Welcome to Caesura Collective!
We don’t claim to be poets || although we might be
We don’t think we can change the world || although we might want to
We’re all about that pause || That pause, that pause, that p.a.u.s.e.
Caesura began with a pressing desire for community. First, one reached out to another:
“I’ve heard you in class,” the first said to the second. “I believe we have some common ideas and values about what we’re trying to do here.”
“We should start a podcast,” said the second to the first.
, “Well that escalated quickly,” said the first to the second.
So we started with a book club. Then one person was joined by another and another.... Before we knew it, we had started a community! Welcome to our community home on the World Wide Web and the place where you, dear reader, can creep on what we’re reading or read about how we’re reading what we read!
The word “caesura” finds its home in the world of poetry, in particular: 1) Prosody - a break, especially a sense pause, usually near the middle of a verse, and marked in scansion by a double vertical line, as in ‖ ; 2) Classical Prosody - a division made by the ending of a word within a foot, or sometimes at the end of a foot, especially in certain recognized places near the middle of a verse; 3) any break, pause, or interruption. It’s a word that we do not mean to use in its “technical” sense but rather as a representative idea for what we hope to do with our readings and practices. We are (aspiring) academics and teachers that hold the notions of social justice and critical pedagogy near to our hearts. What new and exciting word might embody this then caesura? We couldn’t think of any.
In choosing the name for our little collective, we were inspired by the word “contrapuntal,” which clearly is not the word “caesura.” The word contrapuntal finds its home in the world of music, representing something: 1) of or relating to counterpoint; and 2) composed of two or more relatively independent melodies sounded together.
Although we are not musicians, we really like the way Edward Said adopts the term in his Culture and Imperialism (1993) to speak to his argument that a relationship exists between literary narratives set outside of the imperial centre and the colonial powers that inform that constitution. So, he argues, we cannot critically read “canonical” novels written during times of imperialism and which are set in the spaces of the colonial power (the centre) without considering the dependency of that power on the colonies (or periphery states). So, for example, a contrapuntal reading of Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park (1814) - about the goings on of the Bertram family estate in England whose wealth depends on their sugar plantation holdings in the Antigua- would require the reader to include that (and those) which is silenced in it. Colonial powers like England and France depended on the colonies for their wealth accumulation and to read a realist novel whose very structure and narrative is dependent on the sugar plantation in Antigua without considering that which is such a vital (yet, silenced) component of the novel is to misread it. A contrapuntal reading works to enrich the novel, to retrieve in it what is lost. And aspiring to read well, well…that can be a very good thing.
Inspired then by Edward Said’s (positive) appropriation of the term contrapuntal, we, a small but eager community of graduate students and teachers turn to the word caesura to represent what we aspire to do here. As you explore the site, look through the community contributions, or listen to the podcast, you’ll see that the spirit of “interruption” -- from the typical grind of academia or common practices in the classroom setting -- informs all that we do here and hope to do in our practices. So, while we’re not necessarily poets, we do hope to create something sacred here - a safe space of interruption (in the recognized “place” of academia) for deeper dialogue and meaningful insight.
We’d love to hear about your caesural thoughts and practices!
Connect with our collective...
You'll find postings of the various Projects that were initiated by members of the Caesura Collective on our Home page. These have also been categorized under the Projects page. These initiatives were set up in order to question, prod and probe Education theory in various ways, and engage community among readers. These projects stem from a desire to put into practice our understanding of theory. As it stands, much of the knowledge we interact with as graduate students and teacher researchers comes in the form of conference presentations and academic papers. But what of other forms of learning, thinking and generating ideas? Particularly in this day in age of increasing interaction through social media, we view interconnection between theories in academia and theories in the field as en essential and enriching component of our careers.