IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


Emerson's ‘Self‐Reliance’ and political self‐education

02 November 2022, 5:30 pm–7:00 pm

Philosophy library with statues. Image: Giammarco Boscaro on Unsplash

Join this event to hear Léa Boman discuss her doctoral research thesis.

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







Yuxin Su

Join our virtual seminar

This event will run on Zoom. Please contact the event organiser yuxin.su.16@ucl.ac.uk for the joining link.

In the light of Emerson's ‘Self‐Reliance’, Léa's paper explores a perfectionist interpretation of modern forms of self‐education as political and ordinary practices – first, in relation to conspiracy theories, and second, through the explicit claim to self-education made by activists in ecological, anti‐racial or feminist organisations. 

These examples reveal a new kind of efficient and ordinary political power at the edge of civic commitment. This leads to an alternative conception of pedagogy, in which equality in self‐reliance matters. Informed by Stanley Cavell's interpretation of Emerson's essay, and crossing American and French perspectives, her discussion provides a perfectionist account of activism.

This event will be particularly useful for those interested in philosophy of education and political self-education.

PESGB seminar series

This event is part of the Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain (PESGB) seminar series. PESGB is a learned society that promotes the study, teaching and application of philosophy of education. Its London Branch hosts seminars every Wednesday in conjunction with the Centre for Philosophy of Education. These seminars are led by national and international scholars in the field, covering a wide range of issues of educational and philosophical concern.

All are welcome to attend.

Related links

About the Speaker

Léa Boman

PhD Candidate in Philosophy at Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne University

Her doctoral thesis, which is in progress, is on Emerson’s moral philosophy and his conception of subjectivity. She is a former student of the Ecole Normale Supérieure (Lyon), and Agrégée de Philosophie. Her research interests are moral perfectionism and the philosophy of the ordinary, Emerson, Cavell, democracy, education and transatlantic cultural and philosophical relations.