Although the podcast The Learning Gene hasn’t yet launched, the broader project has been underway for a full year. This past year, two groups of students have worked on the project in the context of a Feminist Philosophy class (in fall 2016) and a Philosophy of Science class (in winter 2017). You can peruse the full slate of assignments, readings and lesson plans of Feminist Philosophy and Philosophy of Science, if you’d like to learn more about the background of the project. And you can listen to the students’ audio projects here.
I decided to share my own first-ever audio essay as a pre-episode to The Learning Gene—in advance of the podcast’s launch. It’s posted here on this site in the spirit of “starting in the middle.” It’s actually a key backdrop to the podcast because it contains the project’s tagline: listening to things we don’t know how to listen for. This is something that Erin Manning expressed during our skype-conversation about teaching, and it captures the essentially open-ended ethos of this project. The audio-essay itself, however, remains somewhat of a draft (which is why it won’t be part of the official Season 1 of the podcast).
There are pedagogical reasons for sharing work that is provisional or not-entirely-polished, I think. Bhanu Kapil, the amazingly astute poet and post-colonial thinker, explains for example that there’s no rushing the process of creative work. A narrative becomes itself in time, she writes. And she really means it: writing requires duration. It can be so painful, this experience of the duration in which writing takes place, that she created a chant to accompany her own writing process: “I learned how to re-write my work with as much passion and joy and curiosity as I had given to the writing of it. I even invented a chant: Re-writing is writing. Writing is re-writing.” Read more