A new semester: social philosophy

It’s almost time for the second semester of the year here down under. While the Tour de windmill-of-brotonneFrance wraps up, and American academics are heading back to work after a summer break, in Oz we’ve been cramming things into the brief break between first semester marking and second semester organisation.

I’m looking forward to teaching. I’m running a 3rd year unit on Social Philosophy, while also having a tonne of research to get done and send out. My unit will be an advanced introduction to Frankfurt School critical theory, before then focusing in on the subjective and objective dimensions of education.

pid_3009Education, today, is nearly universal. But what is the goal of an education? Is it the development of freedom, or is it the repressive reproduction of a system of control? What are the norms that dictate the experience of going to school? What counts as success, and how is it constituted? What forms of suffering and injustice are there? What are the mechanisms for governance and organisation? Is education democratic? These are just some of the questions to ask.

This leads nicely into tying up some research I’ve done — slowly — over the past couple of years. But before I launch into writing something on this, I need to finish off a few other projects on my desk as well. Research on religion; an article on French theories of historicity; and a commissioned article for History and Theory. It’s going to be a busy semester then, and so I don’t think I’ll be going full-tilt at the US job market like I have in the past couple of years. From mine, and others’ experiences, the results of that just didn’t seem to stack up. Good philosophers weren’t hired, weren’t even short-listed. The hirings we did hear about seemed strange choices. And, overwhelmingly, there are far more capable philosophers than positions in their given fields. Why tilt at windmills? I have better things to do.

OK, so there is a small problem around being about to earn money for things like food, accommodation, and clothing for my family.

Hang on, who am I kidding?

We haven’t been able to buy clothing for a few years now.





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