Building Education for the Commons
GCAS is honored that Dr. Julie Reshe has joined our faculty. Here is our interview with her.
Julie Reshe is a Postdoctorate researcher at the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts. Drawing from philosophy, psychoanalysis, neuroscience and art, her multi-disciplinary approach is focused on issues of cultural posthumanism. Articulating the non-human, the trans-subjective and the modifiable, her critique disputes traditional ways of life. Her research interests include evolution of language and culture, education, childhood studies, gender and sexuality. Julie publishes regularly in both mainstream magazines and refereed academic journals. She holds an M.A. degree in Philosophy from the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv. Julie also studied cultural theory in National University of Kiev-Mohyla Academy. She received her Ph.D. in Philosophy and Psychoanalysis in Slovenia, where she studied under the supervision of Alenka Zupančič in Scientific Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts.
Q: Julie, GCAS is very honored to have you on our faculty. Can you introduce yourself to our community? (where are you from, where did you do your PhD work etc.)
It is difficult to define me within an “introduction”. My biggest passion is to start everything all over again: to nullify my thoughts, to reset my way of thinking, to change the country where I live, to find new sources of inspiration. Those resets are the condition of my life’s unfoldings, my inner desires, which haunt me do not give me peace. As a result, for example, when it comes to defining oneself in relation to a country, a nation-state and so forth, it is impossible to answer the question, “What country am I from?” Owing to living a somewhat nomadic life, I have lost my origins thus, the question of “origin” for me has been lost. I was born in Ukraine, but then I have lived in Russia, in Poland, in the UK, in Slovenia and in Cyprus, and I don’t know where life will take me in the future, it is an open question.
All my relocations in an adult age were in one way or another connected with my love for philosophy. For example, I moved to Slovenia and I learned Slovenian in order to prepare my doctoral dissertation under the supervision of Alenka Zupančič because I fell in love with her philosophy. So, you can say that my passion for thinking, for philosophical reflection has moved me quite literally around the world.
Q: What is your research focused on?
I suppose you can call my research centered around a posthumanist focus. I see my task as rethinking the common concept of human and the core values that constitute it. In this sense, I am also Nietzschean.
Once something is taken for granted it is no longer open for dispute. This is definitely true about today’s conception of the human and humanity. We have no doubts that we need to be human, and the usual question is, what does it mean to be human? But I question the unquestionable: do we really need to stay human?
Q: I understand you’ll be teaching a course for us starting in March. Can you tell us a bit about this?
I will teach a course entitled “Perverting the concept of Child”. Children are a part of everyday reality, the reality which is taken for granted, and not often called into question. Moreover, common sense forbids us to doubt whether we have a correct understanding of it. After all, we are adults and we are the ones who have to raise children, not to doubt what children are, their habits, their place in society and so on. We think that if call into question the self-evident we show our immaturity.
I think that philosophy begins with a rethinking of everyday life, with questioning that which seems so perfectly obvious and normal in our lives. In this course, we will doubt the obvious, starting with the “child”. We will investigate the history of the modern concept of child and trace out the different and even conflicting ways in which a child is constructed within the symbolic order of things. For example, it hasn’t always been associated with innocence, which is now considered its core characteristic. For our purposes we will adapt the methodology of Foucault and Deleuze, who called to mercilessly pervert the obvious.
Q: What are your current research plans?
The evolution of language and its reproduction in education are two areas closely connected with my investigation of the concept of child.
Child is by definition the one who has to be educated. From this definition of child derives our understanding of education as an imposition of knowledge and norms. I criticize such understanding of education. In my view, education is only possible as self-education.
Children are hosts for language. To be passed from generation to generation, the language must be easily learned by children, so it has to adapt to their learning capabilities. In its turn, the brain of the child develops through acquiring language. Relationship between the child and the language is a relationship of mutual development.
I also plan to deepen my knowledge of neuroscience, which will allow me to join Catherine Malabou’s line of research. More precisely, I would like to explore the phenomenon of neuroplasticity (the ability of the brain to learn and adapt).