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Call for Papers

Call for Papers ISCHE40 | Education and Nature

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Call for Papers ISCHE40 | Education and Nature

Call for Papers ISCHE40 | Education and Nature

August 29 – September 1, 2018 in Berlin, Germany

Since the early modern era, the modern project of education has been closely associa- ted with another modernist project, namely the clear distinction between a purportedly unchangeable ‘nature’, on the one hand, and a historically conceived, changing society, on the other. An exploration of the history of education may reveal that this clear-cut separation has been constantly challenged and undermined by hybrid phenomena and networks between these two realms. Nature has classically been a contentious subject within educational thinking, yet nature has not only been a point of reference for ideas and theories, but for educational practices as well. The European Enlightenment reposi- tioned nature as a determining arena and the backdrop for educational practices. Since then, nature has become a central reference point for educational thinking and practices in a variety of forms and dimensions:

Nature has proved a somewhat contradictory argument in pedagogic re ection.

It has been viewed both as a method guiding educational practices and a standard by which to measure those practices. It is assumed that nature’s ‘mode’ of teaching and its ‘method’ – using Rousseau’s xed points in the educational discussion – are to be followed. At the same time, nature has been de ned as one of the aims of education insofar as education was de ned as the creation of a second nature in humankind. A transformed nature, which produces ‘real’ humans from untamed animal-like creatures. Many nuances and variations shaped the modern educational scene, from an anti-feudal point of view fo- cusing on the ‘unnatural’ strati cation of society to nature as an irrefutable determiner of a person’s ‘natural’ gifts and dispositions. Finally, nature has been a notorious argument within projects seeking a consistent reform of education and instruction. Nature has been not only a legitimising concept for different projects; it has also been a discursive weapon against the perceived ‘decay of values’ and ‘evils’ of society.

Nature is a key point of reference

while constructing educational relationships and set- tings and therefore plays a central role in educational practices. On the one hand, nature may be understood as a call to action for educators, highlighting those practices credited with advancing the nature of students and pupils or at least pushing them to the limits of their learning capacities, yet on the other hand, nature also delineates the nite possi- bilities of education. Discourses concerning nature and education vary widely and include theories such as human nature being intrinsically ductile; the construction of the concept of intelligence primarily understood as a limit to the potential of individual development; all types of theories concerning giftedness; and contemporary discussions about the moral and legal right of educators to intervene with mechanical, chemical, and digital enhancement possibilities, including neuro-enhancement. In this context the central question arises of whether nature as a concept works as a differentiating instrument for the increasingly challenged dichotomy between nature and culture. CFP: EN FR DT SP