Seeing Red––A Pedagogy of Parallax: An Epistolary Bildungsroman on Artful Scholarly Inquiry

by Pauline Sameshima


A brilliant and daring piece of scholarship, this book will raise eyebrows and spark much debate. It does not simply break new ground, it breaks all the rules––ultimately compelling us to examine and embrace scholarship in fresh, innovative ways.

Seeing Red is based on Pauline Sameshima’s dissertation. Her work has been recognized in multiple educational fields:
2007 Outstanding Dissertation Award from AERA Arts Based Educational Research
2007 Ted T. Aoki Prize from UBC for outstanding dissertation in Curriculum Studies
2007 Outstanding Dissertation Award from CSSE Arts Researchers Teachers Society
2007 Dissertation Recognition of Excellence Award from CSSE Canadian Association of Teacher Education
2007 Gordon and Marion Smith Prize in Art Education

The book showcases a PhD dissertation written in the form of an epistolary bildungsroman—a didactic novel of personal developmental journeying. The work is a fiction (letters from a graduate student to the professor she is in love with) embedded in developmental understanding of living the life of a teacher researcher. The work shares the possibilities of how artful research informs processes of scholarly inquiry and honors the reader's multi-perspective as integral to the research project's transformative potential.

Parallax is the apparent change of location of an object against a background due to a change in observer position or perspective shift. The concept of parallax encourages researchers and teachers to acknowledge and value the power of their own and their readers’ and students' shifting subjectivities and situatedness which directly influence the constructs of perception, interpretation, and learning.

The novel format ties themes and characters together just as storytelling can bind theory and practice. Norman Denzin (2005) supports the pedagogical and libratory nature of the critical democratic storytelling imagination. Laurel Richardson (2005, p. 962) suggests that creative analytical practices of documenting ethnographic research are "valid and desirable representations of the social."

The love story and issues of teacher/learner role boundaries are controversial and largely unspoken of in educational settings and the letter format is voyeuristic. In this sense, the audience is being given a peek, a look at the unrevealed. One of the advantages of the epistolary novel is its semblance of reality and the difficulty for readers to distinguish the text from genuine correspondence (Wurzbach, 1969). The genre allows the reader access to the writing character's intimate thoughts without perceived interference from the author's manipulation and conveys events with dramatic and sensational immediacy (Carafi, 1997).

A paperback version is also available.


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