Forces of Education: Walter Benjamin and the Possibility of a Global Pedagogy
Abstr. due: 01.08.2018
Dates: 09.01.19 — 11.01.19
Organizing comittee e-mail: Dominik.Zechner@NYU.edu
Organizers: Walter Benjamin archive
The workshop provides a platform for young Benjamin scholars to participate in an international debate revolving around Benjamin’s early work in order to develop a global, transcultural, and interlinguistic perspective on the connection between politics, learning, and education in Benjamin’s work and life. Our gathering will focus on Benjamin’s early writings on the critique of culture and education, produced in the context of his participation in the German Youth Movement, and their afterlife in Benjamin’s later writings on pedagogy, history, language, childhood, and theater.
The main topics to be discussed include the concept of youth, school reform, and problems of education. By discussing these themes, we hope to gain new insights into the pedagogical discourses of the 20th and 21st centuries and the crisis of today’s neoliberal educational institutions (“Bologna”), and to develop the basis for a global and transcultural political pedagogy. Benjamin’s pedagogy offers an understanding of education in and through language, marked by a literary politics that questions the principles and institutions of bourgeois academia.
Furthermore, we hope to explore the manifold continuities between Benjamin’s early writings and his later texts, for instance regarding the concept of experience, Benjamin’s understanding of language, and the idea of “educative violence,” invoked at a key juncture in Benjamin’s essay “Toward a Critique of Violence.” Benjamin’s thoughts on Brecht’s works and the didactic function of epic theater as well as his reflections on media and technology in relation to his radio plays will also be part of our workshop agenda.