Ash Collins on ‘Culture Play’

Culture Play: Language Learning and Self-Cultivation (Bildung)

Join us for this week’s CuSPP Seminar

Thursday 27 February, 1pm, Milgate Room, AD Hope Bldg, SLLL

In this paper, we explore the implications that the notions of Bildung and play hold for language learning. The opposition between learning as a form of vocational training for the workplace (Ausbildung) and learning as a process of self-cultivation (Bildung) seems to be ever more deeply entrenched in the twenty-first-century university. In language learning in particular, this distinction between two competing aims influences the way in which educators approach curriculum design and inevitably shapes the attitudes learners bring to the classroom. We contest this opposition by applying Friedrich Schiller’s understanding of aesthetic education to language learning. We argue that when learning activities are envisaged as a form of non-threatening and free-flowing play, skills-based language training becomes an experience of self-cultivation in which the language learner creatively renegotiates their own identity through an encounter with both their own values and those of the target culture.

Ash Collins is a Lecturer in the French Department at the ANU. Ash’s main research project currently consists of a comparative study of Jean-Luc Nancy, Jacques Derrida and Martin Heidegger revolving around the theme of deconstruction and religion. Ash has published several articles in recent years on the work of Nancy.

Manuel Clemens obtained his PhD from Yale University and until recently was Lecturer in German at the ANU.

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