Stepping outside the self : criticism and change
Department of Cultural Studies, Lingnan University; Kwan Fong Cultural Research and Development Programme, Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences, Lingnan University
Lingnan University KFCRD Cultural Studies Seminar & Cultural Magazine, 2005-06
5:30 p.m. -- 7:00 p.m.
GE101, 1/F, B.Y. Lam Building, Lingnan University
The invocation of platitudes as war cries in the pursuit of reform is not simply an exercise in revitalizing old truths. Rather, it often betrays the anxieties of self-preservation in the face of the force of crisis. The buzzing of educational reform in Hong Kong is a case in point. “Life-long learning” and “learning how to learn” are certainly old truths about making the effort to become a better person. However, the force of crisis that reminds us that we have forgotten about them does not necessarily mean that they are old truths about transforming oneself. Rather, they can be a sign of our fear of losing the ground the “self” once occupied, the fear that we are falling behind the times, that our selves are at stake. That is, the experience of the force of crisis in this case does not bring about a fundamental critique of the times that constitute the selves peculiar to it.
Through her involvement in the movement of people’s initiatives in rural reconstruction in China, Dr Lau Kin Chi seeks to raise a more fundamental critique demanded by the force of crisis. Rural reconstruction in the 1920s in China was a response to the crisis China was then facing. It is thus always about the making of a new people for the actualization of autonomy. Notwithstanding the celebration of the so-called success of China’s reform, China continues to be a crisis-ridden country: crisis of the society, crisis of the self, and crisis of the environment. In fact, the three areas are so intertwined in everyday life that it calls for no less a critique than a fundamental critique of our times. As a movement in the making of a new people, the rural reconstruction movement is certainly a pedagogical movement. This presentation will focus on the opening of spaces for such a pedagogical movement through a critique of modern education and development and the modern self peculiar to the times they constitute.
Lau, K. C. (2006, April 24). Stepping outside the self: Criticism and change [Video podcast].