Annunciation and denunciation: relational psychoanalysis, liberation theology and the spirit of transformation

with Professor Emeritus Linden West

Tuesday 14th November 2023 

 6.30-8.00pm (UK time) via Zoom

A story                                                                                           

I want to tell a story about learning, dialogue, and the language we use; about mutual self/other recognition and transformative processes; and of the spiritual, even of the transcendental in imminence in the bleakest places. I draw on depth psychology, critical theory, educational and theological perspectives and consider whether these might, in the right spirit, complement rather than contradict each other. We may need, I suggest, both/and rather than the more usual either/or distinctions in our quest to chronicle and interpret complex, transformational, sometimes illusive experience. My story concerns a fleeting encounter between a Jewish Israeli male educator, who served in an elite counter-insurgency unit in the Israeli Defence Force (IDF), and a Palestinian Christian woman educator whose family experienced ethnic cleansing and profound loss at the hands of the Israeli military. The man (both names are pseudonyms) we call Elie and the woman Hannah: her story, for ethical reasons, combines material from a number of women we worked with in a particular project and who we interviewed, auto/biographically. Elie’s story is edited too. Hannah and Elie came to Canterbury as part of a European Union funded project, and we also met and worked with them a number of other times in Israel and elsewhere. Both stories exist in the border lands between historical and narrative truth, between what was said and what could be imagined. For more information about the talk, please click here  

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Dr Linden West is Professor Emeritus of Canterbury Christ Church University, and a celebrated researcher and writer.  A Fellow of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufacture and Commerce (RSA), Linden has worked in a number of British Universities as well as being Visiting Professor at the University of Milano-Bicocca, the Université de Paris Nanterre, and Michigan State. He is an historian of popular and workers’ education while his main contemporary interest has lain in the application of auto/biographical and narrative enquiry, and interdisciplinary psychosocial and spiritual perspectives, to diverse educational, social, cultural, political and psychological phenomena.  He is a psychoanalytic psychotherapist and brings insights from clinical work and training into understanding learning, popular education and what we might call transformative and transcendental experience. 

Linden co-coordinated the European Society for Research on the Education of Adults’ (ESREA) Life History and Biography Network as well as the Network devoted to transformative processes in learning and education over many years. He is an Emeritus Steward of the International Transformative Learning Association, an Editorial Adviser to the Journal of Transformative Education. His book, written with Laura Formenti, Transforming perspectives in lifelong learning and adult education, a dialogue won the prestigious Cyril O. Houle international prize for outstanding literature in adult education. In 2020 Linden was inducted into the International Adult and Continuing Education Hall of Fame, at the University of Oklahoma. Linden has written and or edited many books and is published in diverse academic and popular journals. His work is translated into French, Polish, Italian, Spanish, Chinese and Korean. 

In preparing for the seminar, or afterwards, perhaps, colleagues might like to read and or listen to:  

West L (2023). Psychoanalysis and Politics, a troubling relationship. Talk to the International Politics and Psychoanalysis Association. March. This includes a section on the Palestinian/Jewish conflict.

West, L (2021).  Annunciation and denunciation in Paulo Freire’s dialogical popular education. In Australian Journal of Adult Learning, 61. 3. November, 421-441.

Bainbridge A and West L (2021). A key? Conflict and the struggle for an ecology of dialogue, learning and peace among Israeli Jewish and Palestinian educators. In A. Bainbridge, L. Formenti and L. West (Eds). Discourses, dialogue and diversity in Biographical research, Brill Sense, 121-142.

Formenti and West (2018) Transforming perspectives in lifelong learning and adult education: a dialogue. Palgrave MacMillan.



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