Presented by the Adelphi Lecture Series in Social Theory
It is common sense that education should ideally help students fulfill their potentiality. Parents, teachers and school administrators all use this language to describe the role of education in the lives of young children. Phrases referencing a fulfillment of potentiality also appear with regularity in policy statements, political speeches and educational advertisements. Indeed, it is difficult to think that education should be for anything else but such fulfillment. Yet, in this presentation, Tyson E. Lewis will problematize this taken-for-granted assumption about education. Instead of education for the fulfillment of potentiality, he will argue for education in potentiality as such. Turning to the recent critical theory of Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben, Mr. Lewis will define education in potentiality as the unique work of studying. Whereas learning concerns the assessment of potentiality through its fulfillment/actualization, study withdraws from measurable outcomes, enabling the studier to experience directly his or her potentiality without reference to its fulfillment in this or that particular action. In an era of high-stakes testing and assessment-driven protocols, study therefore offers a challenge to the status quo and opens up an alternative space and time for freedom in the classroom.
An informal reception will follow the lecture.
Tyson E. Lewis is associate professor of educational foundations and director of pedagogy and philosophy doctoral program at Montclair State University. His interests include critical pedagogy, educational philosophy and the aesthetics of teaching and learning. His books include Education Out of Bounds: Reimagining Cultural Studies for a Posthuman Age (Palgrave, 2010), The Aesthetics of Education: Theatre, Curiosity, and Politics in the Work of Jacques Ranciere and Paulo Freire (Continuum, 2012) and On Study: Giorgio Agamben and Educational Potentiality (Routledge, forthcoming).
The Adelphi Lecture Series in Social Theory serves as a public forum for local researchers and scholars working on innovative social theory. Our goal is to spark new conversations and interdisciplinary projects, enhancing opportunities for dissemination and collaboration, and acting as a kind of theory laboratory where we discuss ways of putting theory to work.
Elizabeth de Freitas
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