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Border epistemologies : looking at Almodovar's queer genders Bezerra Jr, Belidson D.

Abstract

The everyday practices of contemporary art education from grades K- 12 are marked by the neglect of the cultural experience of film and the disregard for issues of gender as well as the concealment of issues of sexuality. So it is in the confluence of visual culture, queer theory, art education and film studies that I posit my inquiry. I explore theoretical frameworks for understanding how we look at queer representations of gender and sexuality in visual culture, particularly focusing on Pedro Almodóvar’s filmography and its impact for the teaching and learning of visual culture in higher education and in secondary schools. The organizing questions are: How do Pedro Almodóvar’s film representations of queer sexuality and gender inform contemporary art education theory and practice? In what ways is the utilization of border epistemologies relevant for understanding representations of genders and sexualities in Almodóvar’s films? How does it inform art education practices? Also, this study fills a gap in the emerging critical literature in art education because, as a study focusing on queer visual representation and border epistemologies, it will consider intersections among these specific sites of knowledge, and such studies are rare in the field. I adopt a/r/tography and queer theory as my major frameworks because they allow for a transdisciplinary flow of spaces and places in which to engage in dialogue with numerous areas, disciplines and fields of study. The thesis suggests that queer discourses can assist visual culture education to embrace the study of visual representation of social issues specifically gender and sexuality - as an instrument of critical pedagogy. Further, these discourses confuse and provoke entrenched notions about art, representation, and common sense by continually changing concepts of gender and sexuality, thus encouraging pedagogies of confrontation as opposed to assimilation and uncritical reproduction. These discourses suggest how one might define and establish visual culture education practices, while encouraging interactions between viewer and objects of vision. A discussion of these discourses provides tools for visual culture educators to study cultural domination while empowering and enabling students to become critical producers of meanings and texts as they resist manipulation and domination.

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