EDST Doctoral Colloquium: Cognitive Violence in Pedagogy: A Philosophical Approach



Date and Time:
Thursday, January 11th, 2024 at 12 pm.

GSS Loft at the top floor of the Nest Building (GSS Loft – Graduate Student Society | UBC Vancouver)
Room 4202 – 6133 University Blvd, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1

Silas Krabbe

Cognitive Violence in Pedagogy: A Philosophical Approach


A student is trying to learn, and a teacher is attempting to teach. They both enter the educational moment and pedagogical relation with good intentions. No one screams, no one is hit, nothing untoward seemingly occurs. The student leaves the interaction feeling dumb, demeaned, and diminished. What occurred? Can such an experience be named an occasion of cognitive violence?

This project began with a hunch. It was an intuition that the type of experiences I am attempting to understand occur frequently in educational settings and like the silt that is constitutive of sedimentary rock their deposit in the person begins to form a hardened resistance to educational possibilities. As the number of these experiences grows, I mused, other negative health and social implications were likely to follow. At least this is a part of what I came to surmise from working in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside for a decade.

The trajectory of my dissertation is not to argue for my entire hunch, it is merely an attempt to describe and understand those experiences that I want to name as cognitive violence in pedagogy. I take up the topic by way of philosophy of education, and through an approach of multicentric and iterative exposition. The centers of knowledge that are engaged to develop the concept of “cognitive violence” are: political theology in the vein of Black Theology, phenomenological accounts of violence, encounter in pedagogical theory, communal epistemic violence in literatures relating to colonialism, and the prospect of non-violence in political education. Throughout I highlight the gordian knots I am attempting to address in each center of knowledge and lay out the argumentation I intend to develop.