On Tuesday, February 25, at 18.00 anthropologist Irena Kašparová will give a public talk titled Life without school: Homeschooling in the context of the Czech Republic and Central Europe. The event will take place in the Baltic Research Centre for East Asian Studies (ASIARES) Reading Room (Level M), National Library of Latvia. Event language: English. Free admission.
The lecture introduces the phenomenon of homeschooling – from its brief history in the middle ages to its resuscitation after the fall of the iron curtain in the last decade of the last millennium. Education and learning are tightly connected to the idea of the "educated person", who is a cultural, ideological and time-dependent variable, quite like our understanding of the concept of the "child". The way we see what constitutes a child influences our selection of methods for bringing up the educated person. Homeschooling challenges the vision of universal childhood, much promoted by both capitalistic and communist ideologies. Yet, research shows how pervasive these beliefs are and how they exist in our thinking even today, despite the official promotion of individuality and inclusion in the education policies of the EU. The lecture explores dimensions of childhood in European thought and connects them to the current notion of homeschooling in Central Europe, with a focus on the Czech Republic. The lecture shows its nuances and niches, as well as fears it brings out and mirrors within the public and political debate, challenging the "natural" in any culturally and ideologically dependent notion of childhood upbringing.
Irena Kašparová, PhD, is the current head of Social Anthropology at Faculty of Social Studies, Masaryk University Brno. She has studied Social Anthropology with Development at the University of Edinburgh and Sociology at Masaryk University Brno. She has lived and carried out longitudinal research among the Roma- Gypsies of Slovakia and the Burghers of Sri Lanka. Her current interest resides in the anthropology of childhood and education, as well as sensory anthropology and the anthropology of art. Within the context of the Czech Republic and Central Europe, she has conducted research and published on homeschooling and socialist childhood. She has four children and likes movement, adventure and most of all – people.
The event takes place in the "Narrating the Human" series and is co-organized by the Latvian Association of Anthropologists, the National Library of Latvia, and the University of Latvia.