthropology // 21st February //1-2pm // Arts C133

On February 21st 2018, the new Global Studies lecture series started with a lecture from Rich Thornton.

The abstract is as follows:

This lecture offers a summary of how the neoliberalisation of education in India is affecting both teacher attitudes towards their practice, and their ideas as to how they can learn from the children they teach. It first provides an overview of how education has been neoliberalised in India by focusing on low-fee private schools, education ‘start-ups’, and teacher training methods. It then outlines how neoliberal subjectivities are generated in new, rapidly-trained teachers, and what subjectification occurs in these new networks of epistemology and power. The lecture concludes by questioning how theories of relational ontology (the idea that existence is about relations and not entities) might help us understand how schooling can shift from within via a focus on the relationships between teachers and children, and between the children themselves.

Short Biography:

Rich Thornton is currently in the first year of his PhD in Anthropology at the University of Sussex. He has spent a large part of the last two years researching and volunteering with arts and education projects in Delhi, India, and is now being funded by the Economic and Social Research Council to complete his PhD.  He also holds an MSc in Cultural Anthropology from Utrecht University. Before rejoining academia in 2015, he worked as a theatre maker, journalist and arts practitioner but mainly gained an income from working in cafes in London …


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