So in a week I will be in Oxford, England with 15 students and my co-instructor to continue our spring class on the history of Oxford and the concept of place. My co-leader is an accomplished historian so I will defer to him when it comes to the nuances of history, although I know a tad about it, having spent the last 6 months reading along with the students about the history of Oxford University and its presence in England and the British world view.
My small contribution has been to invite students, along with myself, to consider the nature of place and how it affects our sense of self, community, and world. Philosophers have always had an interest in place, even when they try to adopt a universal viewpoint. Phenomenologists in particular are intrigued by how our perceptions shape our ideas and those ideas consequently affect our perceptions: an ouroboros of a conundrum. A geographer, Tim Cresswell, has been our guide but I am hoping that on site we will adventure into our own reflections using Oxford as our canvas for place.
I hope to continue a series of these posts, sharing our experiences throughout our three weeks and our reflections on the ways in which Oxford, education, class, nature, nurture, and above all space (natural and architectural) shapes the ways in which we parse our world and our selves. We wll also be sharing the experience of transferring place: from the familiar, traveling to the new and unknown.
My plan: each day I will choose a comment by one of the students or my colleague to muse over, accompanying it with an image to provoke response. Let’s see how this goes!