In Perry Zurn & Arjun Shankar (eds.), Curiosity Studies: A New Ecology of Knowledge. Minneapolis, MN, USA: (2020)

Authors
Perry Zurn
American University
Abstract
In what follows, we intervene in the long history of the study of curiosity to propose curiosity studies proper. Such a field, we argue, traverses the many disciplinary and experiential contexts in which curiosity appears, in order to generate theories, analytics, and practices of curiosity that are as complex and ubiquitous as the phenomenon of curiosity itself. Assuming an ecology of knowledge framework, which expressly resists academic silos and intellectual monocultures, we envision curiosity studies as an unbounded inquiry built on three simple principles: (1) Curiosity is multiple; its markers shift across history, geography, species, social identities, institutions, contexts, and circumstances; therefore it requires immensely flexible analytic attention; (2) Curiosity is praxiological; far from something that is simply felt, curiosity is something that is done, expressed in behaviors, habits, architectures, and movements across physical, conceptual, and social space; and (3) Curiosity is political; its manifestations within sociocultural worlds are marked by inherited hierarchies of value among scientific methodologies, people groups, and ideologies. And yet, precisely because it is multiple, praxiological, and political, curiosity bears a keen subversive potential. It has the capacity to upend what we know, how we learn, how we relate, and what we can change. Curiosity has the capacity to become radical, to get at the root of things. We therefore propose curiosity studies not only as a field of scholarship but as a way of reimagining the world, both within the classroom and far beyond it.
Keywords curiosity  wonder  equity  epistemologies of ignorance  epistemological injustice  metaphilosophy  interdisciplinarity
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