The joy of learning: Feminist materialist pedagogies and the freedom of education

Maria Tamboukou
Vol 39, Number 1, p.70
In this article, I trace lines of materialist pedagogies in the history of women workers’ education following feminist interpretations of Spinoza’s assemblage of joyful affects. More particularly, I focus on the notions of laetitia [joy], gaudium [gladness] and hilaritas [cheerfulness] as entanglements of joy and trace their expression in practices and discourses inscribed in archival documents that I have reassembled around the theme of women workers’ education. My reading of Ethics follows a range of feminist thinkers that have engaged with Spinoza’s ‘ethics of joy’ in education and beyond. The article draws on extensive archival work with personal auto/biographical documents and public essays of women workers/educators/writers in Paris and New York that span the period between 1830 and 1950. What I argue is that it is the experience of creative and radical education that has created a platform for workers to re-imagine themselves in the world with others.