Embodied Wisdom

Meditations on Memoir and Education

Alison Pryer, University of British Columbia

Published 2010

Embodied wisdom: Meditations on memoir and education by Alison Pryer, Ph.D. explores the interconnectedness of body, mind and spirit within diverse educational contexts. Evocative, sensual prose carries the reader on a journey through the personal and the remembered in a layered series of autobiographical essays, each one affording deeper insights into the ways in which the inner, emotional life of an educator is intertwined with everyday embodied practice. This is a provocative text, alive with the richness and complexity of pedagogical experience, one that acknowledges the presence of the body, the spirit, the passionate, the subjective, the intuitive, the chaotic, and the sacred in all the relationships that make teaching and learning possible.

In speaking beyond the limitations of dualistic pedagogy, in its diverse forms and locations, Embodied wisdom enters at times into unexpected and little explored pedagogical territories, engaging with educational contexts that our dualistic culture often denigrates, dismisses, or considers taboo. This work offers readers subtle understandings of the centrality of love, desire and eros in teaching and learning; carefully examines the connections between powerful family and school pedagogies, including “domestic” violence against women and childhood sexual abuse; opens up a textual space in which to contemplate the contemporary relevance of the ancient wisdom of Zen pedagogy; and gives serious consideration to the role that the public pedagogies of popular culture play in the formation of personal and cultural identity.

The work of healing our dualistic educational culture is a significant political and ethical undertaking – a matter of social justice. Embodied wisdom is a book that lights the way for those who want to engage in meaningful cultural transformation. It is, above all, a generative and hopeful text, one that makes possible new kinds of conversations. It will be of interest to curriculum theorists and teacher educators, as well as those engaged in holistic education, social ecology, women’s and gender studies, and cultural studies. This award-winning, ground breaking exploration of memoir as methodology is also an exquisitely written resource for those engaged in innovative arts-based and autobiographical research.

Acknowledgements. 1 Meditations on Non-Dual Pedagogy. 2 Meditations on Memoir as Embodied Inquiry. 3 Sensual Wisdom. 4 Towards an Erotics of Pedagogy. 5 On Belonging, Displacement, and Hybrid Identities. 6 On Ritual, Relationship, Place, and Pedagogy. 7 Forgotten, Remembered Pedagogies of School and Family. 8 For the Love of the Game. 9 The Way of the Flower. 10 Awakening to Mystery. References. Permissions. About the Author.