Monday, May 27, 2013

The Road to Marcuse

Education has always been something I hold dear. After a long hiatus from higher education, I've returned to find myself more passionate than ever before about obtaining and spreading knowledge through creative expression and many mediums of communication. However, I am lacking the formal credentials that have become requisite of my generation - a B.A. or M.A. from an institution of higher education. I am well on my way, but it will be some time before I am validated in that sense. So the question I ask is "how do I present my qualifications?"
In my extracurricular studies concerning philosophy, I find myself wrapping my brain around the work of Herbert Marcuse. While having a discussion with a colleague of mine, I was informed of the International Herbert Marcuse Society. Since the early 21st century, the Society has been holding biennial conferences with this year's conference in Louisville, KY. This year's theme:

"Emancipation, New Sensibility, and the Challenge of a New Era: Theory, Practice, and Pedagogy".

I first stumbled upon Herbert Marcuse while watching the BBC documentary Century of the Self years ago, which I highly recommend viewing. His work from the ‘50s and ‘60s was reaching the states around the time of the Civil Rights movement and Student Organizations. Even Angela Davis studied with Marcuse in Europe during this time period. After re-discovering Marcuse earlier this year, I find myself making a connection with Repressive Tolerance, One-Dimensional Man, and other works. Fortunately, much of his work and critique is available on the web.

To be considered for panel presentation at the conference, you must submit the abstract of your paper by June 1st. The Society will review then the actual paper/presentation is due by June 15th. I've come to a stopping point in my abstract because I realize that I do not have the evidence or research to complete a paper to be submitted by the deadline. My vision for the research paper I plan to compile will take the latter half of the year to complete.

It is my intention to address the dynamics of the classroom in institutions of formal education - the problems, benefits, objectives, nature of the curriculum, etc. Then to present "historical alternatives"(Marcuse), or possibilities for true learning to be achieved in a formal setting.
I will conduct interviews among teachers and professors in public, private, and parochial institutions. I will study statistics, reports, and other information concerning school districts in San Antonio and Texas. To counter this information I plan to conduct interviews and research among educators at non-profit, arts, cultural, and community organizations.

I hope to have this research paper complete by this time next year. While I will miss out on the Conference this year, I'll have my topic ready to go by 2015. I'm eager to further my studies of the philosophy of social and critical theory of Herbert Marcuse.

Though Essay on Liberation was published in 1969, it should be considered to be as pertinent as if it were published in 2013; the same way that socially charged music of the civil rights era remains impactful. Much of the socio-economic issues remain prevalent in today's world - impoverished communities throughout major cities, unequal allocation of public funding, maintaining a "peaceful" society by the constant threat of war, etc. I highly recommend picking up any work by Marcuse to engage in a critical understanding of a post-modern, highly industrialized society that we live in this day and age.

So until the next conference, I'll remain diligent in my work on the road to Marcuse..