23 SES 10 D, Diversity as a System of Exclusion: Historical Notes on Contemporary Thought (Part 1)
Symposium to be continued in 23 SES 11 D
If we play with a saying of the times, we live in an age of reform.That age is long in the making and continually expresses the hope of and fears in the cosmopolitan society and child. The thesis of cosmopolitanism was the Enlightenment’s hope of the world citizen whose commitments transcended provincial and local concerns with ideal values about humanity. The reforms of society were to produce transcendent ethics in the search of progress built on human rights and the hospitality to others. The pedagogy of the new ’modern’ embodied that optimism of a future that was to be guided by the reason and rationality of cosmopolitanism. Cosmopolitan aspirations are carried in efforts for collaboration and democracy to engage parents, teachers, communities, and administrators in achieving modes of living that enable their self-realization and the collective betterment of all people in the community. But, as we argue in this symposium, that optimism is a comparative system of reason that enunciates and divides the child who holds the emancipatory future from those feared as threatening the promise of progress.
Our interest is to explore a particular dogma of the Enlightenment’s cosmopolitanism as embodying a particular mode of organizing difference. Pedagogical narratives and images of cosmopolitanism simultaneously embody the two gestures of hope and fears of the dangers and dangerous populations. There are comparative installations that differentiate and divide those who are enlightened and civilized from those who do not have those qualities—the backward, the savage, and the barbarian of the 19th century and the at-risk and delinquent child of the present. School reforms, for example, are to provide an inclusive society where “all children learn”. The gesture is to make all child the same and on equal footing. That gesture of hope overlaps with fears of the child whose characteristics are not cosmopolitan and a threat to the moral unity of the whole.
The double gestures of the enlightenment’s cosmopolitanism are important to this symposium for considering how the impulses for an inclusive society produces its opposite. It considers pedagogy is political through its inscriptions of rules and standards by which experiences are classified, problems located, and procedures given to order what is seen, thought about, and acted on. The politics involved in the shaping and fashioning of conduct, however, are not only about what “we” should be but also about processes of casting out and excluding what does not fit into the normalized spaces.
This Symposium puts together a group of international scholars that share a common critical social science perspective. We wish to provide an alternative way of thinking about the comparative systems of reason that exclude in the impulses to include.The Symposium takes place in 2 sessions (part I and part II).
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