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    Tessellation, shamanism, and being alive to things

    Nemirovsky, Ricardo and Duprez, Don (2023) Tessellation, shamanism, and being alive to things. Oxford Review of Education, 49 (4). pp. 496-518. ISSN 0305-4985

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    This study examines the entanglement of affects that occurred during a short episode at a science museum. The episode involved a small number of children and a teacher who had come to the museum in the context of a school field trip. It took place inside an exhibit called ‘Hmong House’, which reproduced various components of a traditional house of the Hmong people. A key aim of this paper is to trace, via the microethnographic analysis of a brief video recording, an affective journey meshing mathematical tessellation and Hmong shamanism. In addition, we elaborate on ways in which disparate themes, such as tessellation and shamanism, became interwoven in the life of those visiting the Hmong House at the time. The episode of the Hmong House may inspire other activities in which students or visitors, with life trajectories partially rooted in Indigenous cultures, can share practices that are foreign to other students. The most important qualities of these activities, we suggest, are the respectful dignity with which they are demonstrated and engaged with, and the freedom to undertake interdisciplinary journeys–without subjection to artificial disciplinary boundaries–in which improvisation and surprising turns are expected and ever-present.

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