Tapu-gogy: Confining profane pedagogy to a new sacredness beyond the educator’s reach





sacred, Māori, pedagogy, panic, neoliberalism


This paper is situated around a small exhibition installed in the classics museum of the author’s institution, called Tapu-gogy, in November and December 2022. This work explored what a classroom might be like if pedagogy was locked away from the educator, shelved behind a glass case—too tapu (sacred) for an educator to touch. Following the exhibition’s intent, this paper argues that teaching pedagogy itself - once the most profane element of teaching life for any educator—is now too sacred for the educator to touch. As a sacred object can be to a museum, teaching pedagogy is a hijacked item now resting in a glass cage, untouchable by the experts most adept at handling it—the educators who designed it.


The paper clings to Māori understandings of the ‘sacred,’ and as such, interpretations may differ slightly from those this readership may have seen before, if they have seen any at all. In Māori society, we define the sacred as that which is tapu. To aid the reader’s understanding of this particular interpretation of the sacred, the paper uses well-known discussions around neoliberalism, the pandemic, and digital teaching pedagogy to make its arguments. It further hovers around the most recent literature on these topics from 2022, as the pandemic weighs so heavily upon the topic in the paper.




How to Cite

Olsen-Reeder, V. (2024). Tapu-gogy: Confining profane pedagogy to a new sacredness beyond the educator’s reach. Journal of Praxis in Higher Education, 6(3), 67–87. https://doi.org/10.47989/kpdc437



Special Issue: Critiquing the Sacred and the Profane in Higher Education