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Creative Community Programme – Think Differently


13 December 2018

Image credit: Banner outside the Minneapolis Police Department fourth precinct following the officer-involved shooting of Jamar Clark on

Think Differently is a series of discussions on topical issues led by Middlesbrough-based philosopher Gary Widdowfield. The sessions are designed to foster critical thinking towards the production of knowledge. Through informal discussion, participants consider how concepts from philosophy can be useful to understand current issues. As a group, they build a toolbox of techniques to understand society in a different way.

In Spring – Summer 2018, Think Differently focuses on exploring the political potential of existential thought. Existentialism is based on the idea that individuals are free to shape their own lives. Politics occurs when individuals choose to challenge the existing order of society. As such, the existential and the political are inextricably linked.

This theme will be explored in depth over nine sessions, each building on the last. The course is organised into four modules. Weeks 1 and 2 introduce existential thought and its political aspects. Weeks 3 and 4 consider existentialism and gender. Weeks 5, 6, and 7 consider existentialism and decolonisation. Weeks 8 and 9 consider existentialism and radical politics. A reading list is provided.

19 April  – Introduction – The Existential and the Political

This session introduces the themes we will be exploring in the series. What do we mean by ‘the existential’ and ‘the political’? What is the relationship between the two?

26 April – Introduction – The Existential and the Political: Jean-Paul Sartre

This session looks at key ideas put forward by Jean-Paul Sartre as a starting point to consider existential thought.

17 May  – The Existential and Gender: Simone de Beauvoir

This session considers the key ideas put forward by Simone de Beauvoir. We focus on The Second Sex (1949), Beauvoir’s seminal text examining the role of women in society.

24 May – The Existential and Gender: after Simone de Beauvoir

This session considers the impact of Simone de Beauvoir and her text The Second Sex on the development of modern feminist thought and concepts of gender.

31 May – The Existential and Decolonisation: Frantz Fanon21 June – The Existential and Decolonisation: Frantz Fanon

This session looks at key ideas in the anti-colonial, anti-racist text Black Skin, White Masks by Frantz Fanon (1952).This session looks at key ideas in the anti-colonial, anti-racist text Black Skin, White Masks by Frantz Fanon (1952).Week 6 – The Existential and Decolonisation: Frantz Fanon.

21 June – The Existential and Decolonisations: Frantz Fanon

This session looks at key ideas in The Wretched of the Earth by Frantz Fanon (1961), which emphasises the practical dimension of anti-colonial social movements.  Guest presentation from Lewi Monday, PhD candidate at Teesside University.

28 June – The Existential and Decolonisation: Frantz Fanon – film screening tbc

5  July– The Existential and the Democratic: Jacques Rancière

This sessions explores Jacques Rancière’s notion of democracy as inherently anarchic, and the difference he sees between organised politics and true democracy.

12 July – The Existential and the Revolutionary: Alain Badiou

This session explores Alain Badiou’s concept of philosophy as a tool to achieve radical political change.

Our themes will be confirmed shortly, we take a short break in August and continue on:

27 September

4 October

25 October

1 November

8 November

15 November

22 November

29 November

6 December

13 December

 

 


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