Strathclyde, Edinburgh & Stirling Branches Seminar
Traditional Asian cultures offer rich conceptions of the teacher, such as Sensei, Sifu, or Guru, figures who master, embody and transmit living traditions. Although they take different forms and represent varied traditions (Zen Buddhist, Confucian, Daoist, Hindu, and so on), these masters often expect a level of commitment and submission of their students that is relatively foreign to the ideal of the Western autonomous learner. In contrast to modern student-led learning, these masters might resist explicit explanation of learning processes and outcomes. This kind of pedagogy of submission requires a deep-reaching trust with regard to refused explanations. It is, then, tempting to contrast the deeply transformative albeit authoritarian pedagogical encounters suggested in East Asian traditional pedagogy, with the more superficial but apparently more liberal and critical nature of Western learning that is generally committed to more explicit outcomes.
In European culture the figure of the master (Meister; Maître; Maestro) still exists but as a relative curiosity, or something of an historical relic. However, things look decidedly different from the perspective of the continental traditions of education: namely Bildung (educational or cultural trans-/formation). In this context, masters act as living representatives of the tradition, or offer inspiration and guidance through texts that aid Bildung. The historical link of the Meister to the European construction of education as Bildung (Meister Eckhart having used the term Bildung in reference to ‘becoming God’) is suggestive of a possible link between European concepts of educational formation, and East Asian pedagogical ideas of self-transformation/ self-cultivation.
This conference will create a space for exploring the Anglo-American traditions of educational trans-/formation (e.g. education and the Transcendentalists) and European constructions of Bildung, alongside East Asian traditions of trans-/formation and development. Relatively little work in this area has been undertaken and many questions about the commensurability of North American, European and East Asian pedagogy remain. It is not obvious that educational formation as Bildung is generalizable in the way suggested above. Nor is it obvious that the lifeworlds of these different traditions are mutually illuminating or at all commensurable. What is clear, though, is the continued interest in (self-) formation through various East Asian practices, from varied martial arts to health and spiritual practices (e.g. Aikido, Tai Chi, Yoga, mindfulness etc.), suggesting that ‘traditional’ practices and pedagogical relations have something important to contribute despite the marginal place they occupy within educational discourse. Six scholars working within this field have been invited to present papers that will address these and other related themes such as:
- Concepts of teaching, teacher and self-formation across East and West
- East Asian Martial Arts philosophy and pedagogy
- 道 (jap.: dō /chin.: Dao) as educational form
- Intercultural comparative understandings of Bildung/ Bildsamkeit
- The role of (filial) piety, submission, and authority
- Problems of translation and commensurability
10:20 Welcome and introduction Dr David Lewin, University of Strathclyde
10:30 – 11:15 Prof Paul Standish, University College London, Tu Weyming and Liberal Education in a Global Era
11:15 Tea & Coffee
11:30 – 12:15 Dr Andrea English, University of Edinburgh, Title TBC
12:15 – 13:00 Dr Karsten Kenklies, University of Strathclyde, Alienation and In-Habitation - The Educating Journey in West and East
14:00 – 14:45 Dr James MacAllister, University of Edinburgh, Education as transformation of human desire: From Ikiru to MacIntyre
14:45 – 15:30 Qasir Shah, University College London, Junzi: A Teacher for All Seasons
15:30 Tea & Coffee
16:00 – 16:45 Dr Joris Vlieghe, University of Aberdeen, A Flusserian analysis of western and eastern practices of literacy initiation
16:45 – 17:30 Prof Naoko Saito, University of Kyoto, TBC
If you would like to attend this free event (or part of it), then please email the organiser Dr David Lewin to book a place: firstname.lastname@example.org. Spaces are limited, so early booking is advised.