This research identifies three assemblages of identity, of Indian art education and artist educators reflected in composite narratives of practice. These assemblages reflect a hybrid ontology articulated through Deleuzoguattarian concepts juxtaposed with Vedanta philosophy viewed within a postcolonial, globalization discourse. It provides a perspective of how hybrid and ambivalent identities of Indian artist educators and art education can be redefined as a positive affect of disciplinary and social border-crossings, and how we might usefully conceptualize the field of art education outside of professionalized programs of study. Key to the research are explorations of how terms like authentic, Indian, art, and tradition in the discourse on Indian art education.
The dissertation acknowledges that an increasingly globalized world encourages and fosters intellectual and creative exchange in the making, teaching and consumption of art and visual culture. The ways that we as art educators, and consequently art education as a field, construct our own identity hugely influences (1) how the scope an function and value of the field is defined by ourselves and by others, (2) how recruitment into and retention in the field occurs, and (3) whose work, in formal and informal settings, of art education is recognized and valued as a part of the work of art education
Often, in looking to learn from each other’s practice in and as art education across borders, we identify each other by fixed notions of national affiliations, or by disciplinary locations of practice. We seek to understand what is Indian art education, or American art education, etc; or we might identify and approach each other under labels of artist teacher; or museum educator, community-centered, etc. This leads us to define our selves and others in fixed ways; that is, it encourages the idea of ontological understanding in teaching and learning as fixed and hierarchical, rather than fluid and reflective of the absorption of multiple influences, both ideological and experiential. Within this approach lies the danger of colonial thought and approach, albeit through a lack of awareness that this might be so. Also, such linear exchanges of information –ie, the “this is what I do, this is what you do” – models of exploration prevent us from seeing rich layers of experience and information in creative educational work. This is especially true in a time when practitioners often move across national and disciplinary borders in their practice; these voices whom we might learn much from are often silenced because of a loss of knowing how to articulate or acknowledge the value of their hybrid identities, or recognizing in what forums their work might be valued.
The research offers a way to identify points of singularity within the inherent hybridity of the identity of contemporary art educators. This is important because such identification can lead to assertive and positive self-knowledge and productive practice. The notion of hybridity in the dissertation is defined through a review and application of postcolonial literature; significantly so in applying the notion of the borderland posited by Gloria Anzaldúa. Singularity is defined, in the conclusion of the research, by applying
the lens of my own hybrid ontology-Vedanta (Indian) and Deleuzo-Guattarian (European) philosophy to my analysis of the questions that form this research study.
This thesis was granted the 2014 InSEA Research Award .