Advertisement

Leaning into Discomfort: Engaging Film as a Reflective Surface to Encourage Deliberative Encounters

  • Judith Terblanche
  • Charlene van der Walt
Chapter

Abstract

In this chapter, Judith Terblanche and Charlene van der Walt contend that achieving social transformation in an historical context characterised by race, economic, class, gender and cultural differentiation and encountering the other for deliberation are indispensable to achieve transformation. The authors, however, hold that since encountering the other is limited by the very ideological constructions of otherness, it is imperative that the educational institutions must trigger deliberation among learners with diverse backgrounds responsibly or else the deliberation will not take place. Employing Miroslav Volf’s (Exclusion and embrace: A theological exploration of identity, otherness and reconciliation. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1996) idea of the drama of embrace and Yusef Waghid’s (On the educational potential of ubuntu. In E. J. Takyi-Amoako & N. T. Assié-Lumumba (Eds.), Re-visioning education in Africa: Ubuntu-inspired education for humanity. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018) ideas on ubuntu, the authors argue for the role of film in pedagogy to initiate the imperative of encounter that awakens empathy and compassion for the other. Reflecting on and discussing a film creates room for cultivation of skills that would assist the viewing students to take active but otherwise difficult steps of encountering the other. Waghid argues that the centrality of the film is that it projects the moral necessity of deliberatively going through the discomfort of imagining the situationality of the other and taking active real-life steps in ways that are discomforting, risky and vulnerable as the process may be. They thus argue that film is a medium full of potential for initiating a pedagogy of discomfort that emphasises students and teachers moving outside their zones of comfort so that, through the generated discomforting emotions, the stakeholders come to identify and challenge dominant beliefs, practices, habits and prejudices in them and in society largely regarded as unproblematic in order to achieve social transformation. In relation to decoloniality, Terblanche and Van der Walt hold that, apart from the discomforting encounters surfacing, the entrenched structural epistemic violence against other people’s forms of knowledge, pedagogical film engagement could also achieve further decoloniality by foregrounding content and theory that are local and exploring lived experiences that are institutionally regarded as irrelevant, such as indigeneity.

References

  1. Ackermann, D. (2001). Tamar’s cry: Re-reading an ancient text in the midst of an HIV or AIDS pandemic. Stellenbosch: Ecumenical Foundation of Southern Africa.Google Scholar
  2. Ballantine, C. (2017). Sounds like a better future: Musicking for social change. In C. Ballentine, M. Chapman, K. Erwin, & G. Maré (Eds.), Living together, living apart? Social cohesion in a future South Africa (pp. 110–121). Pietermaritzburg: University of KwaZulu-Natal Press.Google Scholar
  3. Bawa, A. (2017). Embroidering controversy: The politics of visual imaging. In C. Ballentine, M. Chapman, K. Erwin, & G. Maré (Eds.), Living together, living apart? Social cohesion in a future South Africa (pp. 134–144). Pietermaritzburg: University of KwaZulu-Natal Press.Google Scholar
  4. Boler, M. (1999). Feeling power: Emotions and education. London: Psychology Press.Google Scholar
  5. Boler, M. (2004). Teaching for hope. In D. P. Liston & J. W. Garrison (Eds.), Teaching, learning, and loving: Reclaiming passion in educational practice (pp. 114–132). New York, NY: Routledge.Google Scholar
  6. Butler, J. (2004). Undoing gender. New York, NY: Routledge.Google Scholar
  7. De Gruchy, J. W. (2006). Being human: Confessions of a Christian humanist. London: SCM Press.Google Scholar
  8. Dugard, J., & Meyersveld, B. (2017). Sexual harassment and violence: Higher education as a social microcosm. In C. Ballentine, M. Chapman, K. Erwin, & G. Maré (Eds.), Living together, living apart? Social cohesion in a future South Africa (pp. 153–161). Pietermaritzburg: University of KwaZulu-Natal Press.Google Scholar
  9. Erwin, K. (2017). The danger of empty words: From rhetoric to action. In C. Ballentine, M. Chapman, K. Erwin, & G. Maré (Eds.), Living together, living apart? Social cohesion in a future South Africa (pp. 38–44). Pietermaritzburg: University of KwaZulu-Natal Press.Google Scholar
  10. Heleta, S. (2016). Decolonisation of higher education: Dismantling epistemic violence and Eurocentrism in South Africa. Transformation in Higher Education, 1(1), 1–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Hofmeyr, J., & Govender, R. (2015). National reconciliation, race relations, and social inclusion. Cape Town: Institute for Justice and Reconciliation.Google Scholar
  12. Jansen, J. D. (1998). But our natives are different! Race, knowledge and power in the academy. Social Dynamics, 24(2), 106–116.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Maré, G. (2017). What social cohesion? Binding through shared austerity. In C. Ballentine, M. Chapman, K. Erwin, & G. Maré (Eds.), Living together, living apart? Social cohesion in a future South Africa (pp. 45–54). Pietermaritzburg: University of KwaZulu-Natal Press.Google Scholar
  14. Naudé, P. (2017). Decolonising knowledge: Can ubuntu ethics save us from coloniality? Journal of Business Ethics, 1–15.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-017-3763-4.
  15. Ndebele, N.S. (2009, September 23). Of pretence and protest. Mail & Guardian. Retrieved August 29, 2018, from https://mg.co.za/article/2009-09-23-of-pretence-and-protest.
  16. NPC (National Planning Commission). (2012). National Development Plan 2030. Our future—Make it work. Retrieved August 29, 2018, from https://nationalplanningcommission.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/ndp-2030-our-future-make-it-work_0.pdf.
  17. Nussbaum, M. C. (1997). Cultivating humanity: A classical defense of reform in liberal education. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Nussbaum, M. C. (2003). Cultivating humanity in legal education. University of Chicago Law Review, 70(1), 265–279.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Nussbaum, M. C. (2004). Liberal education & global community. Liberal Education, 90(1), 42–27.Google Scholar
  20. Reygan, F., & Francis, D. (2015). Emotions and pedagogies of discomfort: Teachers’ responses to sexual and gender diversity in the Free State, South Africa. Education as Change, 19(1), 101–119.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. RSA (Republic of South Africa). (1950). Group Areas Act, Act No. 41 of 1950. Pretoria: Government Printer.Google Scholar
  22. Schmahmann, B. (2017). Embroidering controversy: The politics of visual imaging. In C. Ballentine, M. Chapman, K. Erwin, & G. Maré (Eds.), Living together, living apart? Social cohesion in a future South Africa (pp. 122–133). Pietermaritzburg: University of KwaZulu-Natal Press.Google Scholar
  23. Shanyanana, R. N., & Waghid, Y. (2016). Reconceptualizing ubuntu as inclusion in African higher education: Towards equalization of voice. Knowledge Cultures, 4(4), 104–120.Google Scholar
  24. Spling. (2018). Movie review: Beyond the river. Retrieved August 29, 2018, from http://www.spling.co.za/movie-reviews-trailers/movie-review-beyond-the-river.
  25. Tutu, D. (1999). No future without forgiveness. New York, NY: Image.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Volf, M. (1996). Exclusion and embrace: A theological exploration of identity, otherness and reconciliation. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press.Google Scholar
  27. Vosloo, R. (2003). Public morality and the need for an ethos of hospitality. Scriptura, 82, 63–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Vosloo, R. (2004). Identity, otherness and the triune God: Theological groundwork for a Christian ethic of hospitality. Journal of Theology for Southern Africa, 119, 69–89.Google Scholar
  29. Waghid, Y. (2018). On the educational potential of ubuntu. In E. J. Takyi-Amoako & N. T. Assié-Lumumba (Eds.), Re-visioning education in Africa: Ubuntu-inspired education for humanity (pp. 55–65). London: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Ward, G. (2017). Decolonizing theology. Stellenbosch Theological Journal, 3(2), 561–584.Google Scholar
  31. Zembylas, M. (2005). Discursive practices, genealogies, and emotional rules: A poststructuralist view on emotion and identity in teaching. Teaching and Teacher Education, 21, 935–948.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Zembylas, M. (2015). ‘Pedagogy of discomfort’ and its ethical implications: The tensions of ethical violence in social justice education. Ethics and Education, 10(2), 163–174.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Zembylas, M., & McGlynn, C. (2012). Discomforting pedagogies: Emotional tensions, ethical dilemmas and transformative possibilities. British Educational Research Journal, 38(1), 41–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Judith Terblanche
    • 1
  • Charlene van der Walt
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of AccountingUniversity of the Western CapeCape TownSouth Africa
  2. 2.Gender and Religion DepartmentSchool of Religion, Philosophy, and Classics, University of KwaZulu-NatalDurbanSouth Africa

Personalised recommendations