Category Archives: semiotics

Silhouettes of knowing as “Potemkin knowledges”

In a 2007 article,* I discussed how our prevailing approach to education results in the production of mere silhouettes in place of genuine knowing and understanding. Rhetorically, there might be some good occasion for referring to such things as “Potemkin knowledges,” analogous to the old “Potemkin Villages.” This fragmentary thought is hardly worthy of a blog […]

Does chewing gum make students smarter?

You can’t make this stuff up. My soon-to-appear “Education à la Silhouette: The Need for Semiotically-Informed Curriculum Consciousness.” Semiotica 164, no. 1/4 (2007): pp. 235-329.) begins with a brief excerpt from the NBC Today show in which test scores are equated with “smartness” (see below), in a story on “Two recent studies [that] show chewing […]

Kenneth Burke, identity / identification, Activity Theory

While I’m at it with Kenneth Burke, here’s another favorite passage , on “identification,” illustrated with a provocative, if not downright disturbing, classroom scenario. Included in the two pages linked above, Burke writes:

constructivism v. postpositivism

I am very interested in the general question of constructivism v. postpositivism, however, and I have a paper coming out soon that the reader would be interested in, I think. It should be published sometime this spring, and the citation will be: Whitson, James Anthony. “Education À La Silhouette: The Need for Semiotically-Informed Curriculum Consciousness.” Semiotica 164, no. 1/4 (2007): 235-329.

Sunstein & “social knowledge”

In the future I will be writing more about the crucial difference between these two senses of “information.” They are such different ideas that I need to adopt different ways of signifying them. For now, I’m thinking of differentially using “in-formation” juxtaposed with “info-mation.” It seems to me that this could work. What do you think?