Aesthetics, string figures, and the politics of the visible in science and education

Sara Tolbert, Jesse Bazzul

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


This paper positions Aesthetics, specifically the politics of Aesthetics, as a frame for approaching traditionally conservative subfields of education, such as science education. Drawing primarily from Jacques Rancière’s work on Aesthetics and Politics, and Donna Haraway’s work with String Figures (SF), we outline the political stakes of engaging, transforming, and ‘playing-with’ the aesthetic dimensions of what science education (and education more broadly) might look like. In the first part of the article, we highlight the political potentiality of a turn toward aesthetics in (science) education, which includes a discussion of theory that supports this shift. We aim to, in part, disrupt the current distribution of the sensible to more deeply, and visibly, entangle science education with multi-species justice and a politics of equality writ large. In the second part of this article, we present our own string figure, an example of what we mean by a radical aesthetic shift in terms of what it allows students to see as visible, possible, and sensible in the world through science and education. We weave a string figure/SF story about our bee companions, who are/have been deeply affected by the Anthropocene, while simultaneously world-making in the Chthulucene. In concluding, we revisit our primary goal which is to open up new forms of political engagement in science education toward the goal of multi-species justice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)82-98
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Curriculum and Pedagogy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2020


  • Aesthetics
  • bees
  • dissensus
  • politics
  • science education
  • string figures
  • transdisciplinary education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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