R. I. Simon: A pedagogy of public possibility: A Call for Special Issue of Canadian Social Studies

R. I. Simon: A pedagogy of public possibility: A Call for Special Issue of Canadian Social Studies

R. I. Simon: A pedagogy of public possibility

An invitation to publish in Canadian Social Studies

Editor: Kent den Heyer

Guest editors: Lisa Farley and Aparna Mishra Tarc

The influence of Roger Simon’s calling as a teacher extends in incalculable directions. For decades, his teaching at the University of Toronto questioned status quo practices found in activism, schools, museums, media, and other sites of public memory. Simon’s influence is as subtle in these multiple directions as it is profound in specific sites where his colleagues and former students now work.

Simon’s professional life embodies for us the very same qualities of the “gift” that he identified in the legacy of Emmanuel Levinas. The “gift” Simon had in mind is not the kind that represents a sought‐after possession that promises personal fulfillment. Rather, the gift of his legacy bequeaths an ethical question about how to pass it onto still others, in the awareness of the radical uncertainty and surprise that characterized its initial registration.

As with J. Derrida’s archive of feverish, future questions, connections and thoughts still to be made, Simon’s legacy, we suggest, is also yet to come. In the long shadow of his loss, we have much to mine in Simon’s teaching characterized by a hermeneutic attentiveness to the conditions necessary for redemptive social relationships and as explored in his written work from Teaching Against the Grain: Texts for a Pedagogy of Possibility (1992) to The Touch of the Past (2005).

In this special Canadian Social Studies issue we seek to honour Roger and his work with the focused attention, theoretical risk and radical possibility he practiced and encouraged. We do so by inviting contributions from those whose work takes up, extends, or is imbued with Roger’s influence as a teacher and as a scholar.


The past still, winds amongst us: reflective encounters with Simon’s pedagogy:

In this section, we invite reflective essays that comment on the intimate and belated reach of encountering Simon’s pedagogy, both in print and in person. We invite students who attended Simon’s classes and research groups as well as students who wrote under his supervision. But we are also interested in essays that engage with the questions raised in Simon’s reflective essays on the complex presence of teacher’s body and the meaning of teacher identity as it relates to – and is produced within – the pedagogical relation.

Guiding questions:

What and how did you learn from Simon as a former student or colleague? How are your theories of education, pedagogy and memory affected by having encountered Simon’s reflections on these and other questions? What does it mean to be a student of Roger Simon? What does it mean to theorize pedagogy and what can pedagogical theory mean because of Simon?

History education: concerns for the past present and its futurity:

In this section we call for scholars to contribute to the ways in which Simon’s work is or might still guide(s) the study of the historical and social. We invite submissions located within the intersecting fields of history education, social studies education, global education and democratic education.

Guiding questions:

In what ways does (or should) Simon’s work influence Canadian historical and social studies in schools? What challenges, limits and questions does Simon’s legacy pose to school‐based history? What examples of educational theory and practice carry on and embody Simon’s ethical attentiveness to our histories of social conflict, mass violence and genocide beyond the social categories that typically organize our encounters with the past?

The possibility of the museum as education:

In this section we seek the work of scholars rethinking the museum as a site of public pedagogy. Simon viewed the pedagogical space of the museum as critical to public history and social dialogue. Much of his work investigated “the possibilities and challenges of mounting exhibitions in regard to past violence and injustice”.

Guiding questions:

What might museums studies learn from Simon’s intervention into the public pedagogy and exhibition of difficult history? Why are questions of memory, ethics and justice important to consider for museum curators and educators? What might Simon’s ideas on ethics and public pedagogy bring to the exhibiting of histories of violence and injustice?

Loose threads: uncommon expressions of thoughtful exploration

In this section we seek submissions that recognize Simon’s commitment to diverse forms of representation that attempt to do justice to the (an)other’s life. We seek art in all of its forms that take up this commitment or seek to pay tribute to Simon’s contributions to thinking on ethics, history, pedagogy and the social (with artist statements where desired)


Submissions to be received no later than January 5, 2014, in word document,

blinded for review, to the editor, Kent den Heyer kdenheye@ualberta.ca

Guest editors: Lisa Farley LFarley@edu.yorku.ca

Aparna Mishra Tarc AMishraTarc@edu.yorku.ca

All submissions should be accompanied by a statement that the submission has not been sent to another publication nor previously published. Style Manual ‐ Canadian Social Studies follows the most recent APA guidelines.

Length of Articles ‐ Articles should be up to 6000 words inclusive of the abstract and documentation. Shorter pieces are also welcomed.

Copyright Clearance ‐ Authors are responsible for obtaining written copyright permission for the use of pictures, tables, maps, diagrams, etc., and longer quotations appearing in their submissions. Any copyright permission must accompany the submission.

Canadian Social Studies

Canadian Social Studies, since its inception, has both drawn from and pointed to the multiple historical, sociological, geographical and philosophical/theoretical/political perspectives that constitute the field of social studies education. Focusing on education’s role in helping to foster a better future, the journal publishes original, peer reviewed conceptual and empirical studies. Its purpose is to provide a forum for the exchange of ideas and research findings that will further the understanding and development of social studies education CSS is especially interested in contributions that make strong connections between theory and practice.