Earth, Ethics and Education

Art-Eco Project and the School of Education, University of Tampere present


Earth, Ethics and Education

Tue 8.12.2015 12-18
Virta 109 Auditorium, Åkerlundinkatu 5, Tampere

The Symposium presents a series of presentations and invites serious conversation about the intersecting social and ecological crises that we are experiencing world-wide.  We will discuss what our responsibilities as educators and community members must be if we are to interrupt ideologies, policies, and practices currently harming our communities and create a more secure future.   What are the cultural roots of poverty, racism, sexism, all forms of social violence, and ecological  degradation?  And, where are the existing possibilities, the wisdom needed to challenge these problems?

Local artists, philosophers, social theorists, educators and activists will present about these questions, and the public is invited to join the conversation.

Keynote Address by Dr. Rebecca Martusewicz, visiting Fulbright Scholar from Eastern Michigan University, USA.

This is a FREE event and open for PUBLIC! Welcome!


> Click the titles to see abstracts!

  • 12:00-12:15 Opening words by Dr. Raisa Foster (Art-Eco Project)

  • 12:15-13:15 KEYNOTE "The Bonds of Love: Earth, Ethics, Education" by Dr. Rebecca Martusewicz
    Dr. Rebecca Martusewicz

    Visiting Fulbright Professor from Eastern Michigan University, USA

    We are living in a time of severe social and ecological crises made primarily from a well-established fiction, a metaphysical paradigm and episteme that hyper-separates body and mind, human and nature, man and woman.  The result is a social, economic and ideological system that elevates self-interested individuals and enclosures of all kinds above life.  Educational reform initiatives based on these neoliberal principles deplete our communities of the possibilities for recognizing our embodied connections to the earth, and responding with relationships of mutuality and care above competition and accumulation.  The purpose of this talk is to introduce ideas from American novelist, poet, and conservationist Wendell Berry about our embeddeness in a material reality and the role of responsibility in creating healthy communities. Reading Berry’s insights about the relation between the body and the earth, and the disembodiment of thought within the development of modern industrial life, I put this work in conversation with the work of Gregory Bateson as well as eco-feminists and materialist feminists who draw similar conclusions. I ask what the purposes and definition of education ought to be in order to commit ourselves to healthy communities in a crisis-ridden global context.  What could it mean to commit ourselves to the necessary bonds of love?

  • 13:30-14.30 Panel I "Art and the Holistic View of the World"
    Dr. Raisa Foster

    Research Director, Art-Eco Project

    Poetic Moves - Moving Poetry

    The aim of my paper is to look into the possibilities of movement-based practice in order to enable human relationship with more than human world; in other words, to make possible ecological transformation as it is described in EcoJustice framework. I claim that it is necessary to better understand, how the narrow concept of human is closely connected to the questions of ecological destruction. I suggest that through multi-sensory body awareness and movement practices we can deeply understand our being in the world, because, as Merleau-Ponty says, it is after all our sensual body that ties us to the world. In order to show the connections between the holistic concept of human and ecological transformation, I will present a poem based on a project where my dance animateuring students did sensory explorations out in nature. I will show how multisensory movement practice  and the poetic inquiry can serve as a practice of making eco-philosophy. Both of these artistic practices have a great political possibility, because they evoke emotions and thereby make possible broader and deeper understanding of the world.

    Jussi Mäkelä

    researcher, Art-Eco Project

    Imagine! – A Goethean understanding of the world

    I am approaching the human/inhuman relationship from a Goethean point of view. Looking at a famous poet and playwright in this context might seem odd at the first glance, but actually Goethe did also produce a sizable body of scientific work – what he believed would some day be recognized as his greatest contribution to mankind.

    Goethe’s way of science is unusual – and now relevant! – “because it seeks to draw together the intuitive awareness of art with the rigorous observation and thinking of science”. Today, someone might call this approach phenomenological.

    The purpose of my presentation is to ponder the connection between Goethean science, Beuysian concept of art and a phenomenological approach through art making to the human/inhuman relationship. Beuys, referring to Goethe, had a strongly holistic view of humanity, and a great deal of his oeuvre dealt with this. One significant factor in his art was something Klaus Ottman calls “spiritual materiality”: the materials used in artworks were chosen not only because of their sculptural properties but also and above all because of the spiritual meanings they bear. This will be enlightened by some sample artworks I have made during my studies.

  • 14:30-15:00 Coffee Break

  • 15:00-16:00 Panel II "Ecological Crisis, the Culture of Competition and Traumatic Knowledge"
    Jani Pulkki

    Doctoral Student, EDU University of Tampere

    How competition teaches an ontology of contrariness towards human beings and non-humans with harmful consequences

    Competition is often though as something educationally and economically fruitful without further consideration. It is seldom thought (1) what competition is, and (2) what kind of things are supposed for making competition an acceptable form of social interaction among human beings and human-non-human relations. Furthermore, this paper is asking (3) how the presuppositions of competition are reproducing the way competition is viewed, and (4) what kind of problems an ontological scrutiny of competition reveal. This paper introduces, thus, (5) an idea of ontology of contrariness, that is both produced and reproduced by fostering competitive relationships among human and non-human beings. (6) An ontology of contrariness ingrained in competitive action and thought operates in both human and human-non-human relationships in aggressive and destructive ways. This philosophical paper asks both what competition is and what presuppositions it uses to pit people against each other. This analysis is used for showing how similar phenomena behind aggressive and harmful behavior towards human beings operate also in the destruction of the earths living systems. Competition is, at least, a social, educational, ecological and eco-ethical problem.

    Dr. Antti Saari

    Post Doctoral Researcher, EDU Univeristy of Tampere

    Uncanny knowledge – traumatic experience as a challenge of teaching ecological awareness

    Despite undisputable evidence, it is painfully clear that the knowledge of the current climate change does not have a significant effect on our lifestyle. Thus at the superficial, or propositional level, we know very well that climate crisis exists, but still act as if we do not. Perhaps the knowledge of our own implication in the very lifestyle that sustains and intensifies climate crisis is too much to bear.

    In my presentation, I conceptualize this problem through psychoanalytic theory as traumatic and repressed knowledge. Traumatic experience of an ecological crisisis analyzed as an encounter with the uncanny, or the ‘Real’. The uncanny is understood as that which escapes symbolization and causes feelings of both horror and enchantment. As such it is not reducible to experiencing nature as harmonious, intelligible nor predictable. Thereby it is also beyond the grasp of mere propositional knowledge.

    Moreover, I see the existence of traumatic knowledge as a significant pedagogical challenge that demands conceptualization if we are to address broader ecological crises through education.

  • 16:15-17:15 Panel III "Challenging the Technologized Ethics by Re-thinking the Conception of Being"
    Olli-Jukka Jokisaari

    Doctoral Student, EDU University of Tampere

    Morals of Economy or Technologized Ethics

    Mario Bunge claims that technological thinking has transformed our view of what ethics is. It has changed from norm orientation to a thinking that is based on values and their realization through action.

    In my presentation, I will ponder how technology affects our very concepts of identity, humanity and nature. I argue that e.g. deep ecology is trapped in technological thinking as it develops ethics that is based on fact-value distinction. If we are to free ourselves and save the world from eco-social destruction we have to think and act ourselves outside of the technological concepts.

    Dr. Veli-Matti Värri

    Professor, EDU University of Tampere

    Eros and Its Implications to Education

    In our global situation of ecological crisis we are forced to rethink the human – non-human relation and its implications to our way of living. In fact, the basis of Western metaphysics must be re-interpreted. This project requires the critical re-understanding of our conception of Being based on the (human) consciousness and its commitments to Nature. I will use the principles of Eros and Thanatos as my conceptual tools of my presentation. These metaphysical principles, that came from the Ancient philosophy to Freud’s psycho-analytical theory, can be seen as the tensional powers of our civilization. In Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s late philosophy the holistic order of Nature prevails its own Eros, Nature’s own productivity as independent from human beings. In my presentation I will re-consider the implications of our primordial intertwining with the non-human Nature and its constitutive principle of Eros. At the level of education we have to aim at cultivating and deconstructing our possessive relation to Nature. This aim requires a fundamental cultural re-understanding of the basis of desire in human life. Desire is neither only a driving force of economy constructed by daily politics and education nor only a hedonist drive inside us. In fundamental sense of Being desire is an ontological and intersubjective force as Eros towards others and their desire.

  • 17:15-18:00 Discussion & Closing by Vesa Jaaksi

  • 18:00 > Drinks & Snacks at EDU's Cafe