The 2018 annual PESA conference is set in the city of Rotorua. In Rotorua, the elemental forces of Ruaumoko are ever-present: the air sulphurous; the history and landscape shaped by eruptions; the land constantly shifting, bubbling, and burning. In recognition of these forces that constitute Rotorua, the PESA conference theme invites participants to explore the provocations inherent in the natural world, and the creativity of human responses to the world, in attending to the past, present and future of the philosophy of education.
In this geothermal city we are reminded of the familiar words of the weird sisters. The witches in Shakespeare’s Macbeth provide this conference theme with a literary invitation that turns to provocations of prophesises and spectres. The sisters greet Macbeth with the prophecy that he shall be king. While appealing, the prophecy is also unsettling. Macbeth is mesmerised and haunted by his imagined future and haunted by his memories of a blood-soaked past. While the future remains uncertain, the past is always on hand as a haunting reminder. What then are the spectres that haunt education? How does the philosophy of education respond to, for instance, the Spectres of Marx? Derrida’s hauntology invites many fields of investigation, from the visual arts to philosophy to politics, fiction and literary criticism. These investigations invoke new ghosts, and make possible the return of something other, at some time in the future – hence in this conference we invite new, and old prophesies of the Other.
In Macbeth we are confronted with the Other in many haunting forms. For instance Shakespeare pens a range of women’s roles unusual for a 17th century, or indeed any play in the English language – not only the witches, sources of a particular kind of knowledge, both leading and misleading, but the central figure of the ambitious, complex Lady Macbeth.
In Rotorua the prophesising of the Other is evident in the city’s sociopolitical history. Rotorua is also an important site for early Māori-Pākehā interactions. Māori tourism began in Rotorua, and it is first city in the country to declare itself officially bilingual, in 2017. How does the idea of the Other haunt education? What prophesies might the philosophy of education take, and make?
PESA 2018 Conference Organisers
Dr Leon W Benade, Senior Lecturer/Director of Research, School of Education, Auckland University of Technology
Dr Nesta Devine, Professor of Philosophy of Education, School of Education, Auckland University of Technology
Dr Andrew Gibbons, Associate Professor, School of Education, Auckland University of Technology