Research interests include: Social studies education, Youth conceptualizations of evil, Critical Theory, posthuman thought, terror management theory, youth studies, education for social change, citizenship education, Hannah Arendt, Alain Badiou, Jean Baudrillard, Ernest Becker, Gilles Deleuze, Felix Guattari, Eugene Thacker
Cathryn’s SSHRC-supported doctoral research began with a specific concern: teaching about constant recurrences of genocide, and how educators might engage pedagogically with atrocities often (and understandably) labelled as evil. Studying evil is more than just qualification or socialization; it is about subjectification—developing subjects who think and act independently from authority, but at the same time interdependently with others. Social studies education is an opportunity to arrange curriculum and pedagogy for subjectification with a driving question, how might we live together? Her research seeks to encourage teachers, curriculum designers, and researchers to engage with conceptualizations of evil in order to subvert socio-political invocations of evil that shut down thinking/thoughtfulness. How might conceptualizing evil philosophically empower us to change the status quo? Or, how might the ever-widening imaginary of domesticated or empathetic evil present in popular media add complexity to historical discussions? Cathryn is looking for ways to open up possibilities for how we might reconceptualize the past, live in the present, and ponder the future.
Following Hannah Arendt and Alain Badiou, Cathryn seeks to encourage critical thinking about human agency to counter the processes of evil present in our everyday lives. Through Jean Baudrillard and his views on Symbolic Evil, there is a potential to foster radical thought in and out of the classroom. Deleuze and Guattari (1980/1987) provide meaningful ways to rethink political literacy and action through such concepts as order-words and minoritarian politics. Finally, Becker (1973), Critchley (2008), and Thacker (2011) form a triumvirate of thought to engage with human “creatureliness” to challenge the false and arrogant assumption that the world is for us, instead of humans being merely one species of many on this planet.