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«As the 'subject' of this text, I wish to testify to its fairness and, yes, to its thoughtfulness. Because of John Baldacchino's scholarly acquaintance with traditions that might infuse and clarify the complexities of education, I think he has shed new light on provinces of meaning I have chosen to inhabit throughout my academic life.»

Maxine Greene on Baldacchino's Education Beyond Education.


JOHN DEWEY: Liberty and the Pedagogy of Disposition

This short text provides a highly engaging and beautifully written reassessment of Dewey’s work, locating it in the wider intellectual and philosophical discussions about education, politics and life. Without being apologetic, John Baldacchino gives a sympathetic reading that shows the ways in which Dewey’s work still raises important questions for education today. A refreshing contribution to Dewey scholarship.

Gert Biesta, University of Luxembourg

John Baldacchino has presented an original engagement on John Dewey’s much written about work in this short and economically written book. The freshness of the novel perspectives he creates on the political and educational writings of the great pragmatist philosopher provide challenging and, often, instructive, reading.

Kenneth Wain, University of Malta





Baldacchino, J. Galea, S. Mercieca, D. (eds.) 2014. My Teaching, My Philosophy. Kenneth Wain: A Lifelong Engagement with Education. Peter Lang.

Baldacchino, J. 2014. John Dewey. Liberty and the Pedagogy of Disposition. Springer Publishers.

Baldacchino, J. Wain K. 2013. Democracy without confession: Philosophical Conversations on the Maltese Political Imaginary. Valletta: Allied Publishers.

Baldacchino, J. & Vella R. (eds.) 2013. Mediterranean Art and Education. Navigating local, regional and global imaginaries through the lens of the arts and learning. Special Edition of the Mediterranean Journal of Education Studies. Sense Publishers.

Baldacchino, J. 2012. Art’s Way Out: Exit Pedagogy and the Cultural Condition. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.

Baldacchino, J. 2010 Makings of the Sea: Journey, Doubt and Nostalgia | On Mediterranean Aesthetics. Volume 1 (Gorgias Press, 2010). [See Online Book Talk]

Baldacchino, J. 2009. Education Beyond Education: Self and the imaginary in Maxine Greene’s philosophy (Peter Lang) (ISBN-10: 1433103567; ISBN-13: 978-1433103568) [See Online Interview]

Baldacchino, J. 2002. Avant-Nostalgia: An excuse to pause. Images by Jeremy Diggle. Unit for the Study of Philosophy in Art (USOPIA) Series, published under the auspices of the European League for the Institutes of the Arts (ELIA), Aberdeen. (ISBN 1 901 085 708).

Baldacchino, J. 1998. Easels of Utopia: Art's Fact Returned. Ashgate, Aldershot. (ISBN 1 84014 144 X).

Baldacchino, J. 1996. Post-Marxist Marxism: Questioning the Answer. Difference and Realism after Lukacs and Adorno, Avebury, Aldershot (ISBN 1 85972 438 8)



Baldacchino, J. (ed). 2017/18. The Wiley Blackwells Encyclopedia of Art & Design Education. Volume 1: Philosophy and History of Art Education. (Wiley Blackwells, forthcoming).

Baldacchino, J. 2017/18 Educing Ivan Illich. Education without education. (Peter Lang, Forthcoming)

Other projects:

Currently finishing three volumes, two in the Maltese Language and one in English. The first is a book of philosophy, and the other two are mainly focused on culture and politics.


Praise for ...


Art’s Way Out

In this fluent, limpid, and scholarly work, Baldacchino examines, inter alia, the problem of empathy in relation to art as an event (or series of events), drawing upon a wide and rich range of sources to inform what in effect is his manifesto. With a profound understanding of its philosophical basis, Baldacchino unfolds his argument in an internally consistent and elegantly structured way. This is not a book to be ‘dipped into’, to do so would miss the development of Baldacchino’s philosophical position; like an art work itself, Art’s Way Out has coherent structure, and a complex, interrelation between form and content, reflecting an artist’s concern for getting things right.
Richard Hickman, Cambridge University

Although art has a limitless capacity to take on myriad responsibilities, according to Baldacchino we also need to consider a ‘way out’ because only then will we understand how art goes beyond the “boundaries of possibility.” As he explains, “our way into reason also comes from an ability to move outside the limits that reasons sets”. This is the ‘exit pedagogy’ that he advocates. And here exit does not mean to leave, but rather to reach beyond, to extend and explore outside the borders we impose on learning, teaching, schooling and most forms of cultural agency. The need to embrace the capacity of art to cycle beyond the contingencies we impose on it also helps to clarify the limits of inclusive arguments for deploying art education for various individual, institutional, and socio-political ends: art as self expression, art as interdisciplinary method, art as culture industry, art as political culture, art as social justice and so on. This image invokes for me part of the legacy of Maxine Greene that Baldacchino revealed in his earlier text, Education Beyond Education (2009), when he explored her thesis of the social imagination, which is best, achieved when teaching becomes ‘reaching.’ What Art’s Way Out gives us is an exit strategy from the deadening tendency to ignore the enduring capacity of art to give life to learning, teaching and the very culture of our being.
Graeme Sullivan, PennState University

This review can’t begin to describe the lengths that Baldacchino goes to in order to substantiate his arguments and explain the multitude of examples he presents in support of a solid (albeit transient) philosophy of art and education. Educators and artists alike will find many critical points to grapple with over their individual place in the arts. But whether you agree with his notion of groundlessness for art and aesthetics, or you spar with it for a more rationalized clarity of the subject, you will likely find yourself captivated by the possibilities of exits from this salient pedagogical maze.
James Werner, Southern Polytechnic State University (Review in Visual Inquiry: Learning and Teaching Art. 1[3].)

Makings of the Sea

The first book of a trilogy that explores Mediterranean aesthetics, Maltese born author, John Baldacchino begins his ‘Odyssey’ with as much richness, complexity and depth as the expansiveness and sublimity of Theo Angelopoulo’s film Ulysses’s Gaze. He turns to the Sea to begin weaving the geopolitical specificity of the Mediterranean imagination. In a series of poetic chapters, Baldacchino deftly charts a journey that willingly faces doubt as to the vistas he presents, but always returns home so that he can begin anew. Baldacchino starts his quest by tracing a horizon against which a host of artists, poets, and writers are drawn upon, all the while keeping the significance of the Sea at play as he takes the reader to home shores so that the second volume can begin to appear on a new horizon. The book is an important achievement in Mediterranean geopolitical aesthetics. We await its sequels.
—jan jagodzinski, University of Alberta

A fascinating and related aspect of Baldacchino’s book is gradually recognised as the reader progresses through the text and realises that the book is itself an embodiment of this epic journey, carrying him or her from one land to another, connecting one discipline to several others, and leaping into the sea during different decades of the twentieth century. As he or she traverses a complex interdisciplinary series of fields, the reader will find that this journey is not an easy one, but then again, a smoother reading would probably serve only to undermine the idea of a horizon that is replete with uncertainties.
The hybridity, richness, and indeed, the doubts that permeate any serious engagement with the Mediterranean are not only palpable in the author’s scholarly insights and in the complex moves that the book performs, but especially in the fact that this book is actually only the first of a trilogy of texts on Mediterranean aesthetics that Baldacchino is working on.
—Raphael Vella, University of Malta

Education Beyond Education

There are at least two reasons why John Baldacchino is superbly equipped to offer this interpretive perspective of Maxine Greene’s philosophy. First, like Maxine, herself Baldacchino is well read in the continental philosophies of the Frankfurt School including such writers as Theodor Adorno and Max Horkhiemer. He is well versed in the existential philosophies of Albert Camus , Jean Paul Sartre and Maurice Merleau-Ponty, all writers of central importance in Greene’s thought as well. Had this appraisal been prepared by a North American, say an adherent of one of the analytic philosophies, it is doubtful that a critical reading of Greene would have occurred, let alone a sympathetic one.
Second, unlike the tight linearity of the analytical school Baldacchino’s own writing might best be described as having a painterly quality. His logic unfolds like that of a web, with multiple connections so that a discussion of oppositions such as theory vs practice , past vs present, or truth vs falsehood does not lead the reader to a single conclusion but to an ever widening inter-connected web -- to an array of meanings, in much the same way that Greene makes connections between works of art as possible worlds in the imagination.
Arthur Efland, Ohio State University

Reading philosophy in any meaningful way is never easy; reading commentary of philosophy is often even more difficult, but John Baldacchino skilfully renders Maxine Greene’s work accessible and opens up avenues of ideas that are worthwhile and relevant, such as the central notion that educators should look at education from a perspective beyond the classroom.
Richard Hickman, Cambridge University

Baldacchino richly engages Greene’s prose. In a particularly successful way he enacts his methodology of trying to dialogue with her work rather than to ventriloquate her voice through his own. The book features a great deal of Greene’s language, showing her thinking out loud, so to speak, about educational questions, questions of meaning and purpose, political and aesthetic concerns, and a good deal more. I think any serious reader of Greene’s work will find Baldacchino’s interpretation of her overall oeuvre, pivoting around the diptych of self and the imaginary, to be enlightening and educative. His sustained dialogue with her encourages the reader to return to Greene’s texts and to look again both at their core claims and at the form in which they are expressed. Any serious reader new to Greene’s work will find Baldacchino’s book a helpful guide and resource – a good companion, so to speak.
David T Hansen, Teachers College, Columbia University

Baldacchino makes a couple of choices that prove brilliant in the end. First, in the spirit of Maxine Greene, he chooses to write, in effect, in dialogue with Maxine. He is seeing alongside her, reacting, reflecting, and choosing. This becomes, then, an invitation to readers to do their own seeing, to do philosophy themselves, to enter and contribute their own reflective praxis. (...) Second, Baldacchino focuses on the deeper connections in Greene's work around the self and the imaginary. He illuminates what he sees as the central and profoundly readical idea of freedom--pushing against the impasses and the imposed horizons we encounter in the everyday landscapes of our lived lives, and becoming students, then, of the possible through the imagined, the imaginary.
William Ayers, University of Chicago

In Education Beyond Education, John Baldacchino examines the paradigm of education and learning that Maxine Greene offers us. It is a much needed work and a valuable contribution to philosophy of education. Professor Baldacchino presents the intricacy and depth that Maxine Greene has to offer, challenging the reader to delve into the complexity that Maxine Greene has written about. Anyone looking for an introduction to the works of Maxine Greene will profit from this insightful book.
Anthony DeFalco, Long Island University