My Octopus Teacher, Posthumanism, and Posthuman Education: A Pedagogical Conceptualization



posthumanism, education, pedagogy, documentary/film studies


The purpose of this paper is to present a method for engaging students with posthumanist thinking. The following conceptualization explores a potential pedagogical endeavor involving a documentary film, a film studies text, and four texts examining the theory of posthumanism and its relation to education. In this conception, students analyze the use of cinematic mode in documentary-making using Nichols’s (2010) Engaging Cinema: An introduction to film studies and consider how these techniques are used in Ehrlick & Reed’s My Octopus Teacher. My Octopus Teacher functions as an entrance into concepts explored in the work of Rosi Braidotti (2016; 2019) and Nathan Snaza (Snaza et al., 2014; Snaza et al., 2016). Students apply their understanding of the film to draw connections with concepts explored in the selected posthumanist literature, and in turn, inform their conceptions of humanism, anthropocentrism, and posthumanism in education. Throughout this unit, students are encouraged to depart from sedimented assumptions of the human condition (if only temporarily), and earnestly engage with ideations of posthumanism. Students mine through assumptions of human supremacy and humanist practices at large, and entertain the possibilities that a posthumanist philosophy could offer education. This paper adds to a nascently growing body of literature working to decenter the human in our everyday experience, and in education in particular. The following will be especially generative for film studies professors, researchers of posthumanism, and educators committed to the possibility of a posthuman education.

Author Biography

Nicole Ross, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Nicole Ross is a PhD student at UNC-Chapel Hill in the Culture, Curriculum, and Teacher Education program.






Cultural Studies and Curriculum