Nov 2: The Touch of the Present – Educational Encounters, Aesthetics and the Politics of the Senses with Sharon Todd

Nov 02, 2022
  • Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2:30-4:30pm
  • Location:
    Seminar Room (307)
    Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies
    University Centre
    6331 Crescent Road, UBC

Register here

Join Dr. Sharon Todd for a public talk exploring her forthcoming volume The Touch of the Present: Educational Encounters, Aesthetics and the Politics of the Senses (SUNY Press).

Drawing on a range of theoretical positions on embodiment, the senses, education, and aesthetics, it offers a theory for conceptualizing encounters as at once sensual and educational. The book conceives of our perceptual contact with/in/of the world is a form of ‘touching’ and ‘being touched by’ that is singular in its eventfulness and yet connects us relationally with our environment. 

Dr. Todd explores, on the one hand, how encounters create conditions through which social hierarchies and processes of racialization and sexualization become lived experience and, on the other, how sensation also generates radical potential that can challenge the social arrangements through which the becoming of a subject emerges.  Encounters are in this way seen as a space and time through which one can become ‘socialized’ into a given order whilst also carrying the potential for ‘becoming’ beyond the cultural scripts we are given. In exploring this double aspect, the book keeps a constant eye on the sometimes ambivalent and undecidable dimensions of our educational practices.


Sharon Todd is Professor of Education at Maynooth University, Ireland. A former graduate of the PhD in Humanities Programme at Concordia, she has been Professor of Education at Stockholm University (2004-2014) and Associate Professor at York University in Toronto (1997-2004). She is currently engaged in the areas of aesthetics, sensibility and contemporary art practices and their connection to educational and political transformation. She is currently working on a book titled “The Touch of the Present: Education, Encounter and the Politics of the Senses” (forthcoming from SUNY Press). Previous publications include  Learning from the Other: Levinas, Psychoanalysis and Ethical Possibilities in Education (SUNY, 2003) and Toward an Imperfect Education: Facing Humanity, Rethinking Cosmopolitanism (Paradigm, 2009), the co-edited volumes Re-imagining Educational Relationships: Ethics, Politics, Practices with M. Griffiths, M. Honerod and C. Winter (Wiley, 2014) and Philosophy East/West: Exploring the Intersections between Educational and Contemplative Practices with O. Ergas (Wiley, 2015). She is currently President of the International Network of Philosophers of Education.

This event is co-sponsored by PWIAS and the Department of Educational Studies, UBC.