An Introduction to Complexity Pedagogy
Using Critical Theory, Critical Pedagogy and Complexity in Performance and Literature

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Published: January 2023
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Published: January 2023
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Published: January 2023
6" x 9"
Language: English

An Introduction to Complexity Pedagogy: Using Critical Theory, Critical Pedagogy and Complexity in Performance and Literature offers readers an introduction to the basic concepts of complexity science and how they might be applied in the teaching of composition, creative writing, performance, and literature.

The book builds on Critical Theory (defined as Frankfurt Theory) and border theory, serving as a critique of neoliberalism in higher education and the teaching of critical thinking as a set of skills. Individual chapters are devoted to the following artists and writers:

• the Choctaw people
• author LeAnne Howe
• Chicana lesbian author Gloria Anzaldua
• performance artist Karen Finley
• the performance duo Bob Flanagan and Sheree Rose

The strength of this book is that it concentrates on the teaching of interrelated topics: borders (including the border between the able/disabled), complexity, mixed ancestry, ability/disability, texts, and performance, using the Mexico-U.S. border as the working example of a complexity system.

The work of the five aforementioned artists and authors are used to focus on political resistance within the context of decolonialism, but there are also references to mixed ancestry populations (including Redbones) and disability issues.

This complexity frame of reference allows the reader to see and understand both the artists’ narratives and viewpoints in the dynamic relations of shorter and longer time frames. No prior knowledge of complexity science is required and ample examples of complexity-related topics-- from coral reefs to zebra stripes--are provided. The focus is on students in state universities and community college transfer students, especially first generation students and students of color, with policy implications pointing to a critique of both elite small liberal arts colleges (SLACs) and research institutions.

An Introduction to Complexity Pedagogy: Using Critical Theory, Critical Pedagogy and Complexity in Performance and Literature is the perfect text for assignment in a variety of classrooms, including courses in Complexity Science, Composition and Rhetoric, Performance Arts, Cultural Studies, Critical Theory, Ethnic Studies, and many others.

Perfect for courses such as: Introduction to Creative Writing | Advanced Composition | Introduction to Border Art | Introduction to Complexity in the Arts and the Humanities | Introduction to Multicultural Literature | Introduction to Chicanx and Native American Literature | Introduction to Performance Art and Social Justice | Special Topics: Complexity, the Environment, Literature and the Arts | Special Topics: Disability Studies and Performance | Special Topics: Critical Family Histories, Mixed Ancestry and Pedagogy

Table of Contents:


Critical Thinking, Frankfurt Theory, Complexity Pedagogy, and the Neoliberal University

Chapter One
The Complexity Foundations of Complexity Pedagogy

Chapter Two
Choctaws, Palestinians, and LeAnne Howe

Chapter Three
Anzaldúa: From the Borderlands to the Border as a Complex System

Chapter Four
Performance, Roma Identities, and Decomposition: Karen Finley

Chapter Five
Flanagan and Rose: BDSM, Decomposition, the Limits of the Body, and Performance


About the Author


Reviews & Endorsements:

“D. Emily Hicks' new book, An Introduction to Complexity Pedagogy, makes important contributions to Education/multicultural education and literary studies. She presents a view of how complexity theory and what she calls the "new materialism" can be used to combat neoliberalism in higher education and dominant modes of teaching and assessing critical thinking. She demonstrates new ways to engage important issues such as climate crisis, immigration, and a wide range of other current issues, central to contemporary education and the teaching of critical thinking.”

“Performance artist, author, and teacher D. Emily Hicks crosses geophysical, gender, cultural, linguistic, and post-digital borders, shifts established academic boundaries and discovers new pathways to teaching and learning in her new work, An Introduction to Complexity Pedagogy. Join her as she embarks on a pedagogical journey that takes us into the hinterlands of meaning-making and the metropolises of theory. At a time in which teaching has come under vicious assault by forces on the right, D. Emily Hicks has created a politics of refusal and possibility that teachers can embrace with intellectual verve and creative hope.”

Peter McLaren, Distinguished Professor in Critical Studies, Chapman University

“If the world is non-linear why should we teach it linearly? At some point those who teach critical and complexity theory realize that their pedagogical methods are not consistent with the material they are teaching. And this undercuts our efforts and our students. Dr. Hicks has written a well-researched field guide to help those of us struggling to teach radical, critical, and complex theory in a neoliberal academy.”

Thomas Nail, Distinguished Scholar and Professor of Philosophy, University of Denver