Thinking posthuman with mud

and children of the Anthropocene

Margaret Somerville*, Sarah J. Powell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)


This article addresses the problem of writing the posthuman in educational research. Confronted by our own failures as educational researchers within posthuman and new materialist approaches, it seeks a more radical opening to Lather and St Pierre’s question: ‘If we give up “human” as separate from non-human, how do we exist? … Are we willing to take on this question that is so hard to think but that might enable different lives?’ We do this to enable different lives for the planet in all of its manifestations, including its children of the Anthropocene. We begin with the insistent presence of mud in our deep hanging out in an early learning site and ask: what is mud, what does it do, where can mud lead us in its oozing at Grey Gums Preschool. From these explorations we include a scripted dialogue that was performed at a conference against a background of rolling images of the proliferation of mud’s play with children. We consider this scripted dialogue, and its performance, as data read in relation to the recent special issue of Educational Philosophy and Theory on ‘Educational epistemologies in a more than human world’ (2017).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)829-840
Number of pages12
JournalEducational Philosophy and Theory
Issue number8
Early online date1 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2019



  • posthuman
  • Anthropocene
  • mud's play
  • early learning

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