“While at Quest, I have gone from a science geek to a philosophy nerd to an education enthusiast.”

-Jesse Genereux ‘20

Becoming a Quest Summer Fellow is a big deal! Tell us how it works. 

I submitted a proposal that identified a gap in the academic literature in my area and created a schedule of how I would use my time during the fellowship. I also required a faculty supervisor, who could speak to my capability as a researcher and oversee my project. An additional faculty member was needed as a supporting reference. After accepting the offer, all that was left was to undertake the project and complete the deliverables! 

Tough question: can you sum up your talk for us in a few sentences? 

There is a gap in the educational theory, which attempts to interpret philosopher Emmanuel Levinas’s work. This gap centres around the generation of ethical people. 

In my project, I began to investigate the questions around this gap. The gap remains, and if we read Derrida (another philosopher) alongside Levinas, the gap becomes more complex and potent concerning decolonization and other central movements today. 

How did you first become involved in this work? 

I first became involved in this work when I was exposed to Levinas’s ideas in a Foundation Humanities course, a Scholarship course on ethics with Dr. Jeff Warren. Jeff became my mentor, and over the next year, I became more and more familiar with the history of philosophy in general and Levinas specifically. I took a Concentration philosophy course with Jeff where I read my first book-length study of Levinas and education. I knew then that this area was for me. Complex systems in nature drew me in from a young age. At Quest, I’ve found more and more complex problems and questions in other disciplines as well. 

Any funny stories about your research? 

There was a 3-week period where I sat outside bathing in the sun while reading Levinas’s Totality and Infinity. That whole period was a blur and felt like one continuous day. Occupational hazard: whole body sunburn except for a book-shaped spot on my chest! 

What’s next for you?

Hopefully a publishable Keystone project! After that, I hope to acquire a Master of Arts in Education followed by a Doctorate of some sort. Long term plans are to influence educational programming at the provincial or international level. I have entertained the idea of coming back and teaching at Quest. 

What’s your favourite thing about Quest? 

The freedom I’ve had to explore my Question. 

I have genuinely enjoyed exposure to a wide variety of disciplines and approaches to knowledge. While at Quest, I have gone from a science geek to a philosophy nerd to an education enthusiast. Being able to express different sides of my academic life has been fulfilling. 

Anything else to add? 

The Summer Fellowship program has been a springboard for a host of reasons. I feel comfortable in my abilities as a researcher, developed contacts at other universities, and have begun the 2019-2020 school year with a Keystone practically finished. I would recommend enthusiastic students to apply. I would also like to take the space here to thank Haby Ka, from the bottom of my heart, for her critical eye and insight supporting my project. 

Come and hear Jesse present his research at the Summer Fellows Research Symposium on Saturday, October 19 from 1:30-2:30pm in the Quest MPR.
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