“The Teacher and the World: A Study of Cosmopolitanism as Education” Philosophy and Education Professor David Hansen’s Book Debuts ☆

A chance for students to experience a variety of perspectives that will help them examine philosophical questions and concepts, the Colloquium in Philosophy and Education meets about seven times each semester and welcomes notable scholars in the field from around the world to share their own point of view.  November 17th’s session was a particularly special one:  it marked the launch of “The Teacher and the World: A Study of Cosmopolitanism as Education,” Professor David Hansen’s ninth published book to date, and the first time he had addressed his students in this format since his inaugural Colloquium (on September 13, 2001, fatefully). “It had been ten years, and it was very dramatic,” Hansen explains.  “It was great to be able to share this project with the students, and as the author, the event itself was delightful.”

Conceived and written for his fellow teachers, Hansen’s book strives to address both the challenges and opportunities presented by a globalized world.  “I’m trying to generate a philosophy of education that can help us hold true to the deep values of educating in changing situations,” he explains, noting that the ancient concept of cosmopolitanism resonates today.  Hansen aims to provide teachers across the whole system with “ideas about cultivating a philosophy of education that can help them do their work and hold true to their values in the face of all the pressures of globalization which bear down hard on teachers everywhere.”  He observes it a “fantastic phenomenon,” the way mankind has been reduced to human capital and how globalization “emphasizes economic life over the rest of human life” with a premium on production.  Hansen’s appeal is help students (and teachers) learn to deal with changes creatively and responsively rather than in a reactive way, and “to make the world today a place of learning; Make your life an educational life.”

A week prior to the book launch, Hansen hosted a private session with his students where they had their own “inside-the-community” conversation.  While they did talk about the writing and publishing process, most of the questions were “in good philosophy fashion,” as Hansen describes it, challenging the concepts presented in his book.  “How do we actually live this way, and how do you support it in the face of other critical views?”  and, “What does it mean to be both open and loyal?” were two vigorous lines of inquiry.

The book launch Colloquium welcomed four area scholars, including two program alumnus, chair and commentator Winston Thompson (New York University,
who focuses on  justice in access to higher education) and Shaireen Rasheed (Long Island University, who studies the educational experiences of Arab girls and women in the Islamic world and the U.S.).  Eduardo Duarte (Hofstra University, who works on notions of identity) and Rene V. Arcilla (New York University, who studies existentialist philosophy) rounded out the roster of Philosophy of Education guest scholars.  “It was as diverse as can be and they all did a great job raising really distinctive, important questions about the book and the project it represented,” Hansen enthused.

This Colloquium ended, as most do, with an informal supper at Ajanta, a neighborhood Indian restaurant where students and Colloquium guests convene in an environment so easy that favorite dishes appear without the pretense of menus.  Students have the opportunity to mingle with both visiting scholars and with each other, and on this particular night, glasses were raised for Professor David Hansen.

To read more about the Colloquium in Philosophy and Education, click here.