Crossroads Cultural Center presents:

Samuel Rocha on Education, Jazz, and the Human Person

Monday, November 21, 2016

Black Box Theater

What's Love Got to Do With It? An evening of Music and Conversation with Artist and Philosopher Samuel Rocha.
In an age of what Samuel Rocha has called "preposterous epistemological certainties and psychometrics for accountable learning," teachers and students are required to endlessly document and account for their learning, spending days if not weeks throughout the year taking and administering standardized tests, and submitting reams of paperwork to prove their academic achievements. And yet throughout this effort we often fail to ask the fundamental, "ontological" question: what, in fact, is education? Is it something that can be adequately accounted for, measured, or otherwise constrained - even by the most extensive rubrics and learning outcomes? What is at stake when we forget to ask this question?

Rocha states in his recent book, Folk Phenomenology: Education, Study and the Human Person, "the purpose of this study is to advocate re-enchantment: to re-enchant education with mystery." He recalls us to the mysterious reality of the human person at the core of any educational endeavour, who endlessly exceeds the algorithms and other descriptive systems we build. How can we adequately respond to such a phenomenon? Furthermore, he describes the process by which the human person takes part in education - "study" - which, like jazz, depends by definition on unpredictability, improvisation, and freedom to explore in order to take place. Of course, letting go of our impulse to determine at the outset the process and results of education, and inviting in the unexpected, the surprising, and the new, involves an inherent risk. Can we accept the risk of embracing the mystery of education? What might happen if we do?

In this "face-to-face" event, Rocha will discuss these questions and more with Rose Tomassi, PhD candidate in English at the CUNY Graduate Center, integrating performances of pieces from his January 2016 album Fear and Loving into the discussion. He will also take questions from the audience, and have books and other merchandise available for purchase.

Samuel Rocha is assistant professor of philosophy of education at the University of British Columbia, where he is a member of the Green College Common Room and pastoral philosopher in residence at St. Mark’s College. He is also editor of Patheos Catholic. He has written several books and recorded several albums. You can find more information at his website: