Pedagogy as “Cryptic Politics”: Benjamin, Nietzsche, and the End of Education

Charles, M. 2018. Pedagogy as “Cryptic Politics”: Benjamin, Nietzsche, and the End of Education. boundary 2: an international journal of literature and culture . 45 (2), pp. 35-62.

TitlePedagogy as “Cryptic Politics”: Benjamin, Nietzsche, and the End of Education
AuthorsCharles, M.
Abstract

T. J. Clark has described Walter Benjamin’s Arcades Project as containing a politics that is “cryptic,” as if “being actively aired and developed elsewhere.” This article seeks to uncover this uncover the buried foundations of such a politics in Benjamin’s early writings on pedagogy and to identify their cryptic nature with his traumatic break from Gustav Wyneken and the tragic failures of the Youth movement. This involves, on the one hand, an inversion of his early Nietzschean influences into a political anti-Nietzscheanism, one that this article explores through the figures of freedom, character and happiness. On the other, it involves a re-evaluation of his early understanding of education, in terms of the solitude of the learner and the silence of the school, to one that emphasises the function of the teacher as the intergenerational mediator who makes teachings transmissible. Noting the generalization of this understanding of education as a technological mediation between collective humanity and nature, it concludes by returning to the specific question of Benjamin’s anti-Nietzschean politics of education.

KeywordsWalter Benjamin
Friedrich Nietzsche
T. J. Clarke
Education
Pedagogy
Destruction
Character
Journalboundary 2: an international journal of literature and culture
Journal citation45 (2), pp. 35-62
ISSN0190-3659
Year2018
PublisherDuke University Press
Accepted author manuscriptPedagogy as Cryptic Politics. Benjamin%2c Nietzsche and the End of Education (Charles%2c b2 - final version edited HE and MC) (1).pdf
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1215/01903659-4381008
Publication dates
Published01 May 2018

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