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Ageless Childhood. A Place to Inhabit

Event Dates:
16 March 2023
Constanza Michelson
Camilo Morales
Carlos Casanova P.
Aïcha Livian Messina

Childhood has often been understood as a stage, a period or a moment which, like all time, passes and is eventually overcome. This idea, linked to progression, tends to always leave childhood behind, to see it as a burden to be overcome or an origin to be evoked. There is, however, another way of thinking about it, no longer from a temporal axis but from a spatial one, that is, as a place that is inhabited, to which one returns, from which one speaks and also thinks.
With this change of axis, the relationship with childhood is modified: it is not just something that is remembered with horror or nostalgia, but a point of view, a way of interacting with others and with the world. Childhood, then, is not the children we were, who we care for or fear, but a space that we occupy, that we leave and re-enter, each in our own way.
This talk series aims to explore this point of view, that of childhood, in order to expand our views and our relationships with the world.


Duration: Eight sessions from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., on March 16, 23 and 30, and April 6.
Venue: Zoom platform, Facebook Live of the Centro para las Humanidades and Youtube Live UDP
Contact: [email protected]
Free workshop (in Spanish)

Contents per session:

1. What is it to be a child? – 16 March
It is not enough for a human being to be born; he or she needs to be affiliated in order to be inscribed on the tree of life. In a way, every child is adopted by language; one is not a child just because one has parents. There is nothing natural about the operation of filiation, so it can always fail, and not without consequences. Of these consequences, psychoanalytic clinics and sociology give an account. The suspicion is that a series of recurrent phenomena in childhood and adolescence speak of filiation conflicts that indicate an epochal tendency.

Presented by Constanza Michelson. Psychoanalyst and writer. Psychologist UDP and master in psychoanalysis. Author of 50 Sombras de Freud, Neurotic@s, Hasta que valga la pena la pena la vivir, Una falla en la lógica del universo, co-authored with Aïcha L. Messina, Hacer la noche: dormir y despertara en un mundo que se pierde. Editor of Barbarie-pensar con otros. Podcast: El oficio de vivir.

2. Childhood and State: representations of childhood in contemporary protection policies in Chile – 23 March
The aim of this presentation is to reflect on the relationship between childhood and the state, problematising contemporary policy aimed at the care and protection of children whose rights have been violated. The recent production of new regulations and institutions in this field constitutes a potential point of reconfiguration of the approaches with which the representation of children under state guardianship has been constructed. In this context, it is worth asking what are the continuities and ruptures that occur in contemporary forms of protection, as well as reflecting on and making intelligible the rationality that underpins the discourses and practices for intervening in childhood in current public policies.

Presented by Camilo Morales. Clinical psychologist, Diego Portales University. Master in Psychoanalytic Clinic with Children and Youth, Universidad Alberto Hurtado. PhD Candidate in Social Sciences, Universidad de Chile. In the professional field, he has worked for 15 years as a psychoanalytically oriented child and youth therapist. He is an adjunct academic and coordinator of the Interdisciplinary Studies in Childhood Nucleus of the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Chile. His lines of research are the governmental analysis of public policies aimed at children and the study of processes of social participation of children and adolescents in different contexts.

3. Childhood and Hospitality. Hospitality as a topological problem – 30th March
One of the questions currently at the centre of contemporary debate concerns the distinction in the field of practical philosophy between “normative ethics” and “consequentialist ethics” on the one hand, and “ethics of care” on the other. In this paper I intend to reflect on the implications for the “ethics of care” of the fact that we are nascent creatures whose infancy is irreducible. It is a question of trying out a response to the question of care from the point of view of hospitality as a necessary condition without which life is not possible for this nascent and infant being that we are. Our argument will be built on the postulate that hospitality is above all of a topological nature, prior to any linguistic reception. In other words, being nascent creatures means being permanently referred to the hospitality of a nesting body, without which our existence could not have taken place. Therefore, every house, every welcoming space, and in this sense, every hospitality is the care in new ways of that other, “previous” place that made our being in the world possible.

Presented by Carlos Casanova P. Lecturer in the Department of Philosophy at the Universidad Metropolitana de Ciencias de la Educación (UMCE). He participates as a researcher at the International Institute for Philosophy and Social Studies (IIPSS). His main fields of research are political philosophy and modern and contemporary aesthetics, especially analysis and reflection on the relationship between imagination and politics. He is the author of the books Estética y producción en Karl Marx, published in 2016 by Editorial Metales Pesados and Comunismo de los sentidos. Una introducción a Karl Marx, published in 2017 by Editorial Catálogo-Libros.

4. Learning to speak. Childhood as a blurring of language – 6 April
Is childhood a period of life that ends with adulthood, or is childhood that which does not quite happen and therefore never ends? Is childhood in this sense a legal category or is it rather a fantasy, something we project and which, in turn, projects us? In this conference I will address these questions by thinking that infans, far from designating a deprivation of language and therefore a childhood defined as a deprivation of meaning, of law and of adulthood, designates a blurred aspect of language, a silence of language or a way in which fantasy inhabits the law, of unsettling it or enlarging its goals. From these questions, I will outline some propositions on the possibility of articulating the right of children and adolescents, thought of in legal terms, with a right to childhood, thought of in a political and literary perspective.

Presented by Aïcha Liviana Messina. Philosopher and director of the Institute of Philosophy at the Universidad Diego Portales. Her work focuses on the relationship between violence and language and on the political dimension of the critical exercise. She is the author of The Writing of Innocence. Blanchot and the Deconstruction of Christianity (SUNY, 2022), L’Anarchie de la paix (CNRS, 2018), Una falla en la lógica del universo (Metales Pesados, 2020, co-authored with Constanza Michelson), Feminismo y revolución. Crónica de una inquietud (Metales Pesados, 2020), Amour/argent (La phocide, 2011), Poser me va si bien (POL, 2005).