“I Don’t Know What’s Gotten into Me, but I’m Guessing It’s Snake Germs”: Becoming Beasts in the Early Years Classroom

  • Casey Y. MyersEmail author
Reference work entry
Part of the Springer International Handbooks of Education book series (SIHE)


Within the United States, taken-for-granted curricular priorities and practices sanction child-animal relations within specific cognitive and socio-developmental perspectives. This chapter presents an onto-epistemological departure, drawing upon a yearlong post-qualitative classroom inquiry with 4- to 6-year-old children in order to map the various ways in which children were entangled within the process of becoming more-than-human animals. Adopting a materialist perspective on relationships, this work specifically highlights the ways in which children and everyday acts of becoming animal were mobilized within what the children referred to as “the beast” – an imbroglio of physical transformations, environmental limitations, adult expectations, material affordances, and children’s conceptions of and relationships to various animal actors. Through narrative and visual data (re)constructed with children, the chapter argues that (1) young child-animal hybrids (i.e., beasts) emerge within and through highly particular and dependent material-discursive circumstances and (2) attending to and honoring these “beasts” present opportunities for generative departures from the ways in which animals are typically conceptualized, valued, or otherwise recognized within early years curriculum.


Post-qualitative Posthuman Child-animal relations Early years Entanglement 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Teaching, Learning, and Curriculum Studies, Child Development CenterKent State UniversityKentUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Pauliina Rautio
    • 1
  • Tracy Young
    • 2
  1. 1.Faculty of EducationUniversity of OuluOuluFinland
  2. 2.Swinbourne UniversityMelbourneAustralia

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