Race & Pedagogy Chism Series Artist/Scholar-in-residence: Dr. Chiyuki Shannon
During Dr. Shannon’s undergraduate studies in 1989, an anthropologist encouraged her to make a word to express what she was trying to talk about. She coined the neologism "Multicentriçism" to describe the complex worldview of individuals who come from split genetic, philosophical and cultural frames of reference and who think, communicate, and access information from more than one frame of reference at the same time, without confusion, utilizing multiple levels of sensitivity transmission.
She entered graduate studies in 1991 to advance the work in Multicentriçism. She was already clear about not studying the work from a linear, “in-the-box” static way of knowing. Aware that the work she was doing involved a dynamical process of constant interaction in the informational flux, she didn’t want to confuse herself epistemologically. She realized she needed to develop a way of talking grounded in experience with a claim to knowledge; a way of talking or saying as a transmission of that knowledge:
“I couldn’t articulate my experience as organic and real. I looked for a way to talk about my experience as an individual with multiple cultural frames of reference and to design curriculum based in that complex experience. The concept of La Resolana, a communal way of knowing by a way of sitting in the light of softness together is used as a core concept. I recognized La Resolana as a model for self-transformation by developing concepts and skills in a continuous process of self-education.
I proceeded to build my program of studies to unpack and reconstruct the experience of multicentric understanding by using Intellectual Bricolage. “Bricolage” means to take apart, put together, and is the operational basis of the “mythopoeic mind” as described by Claude Levi-Strauss, in The Savage Mind (1966). A tool for weaving creative experiences with linguistic consciousness, the framework of Intellectual Bricolage served as a decoder to understand Gibson’s theory of information pick up, information I pick up as I travel through the La Resolana field of experience.
I traveled the four areas in the field of: Diversity; Power and Knowledge, Consciousness, and Spirituality by moving around on surfaces, sides, edges, and substances, looking and finding information to do self–work. I discovered that Socio-Cultural Fragmentation and Psychological Impulse were foundations of the study, forming the basis of my work, which indicated that cognition was contraindicated for the work I was doing. I had to then search for a method, which defined the research problem: looking for a multicentric approach for method development and description.
I decided to approach the neologism “Multicentriçism” as an image arising spontaneously from bits and pieces of jostling word material, as if by “magic” forming a conceptual Bricolage. I developed the critical concepts of perception and sensory array in Bricolage Intellectual methodology, which led me to understanding my experience as an organic experience in a Bricolage of folk improvisational design. This work is presented as creative non-fiction.” (Shannon, Chiyuki. Ph..D., Stalking The Multicentric Ego: A Bricolage of Folk Improvisational Self-Work, Dissertation Summary, The Union Institute, 2001)
Dr. Chiyuki Shannon is Director of The Multicentric Institute and Owner/ Manager of Access Change Technologies, LLC. She is dedicated to expanding awareness and understanding that the multicentric individual is a context dependent thinker and requires a different learning style environment than the field (context) independent, linear style predominant in the European based model of education and training. “This mismatch can lead to misunderstandings, and culturally inappropriate interaction, assessment, instruction or discipline. Underachievement, poor self- esteem, and misbehavior can result. These pupils may end up in special education programs, either because of mislabeling or because educators have ‘created’ a learning disability or emotional and/or behavioral disorder.” (Ramirez, M., and Castenada, A., 1974. Cultural Democracy, Bicognitive Development, and Education. Article: “Does The Way We Teach Create Behavior Disorders In Culturally Different Students?” New York: Academic Press).
Dr. Shannon has over 20 years of experience building perceptual environments for curriculum design, classroom instruction, workshop development and delivery, and consultation services that effectively address the needs of the multicentric, context dependent learning style. She provides these services utilizing direct perception to generate models and demonstrations for individual, small and large group presentations. Dr. Shannon is also a K-12 certified teacher. Through the Office of the Superintendent of Public of Public Instruction (OSPI), The Multicentric Institute is a clock-hour in-service provider and presents a series of clock- hour programs for certified teachers to develop ecological approaches to curriculum design in dynamical perception utilizing creative diversity in Multicentriçism.