Discuss ”An Intellectual Adventure: the Academy as a Place of Stupification” at next Ethics Table brown bag lunch

The next meeting of the Ethics Table brown bag lunches will focus on the first chapter of The Ignorant Schoolmaster, which is titled “An Intellectual Adventure.” Download “An Intellectual Adventure” as a PDF for advance reading.

The chapter tells the story of Joseph Jacotot, who, in the early 19th-century University of Louvain, realized he did not need any prior knowledge to teach a class. He postulated that there are no necessary grounds for the conventional practice of having teachers receive credentials.

On the contrary, he believed, the credentialing of teachers reinforces a power dynamic in which those in the academy claim to know while those not in the academy, or studying in it, are made stupid. In other words, the way the academy credentials knowledge and invests teachers with authority is part of a project of inequalitarian stupification: a giant “you-can’t-think” to those who are not themselves credentialed.

This argument will be discussed in detail during the Ethics Table meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 8, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Cleveland Room of Thwing Center.