Walter Benjamin’s Antifascist Education is the first comprehensive analysis of educational themes across the entirety of the critical theorist’s diverse writings. Starting with Benjamin’s early reflections on teaching and learning, Tyson E. Lewis argues that the aesthetic and cultural forms to which Benjamin so often turned—namely, radio broadcasts, children’s theatrical productions, collections, cityscapes, public cinemas, and word games—swell with educational potentialities. What emerges from Lewis’s reading is a constellational curriculum composed of minor practices such as poor teaching, absentminded learning, and nondurational studying. This curriculum carries political significance, offering an antidote to past and present forms of fascist manipulation, hardness, and coldness. Walter Benjamin’s Antifascist Education is a testimony to Benjamin’s belief that “everyone is an educator and everyone needs to be educated and everything is education.”
“Taking up the multifaceted Benjaminian conception of educational life—a life of studious straying and self-reflection at once critical and mimetic—and following its untoward trajectory in object areas as diverse as slapstick film, riddles, cityscapes, and children’s theater, this subtle, imaginative, and comprehensive analysis speaks directly to the moral and spiritual crisis of the present.” — Howard Eiland, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Tyson E. Lewis is Professor of Art Education at the University of North Texas. He is the author of several books, including Inoperative Learning: A Radical Rewriting of Educational Potentialities and On Study: Giorgio Agamben and Educational Potentiality.
Inoperative Learningembodies a weak philosophy of education. It does not offer a set of solutions or guidelines for improving educational outcomes, but rather renders taken-for-granted assumptions about the theory-practice coupling inoperative. By arguing that such logic reduces education to instrumental ends, this book presents a challenge to contemporary notions of education as outcomesbased, goal-directed learning. From the perspective of learning, the neutralization of progress, growth, and maturity would usually be seen as obstacles needing to be overcome on the path toward set goals. Yet Lewis argues that a serious investigation of inoperativity opens up possibilities that would be otherwise unavailable in a world fixated on the question of learning. In dialogue with philosophers (Agamben, Benjamin, and Esposito), authors (Kafka and Walser) and qualitative researchers (Lather), Lewis turns our collective attention to what remains when concepts such as learning, child development, teacher effectivity, and personal growth are left idle.
Inoperative Learning presents a radical rewriting of educational possibilities. It should therefore be of great interest to educational researchers and educational philosophers concerned with the question of alternative logics of education beyond learning. The book may also be of interest to theorists in the critical humanities that are engaged in education as a thematic concern in their research and classroom practices.
Join David Ponder on his incredible journey to discover the Seven Decisions for Success that can turn any life around, no matter how hopeless a situation may seem. A New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Publisher’s Weekly bestseller, The Traveler’s Gift is the continuation of David Ponder’s story in The Traveler’s Summit.
In this book, Tyson E. Lewis argues that studying is a distinctive educational experience with its own temporal, spatial, methodological, aesthetic, and phenomenological dimensions. Unlike learning, which presents the actualization of a student’s "potential" in recognizable and measurable forms, study emphasizes the experience of potentiality, freed from predetermined outcomes. Studying suspends and interrupts the conventional logic of learning, opening up a new space and time for educational freedom to emerge.
Drawing upon the work of Italian philosopher and critical theorist Giorgio Agamben, Lewis provides a conceptually and poetically rich account of the interconnections between potentiality, freedom, and study. Through a mixture of educational critique, phenomenological description, and ontological analysis, Lewis redeems study as an invaluable and urgent educational experience that provides alternatives to the economization of education and the cooptation of potentiality in the name of efficiency. The resulting discussion uncovers multiple forms of study in a variety of unexpected places: from the political poetry of Adrienne Rich, to tinkering classrooms, to abandoned manifestos, and, finally, to Occupy Wall Street.
By reconnecting education with potentiality this book provides an educational philosophy that undermines the logic of learning and assessment, and turns our attention to the interminable paradoxes of studying. The book will be key reading for scholars in the fields of educational philosophy, critical pedagogy, foundations of education, composition and rhetoric, and critical thinking and literacy studies.