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Thursday Lecture: Karim-Yassin Goessinger - "Re-Inventing the Liberal Arts - Towards a Philosophy of Aesthetic Education"

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Thursday Lecture: Karim-Yassin Goessinger - "Re-Inventing the Liberal Arts - Towards a Philosophy of Aesthetic Education"


Liberal arts education feeds the soul and nurtures interconnectedness among academic disciplines, across cultures, across time. It is a form of education that promotes critical thinking, self-reflection, and civic responsibility rather than clear professional certifications.

Over the past decade, liberal arts colleges have disappeared in Japan, re-emerged in Europe, been founded in the global south, notably in India and Ghana, and re-invented themselves as start-up factories in the US. The US prides itself with reviving the tradition of the liberal arts originating with Plato's Academy.

However, while US-style liberal arts colleges serve as a compelling educational model for emerging market economies, I will argue that as liberal arts colleges are re-branding themselves as entrepreneurial they compromise aesthetics. I will present a philosophy of aesthetic education that - as opposed to the Enlightenment's philosophy of education - recognises Spieltrieb.

German Romantic poet, Friedrich Schiller, writes in his Letters on the Aesthetical Education of Man of a Spieltrieb, or play drive, which he defines as a way in which our sensuous and formal drives act in reciprocal combination. Only when these drives act in unison do we have complete intuition of our humanity.

Karim-Yassin Goessinger will offer an interpretation of Schiller's play drive that emphasises the role of the playground of learning, i.e. the learning environment. Finally, he will argue that the co-creation of physical learning environments paired with a pedagogy of discovery as exemplified by CILAS could serve as an alternative to neo-liberal arts education.

Karim-Yassin Goessinger co-directs the Cairo Institute of Liberal Arts and Sciences' yearlong study programme in the spirit of the liberal arts. Prior to founding CILAS in 2013, Karim studied political philosophy, social anthropology and urban theory in the Netherlands, Brazil and France. He has hosted core courses in the sciences, and thematic courses on emerging modes of urban governance and on the changing nature of public goods at CILAS. Karim is interested in social theories of space, philosophies of education, critical pedagogies, tea and language. A Dalai Lama fellow, Karim enjoys Chinese martial arts and hanging out in the park.



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