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ERIC Number: EJ864320
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 12
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0160-7561
Images, Dialogue, and Aesthetic Education: Arendt's Response to the Little Rock Crisis
Pickett, Adrienne
Philosophical Studies in Education, v40 p188-199 2009
On September 4, 1957, a crisis occurred at Little Rock Central High School in which a mob of white citizens followed, taunted, and harassed a black student, Elizabeth Eckford, who was attempting to register for classes at the newly desegregated school. In 1959, Hannah Arendt published "Reflections on Little Rock." She argued that children should not be placed on the front lines of political battles. Throughout her essay, Arendt referenced Will Counts's photographs, acknowledging the role these played in shaping her argument. She was particularly disturbed by images of Hazel Bryan, who, with a contorted face, angrily shouted obscenities at Eckford. While Arendt encountered much criticism for her controversial assessments and subsequently defended her point of view, after her exchange with Ralph Ellison, she became sympathetic to a perspective different from her own. As a result, she refined her judgment and came to recognize the perspectives of children and the possible goods gained from undergoing this kind of painful initiation into adulthood. In this paper, the author examines how the dialogical exchange between people over the subject matter of images can exemplify an important goal of aesthetic education: critical thinking. While Harry Broudy's theory of aesthetic education stresses the importance for individuals to exhibit refined aesthetic rather than raw visceral responses to images, the author argues that visceral responses, rooted in personal experiences and critical reflection, can have educational value during dialogue, namely that one can become aware of and articulate to others highly personalized meanings of artworks, as Maxine Greene has argued. This process can enable participants through dialogue to acquire what Arendt, after Immanuel Kant, has called enlarged thinking by "visiting" different standpoints. The author argues, then, that Arendt's response to Counts's images, which she terms visceral, and the dialogue Arendt participated in with Ellison, fits the goals of aesthetic education that Greene has discussed. (Contains 42 notes.)
Ohio Valley Philosophy of Education Society. Web site:
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Arkansas