Workshop “Political Education for Human Transformation” (13-14 déc. 2019)


The workshop is supported by the JSPS-CNRS research program on “Political Education for Human Transformation” (2019-2021, Naoko Saito and Sandra Laugier) and by the Laboratoire Sorbonne Democratie (Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne)


Friday, December 13th, 2 pm-7 pm

Université Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne, Campus Port Royal, 37 boulevard de Port Royal, 75013 Paris, salle de conférences, bâtiment 1, 2e étage


2:00 Welcome and opening


Panel 1 Caring  (for) Education

Chair: Anne Gonon


2:15 Vanessa Nurock (Université Paris 8 Saint Denis)

Moral Education in the French Curriculum today: why should we care ?

3:00 Keiko Matsui Gibson (Kanda University of International Studies)

Care Ethics and Human Transformation: the political power of literature

3:45 break


Panel 2 Education to Democracy

chair: Loïc Blondiaux


4:00 Anne Gonon (Doshisha University)

#WeToo – a movement between politics and morality

4:45 Mickaelle Provost (Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne)

Undoing Whiteness : a Political Education of one’s Experience

5:30 Albert Ogien (CNRS)

Reclaiming politics: Uprisings as practical education to democracy


Saturday, December 14th, 9:30 am- 6:30 pm

Université Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne, 17 rue de la Sorbonne, 75005 Paris, escalier C, 1er étage, salle Lalande


Panel 3 Perfectionist Education

Chair: TBD


9:15 Naoko Saito (Kyoto University)

Political education for human transformation: Reclaiming the feminine voice in American transcendentalism

10h Hugo Clémot (Paris 1 and Université de Tours)

Cinematographic “Artialisation”: some political issues

10:45 Léa Boman (Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne)

The Upbuilding of a Man: Democratic Issues in Emerson’s Perfectionism

11:30 Piergiorgio Donatelli  (Roma La Sapienza)

Initiation and Education


Panel 4 Education to Forms of Life

Chair: Piergorgio Donatelli


2:00 Sarin Marchetti (Roma La Sapienza)

Habituation and Virtue

2:45 Layla Raïd (Université de Picardie Jules Verne)

Philosophy with children and political education


Panel 5 Political Emotions

3:30 Fujimoto Namil  (Kyoto University)

Where Is the Hatred Coming From?: One Perspective to Political Emotions

4:15 Paul Standish (UCL Institute of Education)

Shades of an uncivil education



Vanessa Nurock (Université Paris 8)

Moral Education in the French Curriculum today : why should we care ?

Developped after the 2015 terrorist attacks on the French Journal Charlie Hebdo, the ‘Civic and Moral Education’ included in the French Curriculum, from Preschool to High School, aims at educating children to Morality and Responsibility. This talk aims at analyzing the main characteristics of this curriculum from a care perspective.


Anne Gonon (Doshisha)

#WeToo – a movement between politics and morality

In looking at the example of the #wetoo movement in Japan, we want to analyze the problematic relation a political project of emancipation has to face when confronting the weight of a conception of the community as a moral community.


Albert Ogien (CNRS EHESS)

Reclaiming politics: Uprisings as practical education to democracy

My talk will focus on one issue : what do people learn about democracy through getting involved in mass mobilizations or square occupations in order to challenge the way their governments rule on their behalf and question the way their representatives fulfill the mission entrusted to them? I’ll try to draw elements of answer from what’s going on in Hong Kong and Algiers, in Khartoum and Santiago, in Paris and Beyrouth, in London and Bagdad.


Layla Raïd (Université de Picardie)

Philosophy with children and political education: a care ethics perspective

My aim is to explore possible implications of feminist care ethics (Nel Noddings, Carol Gilligan) for the practice of philosophy with children. In the Birth of Pleasure (2002), Gilligan develops a theory of how the «voice of care» develops in children of both sexes, and of how it is stifled as they learn their respective gendered standards. In *The Philosophy of Education* (2015), Noddings advocates for  dialogical methods in education based on her care ethics. We show how the Philosophy with children movement addresses the limits of our educational paradigms, as it tries to give voice to children about essential moral and political matters.


Élise Domenach (ENS Lyon)

Nuclear education » and forms of life in Japanese documentary cinema after Noriaki Tsuchimoto

We will envision in this talk the challenges of what Cavell called « nuclear education » in the early 1980’s, in the context of the Reagan administration race to nuclear weapons. How such education engages the experience of film, and relies upon a deep understanding of our renewed forms of life in the time of the Anthropocene. We will consider the testimony of Tsuchimoto’s activists documentaries against the japanese nuclear policy (that equally date from the early eighties) and its legacy in Japanese documentary cinema.


Sarin Marchetti (Roma Sapienza)

Habituation and Virtue

For pragmatism, education amounts to the formation and reworking of habits. Habits are in fact what allow us to perform any activity with a certain degree of confidence and success, but also what make us into the selves we are. If so, then, habit has a key ethical side to it, related to the way we respond to the world. By surveying Dewey’s multi-layered understanding of this cluster notion in its connection with virtue, I aim at distinguishing two features of habit: namely, habit as selection and as discrimination. While often coordinated, the two tasks eventually lead to different pictures of moral education.


Naoko Saito (Kyoto University)

Political education for human transformation: Reclaiming the feminine voice in American transcendentalism

In response to the negative political emotions that create spiritual vacancy in democracy, this paper reexamines the possibilities of American transcendentalism for reclaiming the voice of democracy, and it does this in particular by way of the articulation of the feminine voice in the writings of Margaret Fuller. She writes of a “spiritual democracy,” but where the “spiritual” is to be understood in terms of the ordinary and the everyday. In contrast to the politics of recognition, which is fundamentally deficit-based in its way of thinking, accenting disadvantage, Fuller emphasizes the affirmative voice of the “I” in democracy – where the individual is understood in its singularity and in relation to a kind of femininity. Against the stereotype of strong individualism and against the Kantian autonomous subject, I shall reclaim the nature of Fuller’s notion of the human subject as characterized by receptivity, passion, and humility. The cultivation of subjectivity thus understood requires “education for isolation” – a political education that reinforces spiritual democracy from within, foregrounding the necessity of facing oneself and finding one’s voice.


Fujimoto Namil

Where Is the Hatred Coming From? : One Perspective to Political Emotions

This presentation aims to analyse the root of xenophobia in association with self-hatred. This perspective paves the way for understanding the significance of self-acknowledgement in political education.


Mickaelle Provost (University Paris 1 Pantheon Sorbonne)

Undoing Whiteness: a Political Education of one’s Experience.

The aim of this paper is to understand whiteness through a phenomenological framework and to show that whiteness can be seen as a background of experience. A description of whiteness as a category of experience has implications for our understanding of political education, but also for a feminist reflection on racism within the academic field. Antiracists practices not only operate at the level of belief or discourse, but mainly at the level of prereflective experience, perception, affects and pre-conscious interactions. This means that a political and feminist education against racism needs to be more than a cognitive intervention and involves a critical attention to one’s experience (Cavell; Dewey) and to one’s perceptual habits (Ahmed ; Frye).


Paul Standish (UCL Institute of Education)

Shades of an uncivil education

Brexit: The Uncivil War, a drama written by James Graham (7 January, 2019, Channel 4), was advertised as the first serious analysis of the present political mess. While the programme did earn some plaudits, this promise was not fulfilled. Aside from the compelling characterisation of Dominic Cummings, generally acknowledged as the “master-mind” behind the “Leave [Europe]” campaign, and brilliantly played by Benedict Cumberbatch, the drama relied too much on caricature and over- simplification. “It is incumbent upon [the writer], in an era besieged and almost defined by misinformation,” as Lucy Mangan acidly put it, “not to add to the chaos” (Mangan, 2019). Of course, the real-life drama is unfolding as I write, and perhaps we are too close to it – that is, “we” in the UKand also, differently, in Europe as a whole – to think clearly about it. But it is surprising how little response to Brexit there has been in literature and the arts. As Mangan goes on to observe, however, “Dramatists should find the next decade or so a grimly fertile one for narrative crops.” Diagnosis of Brexit is available in terms of causes that are now familiar: concern for sovereignty; nationalism and xenophobia; and prevalence of the sentiment amongst some sectors of society that the new political/economic order “isn’t working for us”; and it is reasonable to recognise the effects of deep divisions over Europe in the major political parties. But such explanations seem insufficient to explain the self-harming aspects of what is happening.

My purpose is to set this contemporary political stalemate against a line of thought developed in two books by Eric Santner: The Royal Remains (2011) and The Weight of All Flesh (2016). Santner is concerned with sovereignty and authority, but his particular emphasis is on the “liturgical labor” that, in modern democracies, is transferred from the sovereign’s body to that of the people. The point is to reveal the consequences of this changing relation to the body, and to explore this in terms not only of materiality but of capital, commodification, and fetish power: the liturgy and sacrament work through these as a (misplaced) outward sign of an inward grace. It is frequently complained that the 2016 referendum result reflected a lack of education on the part of voters. Many had little idea of the implications and effects of leaving, and they were encouraged, as Brexit: The Uncivil War rightly shows, to think in very simplistic terms. Certainly, few anticipated the intractable mess that now prevails. A most obvious deficiency is in history education, coupled with ignorance, if not prejudice, about the purpose and functioning of the EU. The fault lies also in broader aspects of educational practice today: in the abstractions of citizenship education divorced from history, and in the credentialization of achievement without personal investment and engagement. These weaknesses will be considered in the light of Santner’s arguments regarding capital in neoliberalism. I shall also affirm the importance of voice and conversation as crucial to democracy: conversation is the arena in which I seek not so much to negotiate possibilities of cooperation over my predetermined goals and aspirations but rather to find out what those commitments might be. This will be to reassert the central importance in education of the arts and humanities. They are the subjects within which human meaning-making practices are considered and evaluated, and crucially they depend upon the progressive refinement of judgement, where judgement is not to be calibrated with a fixed standard or rule. Judgement of that kind is what democracy needs.

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