Learning in the Crisis: On Rediscovering “the Social” in the Midst of a Pandemic
Saturday, June 27, 12pm EST / 5pm BST. Online.
As individuals and communities struggle to cope with daily life in the midst of the Covid-19 epidemic, we have witnessed impressive forms of grass-roots organization to meet basic material and social needs, often in the absence of state-level support (e.g., Mutual Aid networks). To what extent do these projects reflect a drive towards rediscovering “the social” which some claim has all but disappeared in advanced capitalist states? Rather than just celebrating these initiatives as hopeful intimations of a better future, I will offer some reflections on the questions and the challenges they pose for our political thinking. I will bring these reflections into dialogue with a variety of theorists and ideas, including Hannah Arendt’s distinction between “the social” and “the political”; Hanna Pitkin’s criticism of Arendt’s conception of “the social”, Banu Bargu’s work on commensality, and anarchist theories of prefiguration, human nature, and organization.
I want to resist the idea of “learning from the crisis”, and to offer, instead, a tentative attempt at learning in the crisis, thinking aloud through a mixture of reflection on personal experience, philosophical musings, and political anxieties. Seminar participants will be invited to engage in a conversation about our political concepts and how they inform our critique of current society, our action, and our ability to imagine alternatives.
Facilitator: Judith Suissa is Professor of Philosophy of Education at UCL Institute of Education, London, UK. Her research interests are in political and moral philosophy, with a focus on anarchist theory, questions of social justice, radical and libertarian educational traditions, utopian theory, the role of the state, and the parent-child relationship. Her publications include Anarchism and Education: A Philosophical Perspective (2006) and The Claims of Parenting: Reasons, Responsibility and Society (with Stefan Ramaekers, 2012).
To register for the seminar, please fill out this form. Choose one of the following three methods of offering a contribution to the session.
Membership. We aspire to be a member-driven community of learners. You can become a member of Incite Seminars through our Patreon. You may select from five tiers offering various levels of access and benefits.
Enable-as-you-can: Make a donation. Typically, people contribute between $10-90 per session (seminars are between 1 and 6 sessions). You can “buy” multiple $10s by entering the corresponding number into the box on PayPal below (for example, 6 = $60, etc.) or enter any amount you want through Venmo.
Solidarity scholarship. If you are unable to contribute financially at this time, we warmly invite you to attend anything we offer at no cost. We greatly value your participation as a contribution. (Please fill out this scholarship form for our records.)
Rethinking Practice at the Great Feast