Non-Western Educational Philosophy

UPDATE: This PhD course was offered entirely online in late May and June 2020. It was a great success, with very positive evaluations and strong student projects that will likely lead to publications. The course will be offered again two years later, in 2022. Please plan to join us! 

In late May 2020, we will offer a new PhD course in Bergen entitled Non-Western Educational Philosophy and Policy. This intensive interdisciplinary course is situated within our PhD program in Bildung and Pedagogical Practices (European educational philosophy), but it is also open to doctoral students from other universities for ECTS (European) credits.

Below is the course description and a link for additional information.

This course enables educational theories and practices in contemporary Europe to be more deeply understood in relation to non-Western educational philosophies and policies. The focus of the course is on exploring intellectual traditions and sociocultural practices that shape school education outside of Europe, in the continents of Asia, Africa, Oceania, and the Americas. It offers a survey of non-European philosophical writings on education, including such major historical theorists as Confucius, Ibn Khaldun, al-Farabi, Ibn Sina, Ibn Rushd, Ghandi, Zera Yacob, Tagore, Fanon, Nishida, Said, and Freire, as well as intercultural observations of notable contemporary educational and social theorists: Michael Peters, Martha Nussbaum, Nuraan Davids, Yusef Waghid, Carl Mika, Amartya Sen, Seyla Benhabib, Timothy Reagan, Linda Tuhiwai Smith, Joel Spring, Nicholas Burbules, Carlos Alberto Torres, Fred Dervin, Mark Halstead, and David Killick. The course will especially emphasize discussion of East Asian schools, due to both the distinctive philosophies and recent economic and educational achievements in China and Japan. Students will also explore the implications of non-western philosophical traditions for their particular school subject areas of specialization (e.g. arts education, social studies, citizenship education, physical education, etc.).

As discussions linked below demonstrate, at many institutions there has been some debate surrounding the movement to “decolonize the curriculum”, but in my view the most valid argument for offering a course on these thinkers is that it enables us to better understand intellectual heritage from many parts of the world, and to better learn from each other. The course does not "replace" anything, but it certainly contributes to a more complete higher education, and stimulates us to rethink basic assumptions concerning the nature, value, and implementation of educational systems.  

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