Original Research - Special Collection: Interrogating Coloniality in South African Primary Schools

The posthuman condition: Insights for decolonising curriculum in childhood education

Suriamurthee M. Maistry, Petro Du Preez
South African Journal of Childhood Education | Vol 14, No 1 | a1436 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajce.v14i1.1436 | © 2024 Suriamurthee Moonsamy Maistry, Petro du Preez | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 03 October 2023 | Published: 29 April 2024

About the author(s)

Suriamurthee M. Maistry, Department of Social Sciences Education, Faculty of Education, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Petro Du Preez, Department of Curriculum Studies, Faculty of Education, University of Stellenbosch, Stellenbosch, South Africa

Abstract

Background: Recent attempts to rekindle the decolonisation of education project in South Africa, is a reaction to perceptions that there are fundamental frailties in the existing curriculum. Childhood education is yet to take up the challenge in any substantive way.

Aim: To explore the insights critical posthumanism might offer in attempting to address a comprehensive decolonial effort in early childhood education transformational initiatives.

Setting: This essay is framed within the context of curriculum decolonisation and transformation work in early childhood education.

Methods: This experimental think-piece, attempts to theorise early childhood education alongside critical posthumanism.

Results: Staying true to posthuman ways of thinking, doing and becoming, we deliberately avoided presenting any determinist, neatly packaged ‘results’, in order to further open up the debate to include alternative ways of thinking and doing curriculum work in early childhood ecologies.

Conclusions: Early childhood transformation initiatives, has to recognise the fundamental embeddedness of the existing school subjects in Western-Eurocentric humanist tradition. The effects of this canonical orientation are, that the tenets of Western-Eurocentrism remain unchallenged, that a racialised colonial education prevails in contemporary times, and that the centering of the adult human at the expense of the more-than-human, including child, is sustained. The nature-culture and child or adult dualisms prevail and, a consolidation of a deficit, sub-human construction of children, as immature, fragile and innocent. Critical Posthumanism suggests thinking anew.

Contribution: An interrogation of the assumptions on which contemporary childhood education is based, and consideration for the advancement of posthumanist ways of thinking, doing, and becoming.


Keywords

posthumanism; dualism; decolonisation; childhood education; more-than-human

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