This dissertation presents snapshots of the author’s ongoing living, embodied inquiry, which seeks to blur boundaries between her identities as a clown and as a scholar. Rather than documenting finalized “data,” this dissertation accompanied the author as she spiraled through the possibilities of bringing clown and scholarly practices together. The dissertation was written in, through, and as an element of the process of engaging scholarly and clown practices in ways that deepen, extend, challenge, and inform one another. By bringing clown and scholarly practices together, the author has identified four foundational principles that make up a particular “clown epistemology,” which may be used as an approach in educational contexts, including the context of scholarship: 1. Vulnerability, 2. Engagement in the “magic space of co-creation,” 3. Multiplicity, and 4. Transgression toward transformation. The dissertation explores ways that these foundational principles might enrich clown and scholarly practices and create the unique approach of a “clown scholar.”At the heart of both clown and scholarly practices lays the possibility of transformation. The author suggests that the foundational principles of clowning support us to put “impossibility aside” and to delve into “the moment of immanence,” thereby revealing and engaging with a widened range of possibilities. While she began by considering how clowning practice could be applied to work done in the academy, the author concludes by seeing the ways that clown and scholarly practices can become mutually informing and reinforcing in order to facilitate unique approaches to teaching, learning, growing, and transforming ourselves, our communities, our societies, and our cultures.
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Thesis advisor: Kelly, Vicki
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