Invitation to seminar 23 January: “Medieval Sickness and Modern Education”


AGORA for the study of social justice and equality in education -Research Centre, Society, Culture and Education (SEDUCE) Doctoral Program and Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Helsinki invite you a seminar by Dr. Ansgar Allen, University of Sheffield.

Time and place: Thursday 23 January, 14:15-16:00, Siltavuorenpenger 3A, Athena, room 261

Medieval Sickness and Modern Education

“In this seminar I will outline a new project investigating links between education and sickness. This project will contrast medieval Christian conceptions of sickness as education with modern conceptions of education and health. In the medieval context sickness provided opportunities to learn about the fallen condition of humanity. It performed a positive role in the education of the individual as a form of divine intervention and tutelage. In the modern context, sickness loses its educative function. As the forces of secular education are allied with the promotion of health, sickness becomes something education must combat. Sickness is only allowed to perform an educative function as a negative force, or example, against which the forces of education are stacked.

This seminar argues that sickness still performs an important, if disavowed, function in modern education. Given that educational critique is blindsided by its commitment to educational health, other forms of analysis are required. Through a reading of the work of Friedrich Nietzsche and Maurice Blanchot, this seminar will consider how alternative modes of analysis might function, and how educational critique might be transformed, drawing from genealogy, literary theory and experiments in post-critical analysis.”

 Discussant: Johanna Sitomaniemi-San, University of Oulu


The seminar is open to all interested scholars but due to the available space, we kindly ask you to secure your place by registering online. Space will be filled in order people sign up.


Ansgar Allen works at the intersections of education, philosophy and literary theory. He is the author of several books including Cynicism (MIT forthcoming), and co-edits Risking Education, an imprint of Punctum Books. He is based in the University of Sheffield, UK.


Johanna Sitomaniemi-San engages genealogically oriented forms of inquiry at the intersections of education, history, and geography. Her work examines the national, moral and colonial order of things in cultural-educational practices.