The Institute welcomed Peter Smagorinsky, Distinguished Research Professor in English Education at the University of Georgia, to New York for a salon-style conversation with Institute director Lois Holzman and a diverse audience of invited guests.
In introducing Smagorinsky, Holzman noted:
Peter has taken an adventurous philosophical/political turn in his exploration of education and how people learn — especially in the area of what’s called “abnormality” and ‘developmental disabilities.’ He is using Lev Vygotsky’s lesser-known work on ‘defectology’ to create new ways of seeing and relating to people diagnosed on the autism spectrum and/or as mentally ill.
He is one of the few academics I know who is willing to speak about how these issues impact on him, professionally and personally. I admire his willingness to grow. A recent paper of his illustrates what I mean: He titled it, ‘Confessions of a Mad Professor: An Autoethnographic Consideration of Neuroatypicality, Extranormativity, and Education.’
Peter is current Chair of the Cultural-Historical Research SIG of the American Educational Research Association, and in that context has worked with Holzman (previous SIG Chair) and Carrie Lobman (current SIG Program Co-Chair).
The Smagorinsky/Holzman conversation is the first in a series — entitled Making a Conceptual Revolution — that will feature innovators and pioneers in the fields of education and the human sciences in conversation with Holzman.
My guests will be people whom I greatly admire and whose work has or is transforming the fields in which they work, says Holzman. I’m eager to have my colleagues get to know them, and for them to become acquainted with the Institute’s community.